Pianist/composer Ellen Hoffman wrote her 1st orchestral arrangement, Let Us Break Bread Together in 1991 for orchestra, chorus and baritone soloist, collaborating with gospel singer Terrance Kelly. This became the theme for all the “Break Bread” concerts. She has written many arrangements for Michael Morgan & the Oakland Symphony and has been part of every Break Bread concert since the first.
Today’s concert celebrates music from the 1960’s and 70’s, the era of the Black Panthers. Ellen is thrilled to write new arrangements for fabulous important songs with a social message written & performed by the great Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Bill Withers, Sly & the Family Stone, and the Stylistics. Transforming these songs from a soloist and a band to a chorus and orchestra is a big challenge: How do you keep the groove going with so many singers and an orchestra? We’ll find out today! If you listen carefully, you may hear a hint of Aretha Franklin in Everyday People and a hint of Stevie Wonder in People Make the W.G.R, each of whom sang these songs adding their own flavor.
Ellen has performed, composed and arranged music for some of Oakland’s best and brightest musical stars, some of whom are onstage today. She is a vocal coach, piano teacher, and teaches at Stagebridge, a theatre & music school for seniors. She plays piano for English Country Dance, and works periodically with the legendary Rita Moreno. She is directing a new show, Entre’ Actes – Marvelous Music Hall Soloists – at the Great Dickens Fair in SF, weekends in Dec. (As of today, there’s still one weekend left!)