Thank You San Francisco Bay Area!

April 2020

Dear Friends,

The West Coast debut of the Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area has recently concluded. When Music at Kohl Mansion began this journey in the winter of 2017, none of us could have imagined that three years later, with 42 partner organizations and more than 200 musicians, the Violins of Hope would take the Bay Area by storm. We presented 80 events in 48 venues over 8 weeks, and brought together nearly 30,000 individuals of all ages and backgrounds to share unforgettable performances and stories of profound and powerful resonance.

There are so many people to thank for this success! First and foremost, Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein agreed enthusiastically to make the San Francisco Bay Area the first West Coast destination of the Violins of Hope. The inimitable creative duo of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer took the remarkable stories so poignantly told by author James Grymes and spun them into a superb work of chamber music that will endure. Without the encouragement of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation who took the leap of faith with a prestigious Hewlett 50 Commissioning grant, the project could not have been launched.

Almost 180 individual and institutional donors followed with generous gifts and grants that gave the project wings, while Bay Area colleague organizations from far and wide enthusiastically jumped on board with projects as diverse as an interfaith evensong service, a cine-concert, a ballet, photographic exhibitions, classical and folk concerts, lectures, and community conversations. Of these, 19 events were offered free of charge to the public, thanks to support from the Walter and Elise Haas Fund.

Major project support was provided by Diane B. Wilsey, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Victoria and Terry Rosen, Carlstrom Productions, Kenneth Gundry and Susan Kasdan Gundry, John and Marcia Goldman, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Violins of Hope Education Programs were presented at 20 Bay Area schools in association with the JFCS Holocaust Center and Facing History & Ourselves, thanks to a grant from the Koret Foundation.

Each of our participating musicians was deeply moved by the experience of making the historic instruments speak once more for those who had played them long ago. In making these strings vibrate anew, many felt a powerful connection with those musicians of the past.

The Bay Area community responded with extraordinary emotion, filling nearly every venue and showering our musicians and speakers with warm acclaim and gratitude. We’re proud to have brought the history of the Holocaust to more than 7,500 students through music, sharing stories of courage and resilience with the next generation of leaders. They too demonstrated exceptional sensitivity and appreciation.

Our Violins of Hope project commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. Today, the Violins’ powerful message of hope resonates even more loudly and poignantly, as together we face a global health crisis. We are reminded that our shared humanity is powerful, resistant, and resilient, and that hope is universal and fundamental to all people.

On behalf of our dedicated musicians, staff, and volunteers, thank you San Francisco Bay Area, for showing your compassion, your generosity, and your magnificent spirit!

Patricia Kristof Moy, Producer; Executive Director, Music at Kohl Mansion
Pam Lampkin, Associate Producer; Development Manager, Music at Kohl Mansion
Zerlina Chen Hayes, President, Music at Kohl Mansion Board of Directors
Katherine and Roy Bukstein, Co-Chairs, Leadership Council,  Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area