Category Archives: Volunteer

McLaren Park is a big 317 acres of loved yet sometimes neglected urban parkland. Pitch in however you like, there are lots of ways to help! You’ll make friends, have fun, and wear the smug smile of a righteous McLaren volunteer…

Saturday in the Park Makes Examiner’s Front Page!

http://www.sfexaminer.com/guardians-of-the-park/

In the late 1990s, Linda D’Aviro and Linda Litehiser — neighborhood activists who are collectively known as “The Lindas” — wondered why the amphitheater in San Francisco’s McLaren Park was never used.

“I couldn’t believe how empty it was. It was so sad,” said Litehiser, a resident of the Mission Terrace neighborhood, recalling how in the 1980s-90s, the theater was largely abandoned and had rotting benches.

Today, the venue is brimming with music, celebrating its fourth annual “Saturday in the Park” concert series on weekends through Oct. 22.

Having put in thousands of volunteer hours over more than a decade to help revitalize the venue, D’Aviro and Litehiser are pleased with their grassroots success in bringing people and music to the theater, which hosts Cocker Power, a Joe Cocker tribute band, headlining Saturday’s show.

But they still have more to do.

“We are ladies in our golden years. We need to take this to the next level,” said D’Aviro, who has lived in Crocker Amazon since 1989, and, along with Litehiser, are Friends of the Amphitheater’s most active members.

The women — who have written “their fair share of grants” and still do everything from cutting checks to storing tents in their garages — obtained $30,000 to fund the concerts. Support comes from corporate sponsor Airbnb, as well as the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and San Francisco Parks Alliance.

Their goal is to set up a foundation, similar to the one supporting Stern Grove’s free concerts, to keep their program sustainable.

After looking at models from all over the country, they’ve conquered many initial hurdles, including safety.

“The challenge of the amphitheater is that it’s in a bucolic setting. You can’t see it from any road,” said Litehiser.

Working with police at the Ingleside Station and parks advocates, they fashioned a security program that volunteers can execute, which addresses the potentially dangerous five-to-10-minute walk from the parking lot to the 750-seat theater.

They’ve also helped other organizations, including the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, navigate the “daunting” permitting process required to use the theater.

Among their early triumphs was their role in naming the facility the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in 2005 (the late Grateful Dead leader was born and raised in the Excelsior) at a bash with then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, Jefferson Starship and Wavy Gravy. It was two years after Friends of McLaren Park hosted the first “Jerry Day,” an event designed to bring neighbors to the 318-acre park and theater.

More recent renovations include four handicapped parking spots, improvements to the seating and stage, and the park’s first restrooms.

With more stable funding, plans include increasing lighting and landscaping to accommodate booths, food trucks and “other amenities you take for granted when you go to a concert,” D’Aviro said.

Perhaps the advocates are most proud to present local musicians playing many genres. “We’ve done everything from big band and the Great American Songbook to Bollywood and Celtic Dead music,” D’Aviro added.

They also point to the upcoming “great, fourth annual” blues show (in the mid-1970s, the theater was home to blues festivals) and extensive programs for young kids, including a popular September show with a stroller corral rather than bicycle parking.

Most importantly, they want to continue to get the word out to those still unaware of the extraordinary natural area in their neighborhood.

“We don’t need to make sure that somebody from the Marina knows about it, but do for someone who lives five blocks away,” Litehiser said, admitting that public transit to the theater is difficult even for people living nearby.

“People who have never gone to a concert before often go on a hike afterward,” said Litehiser, referring to the trails, views, picnic grounds, lake and reservoir in the park, which is “like the wild, west end of Golden Gate Park.”

Enjoying the customer service aspect of her many volunteer duties, D’Aviro said, “We welcome people. It’s really about joy and happiness.”

Both of “The Lindas,” as they have come to be known, added: “What it’s all about is to come and spend the day with us; it’s really a wonderful place.”

IF YOU GO

Saturday in the Park Concert Series

Where: Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, 45 John F. Shelley Drive,
McLaren Park, S.F.

When: 12:30 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 22

Admission: Free

Contact: https://www.facebook.com/mclarenparksf/

LINEUP

Saturday: Cocker Power; Rock Candy with Lindsey Boullt, Jason Muscat, Tony Patel-Dunn and Bryan Turner; Lost Comet with Sharon Pucci (rock ’n’ roll)

Oct. 15: Back Porch Band; Beauty Operators String Band; Canyon Johnson, Windy Hill Bluegrass Band (bluegrass)

Oct. 22: Diva Ladee Chico with the Saturday in the Park House Band; The Groove Riders; Bobbie “Spider” Webb Band (blues concert, amphitheater opening 45th anniversary party)

 

 

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Thank You to the Magic Seven!

Today’s workday went extremely well even with an extremely thin crew (7 folks which included one beautiful 6 months pregnant lady!) We got the new playground in ship shape by taking down all the weeds and sweeping the rubber surfaces and paths nearby.  All the bark was spread evenly again on the landscaped areas and then we were off to the Gambier Plaza to take on the weeds around the fountain and cut back the crab grass that’s slowly starting to encroach on the plaza.  As if that wasn’t enough, my magic hardworking crew still had enough energy to  move  large amounts of wood that gardener Ken Kelley was clearing from the old Cyprus trees at the Harvard street entrance.  Please see the piles of wood for yourselves.  By this time we were all quite exhausted and we were unable to continue our efforts  on Harvard Street but there was so much to show for our hard work.

