Sonoma State University announced today that it will be hosting two unique fire recovery events to take place on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall. The events will be centered around the sharing of individual and communal stories related to the devastating 2017 North Bay fires, capping off with a performance on Saturday by country music superstar Brad Paisley and acclaimed actress Bonnie Hunt. All proceeds from ticket sales for the weekend’s events will go to benefit first responders who suffered losses in the October fires, which destroyed 5,300 homes in Sonoma County alone.
“We are honored to be a part of this powerful story-telling and music-filled event,” said Sonoma State President Judy K. Sakaki. “From the beginning, the university has been a partner in the healing and the rebuilding that is occurring in Sonoma County. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together, to support one another and to share our stories of what happened during those horrific days in October.”
On Friday, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m., Sonoma County author, educator and noted storyteller Brandon Spars will host “Thicker Than Smoke: An Evening of Community Storytelling” at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall. The evening will feature 10 or more local individuals sharing a variety of tales, both heartbreaking and inspiring, of what transpired during those life-altering hours of Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 when the fires swept through the region. Then on Saturday, Aug. 4, at 7:30 p.m., the Green Music Center will host a benefit concert at Weill Hall + Lawn featuring Brad Paisley and his co-host actress Bonnie Hunt. The evening, titled “Thicker Than Smoke: An Acoustic Evening with Brad Paisley, Bonnie Hunt, and Friends,” will also include local stories interwoven with music.
“In celebration of the resilience our communities have shown and, in an effort, to encourage a renewed call to action and awareness for the rebuild and recovery efforts, we are honored and humbled to provide a weekend of community healing through storytelling,” said Jacob Yarrow, Executive Director of the Green Music Center. “We are so grateful to Brad Paisley and Bonnie Hunt for their support of the North Bay community and California in general.”
Since the expenses of the weekend events are being covered by generous donations from community sponsors, 100 percent of the ticket revenues will go to the Resilience Fund, a long-term relief fund overseen by the Community Foundation Sonoma County. The funds will be earmarked for first responders who suffered losses in the fires including the many who lost their homes while helping others. “This event is a perfect example of the healing power of the arts, and we are so grateful that this donation will be coming to the Foundation nine months after the fires when there remains tremendous unmet needs in the community,” said Elizabeth Brown, President and CEO for Community Foundation Sonoma County. “Continued generosity such as this will allow the Foundation to continue helping and healing Sonoma County residents over the next several years of recovery.”
Tickets go on sale on Friday, July 6, 2018, at 10 a.m. Two hundred free tickets will be made available to first responders and others who suffered losses as a result of the fires. Please contact the Box Office at email@example.com to request your tickets. Please visit gmc.sonoma.edu or call 1.866.955.6040. If you or someone you know has a story of their fire experience that they would like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.