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Feeding the Soul and Stomach – Annual concert benefits Marin’s Meals on Wheels

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By Cari Lynn Pace | Originally posted on Novato Advance

novato-advanceSan Anselmo’s Michelle Schmitt can’t stop singing, writing or raising money for Meals on Wheels, the oldest and largest national organization that represents community-based senior nutrition programs.

This dynamo blends her freewheeling spirit and classy persona with a strong personal sense of responsibility. She and her husband Henry raised their two sons in Marin, privileged and well-fed. Schmitt knew she wanted to give back to the community, using music as her method.

For five years running Schmitt has headlined an annual fundraising concert for Meals on Wheels and other local charities. Her talents and those of her remarkable band are presenting a one-night-only benefit for the organization at the new San Francisco Jazz Center at 201 Franklin St. in San Francisco on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Featured musicians include Ricky Fataar on drums, George Marinelli on guitar, Drew Zingg and Michael Bluestein joining in on keyboards and Marc Levine with a spectacular bass. Added to this year’s star-studded lineup are Anton Patzner on violin and Lewis Patzner on cello. These seasoned and smooth musicians have their roots in performances with Bonnie Raitt, Rod Stewart and Boz Skaggs.

Schmitt has a sultry and indefinable voice — part soul, part rock, part twang and all enticing. Her earthy vocals and intelligent lyrics ooze soulful love and longing. Schmitt will release her ninth album, “Messages,” on the night of the concert. It features lush orchestral arrangements, which incorporate a blend of rock, Americana and a hint of Middle Eastern sounds that are the background for Michelle’s original songs and lyrics.

Schmitt wouldn’t think of curbing her philanthropic drive any more than she would slow down her music talents.

“At the end of the day it is important to me to know that I have impacted my community in a positive meaningful way,” Schmitt said. “I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than a concert where 100 percent of the proceeds go to such vulnerable populations – homebound seniors.”

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Executive Director Ashley McCumber enthuses agreed.

“The holidays would not be the same without Michelle’s benefit concert,” McCumber said. “Her longtime support of the organization is essential and touches so many lives every day. As the baby boomers continue to age, our services are more important than ever. The proceeds from this event will provide thousands of meals to homebound seniors.”

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $20. VIP tickets, which include a catered wine and food reception at 6:45 p.m., priority seating and a copy of Schmitt’s latest album, are $100; the donation provides 20 meals to seniors. All tickets are available at SFJazz.org, the SFJAZZ box office or at (866) 920-5299.

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