The Magic 7 at Work

Two of “Seven”

Thank you again so much to those who came out on a weekday, even during a world cup event.  It goes to show, all it takes is 7 folks to make magic happen in McLaren Park.

Pictures soon to come!

Chuck

 

Return of the Blues @ Saturday in the Park – McLaren

Return of the Blues @ Saturday in the Park – McLaren

with The Stan Erhart Band / Alvon Johnson & the Allstars

Saturday, August 24, 2-4pm

map ~ MUNI 29, 54 ~ getting there

Don’t miss an afternoon of pure delicious blues on the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater stage in San Francisco’s John McLaren Park. Come and hear these knockout bands for free on the very stage that helped launch the SF Blues Festival!

The Stan Erhart Band starts the show at 2pm. This eclectic group of musicians will dish up some of their sizzling signature grooves, covering blues/r&b, rock, soul, and jazz. Stan and his crew (Damon Hope on drums, Keith Crossan on sax, Pat T on bass) will be there from 1 pm on, so come out and hang with them!

“Soulful vocals … scalding guitar.”

Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro / Blues Editor @ Mary4Music.com

Then at 3pm, Alvon Johnson and his Allstars will keep the groove flowing with another power hour of soulful blues. Alvon has performed with many well-known artists, including The Drifters, The Shirelles, Bobby Day, and Otis Day and the Knights.

Your ears and feet won’t believe this double-dose explosion of blues talent…

so don’t miss it!

At this week’s show starting at 1pm… there will free face painting and a kids art table. Children’s drawings will be made part of the stage display. We will give out free bubble bottles to the first 20 children!

PACK A PICNIC BASKET…

GRAB A BLANKET…

PUT ON YOUR DANCING SHOES…

BRING THE KIDS…

and HAVE A GOOD TIME partying to the BLUES!

Produced by The Bayview’s “SF Art Everywhere“, Friends of the AMP, and supported by the SF Recreation and Parks DepartmentSF Parks Alliance, and the offices of Supervisors Cohen, Campos, and Avalos.

Saturday Concert Docent Training – Wed., Aug. 14

The success of the upcoming Saturday In The Park concert series you’ve been hearing about hinges on the active participation of our McLaren Park community in several ways. Perhaps the most important are the docents who will provide security monitoring, help with set up and tear down each show, and help with other tasks like greeting park visitors and pointing them in the right direction. These events will simply be impossible to produce without this significant volunteer effort. So join us, won’t you, in helping bring these bright spots of local talent onto the stage for us all to enjoy!

If you can help with crowd monitoring and related tasks, we especially need your help, and you need to join us at a training meeting sponsored by SF SAFE, Friends of the AMP, SFPD, RPD Park Rangers, and others. The meeting is at Ingleside Police Station from 7-8pm, Wednesday, August 14. For more information about volunteering, contact Linda Litehiser at 585 8005.

Park Concert Series Needs Volunteers

After several years of negotiation and planning, Friends of the AMP are bringing a free afternoon concert series to McLaren Park’s Jerry Garcia Amphitheater over the next few months. Working with the McLaren Park Collaborative, and fiscally sponsored by the SF Parks Alliance (501-3c, so donations are tax-deductable), their mission has been to create fun, family-friendly picnic-style events at the amphitheater. Their efforts have scored six professionally-produced afternoon shows by talented local performers, free to the public, called “Saturday In The Park”. They envision a casual afternoon of entertainment — bring a picnic, come early, let the kids run on the hills and have a great time.

This effort is funded in part by a grant from SF Parks Alliance, with the bulk of the funding coming through the offices of SF Supervisors Avalos, Campos, and Cohen, whose districts surround the park. Training of docents will be done through SF Safe with assistance and advice from Ingleside Police Station and Park Patrol. In other words, an entire community effort. Shows will start at 2pm with some opportunity for pre-show activities. All performances will be supervised by trained volunteer docents.

Here’s how to get involved:

  • Volunteer to become a docent – work one or all six shows or a shift at one or more shows… you decide. They are looking at about 20 volunteers per show. There will be several types of volunteers depending on interest and ability.
  • Park Monitor training will be conducted by SF Safe. Volunteers doing park monitoring will need to attend a short training class.
  • Light duty volunteers may be assigned to helping with refreshment sales or hospitality for other volunteers and performers, or providing park information to visitors.
  • There is a Google Group for volunteers to discuss their activities, please send an email to Linda Litehiser or call at 585 8005 to be added to the group or to find out more.
Most of the main performers are already booked, but they are looking for intermission and pre-show acts of all types. So if you know a good juggler or magician or comedian or dancer or ??? please connect with Linda and Friends of the AMP will follow up to see if they can be worked in to a show. And if you know of a really good local band or performer that you think should be on the stage, pass that along, too. More detailed information on the shows will be available soon.

Saturdays In The Park @ Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, 2 – 4pm

  • Aug 17 – Caberet Songstress, Chinese Traditional Folk Music, and More
  • Aug. 24 – Local Blues Revue at the JGA
  • Sept. 14 – Charity & the Jam Band – A fun children’s show
  • Oct. 12 – Indie Rock, Reggae, and Blues bands from the ‘hood
  • Oct. 19 – Youth Rocks! — Local kid talent lights up the stage
  • Oct. 26 – An Afternoon of Latin Jazz, with Bill Ortiz