Tenderloin Tessie Volunteer Appreciation Party

Last evening it was my delight to attend and perform at our Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners Volunteer Appreciation party held at Manny’s, here in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. In addition to being surprised with a certificate from California State Senator Scott Weiner himself (!!!), I had the opportunity to share with my fellow volunteers just what it means to me personally to stand there and sing for three hours at every holiday dinner we serve.

Performing for this beautiful community charity immediately takes me back to my childhood, growing up the child of a Protestant minister. Caring for the needy was something that I saw my father do as a day-to-day activity, not just on holidays. I can remember so many years when my father arrived home late for Christmas Eve dinner, because he was out delivering fruit baskets to shut-ins and the elderly. My father made charity an action as a minister, and that is precisely what we do at Tenderloin Tessie Dinners.

Another personal association I have with TT is that my mother was the church organist and frequent vocal soloist when I was growing up. So to channel my dear mom – who is a very big fan of Vanessa’s, by the way! – by assuming the role of church lady/singer person for this organization is incredibly special to me. From watching my mother’s example when I was a child, I learned the important role that music has in healing and inspiring people from every station of life. Sharing the gift of music and my singing with our guests at TT continues my mother’s legacy of music and ministry, of which I am so proud.

I am particularly grateful to TT President Michael Gagne for discovering my early efforts with creating Vanessa Bousay and for his continued encouragement and support of my performing life. I have often said that there would be no Vanessa Bousay were it not for the opportunity to bring her to life in such an organic incubator as TT. I thank you, Michael Gagne, from the bottom of my heart for the joy of being your “songstress” for Tenderloin Tessie Dinners. It is a role that I hold very dear.

Thanks to everyone involved in making last evening’s event so special. I am so proud to be part of this extraordinary love machine with all of you. We are all in this together and it is quite an amazing family to be a part of. Much love to all!