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February 24, 2010 > Blues return for a soft landing

Blues return for a soft landing

By Julie Grabowski

In their second collaborative event, the Newark Chamber of Commerce and Soroptimist International of the Tri-Cities present a night of help and harmonies with the Tri-Cities Bluesfest. Sunday, March 7 a Bay Area grown trio of outstanding musicians is set to electrify Fremont's Saddle Rack with some of the best blues in the country. Grammy nominated local legend and Blues Hall of Fame inductee Ron Thompson leads off on guitar and keyboard followed by singer, songwriter and harmonica master Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, and the much-lauded R&B vocalist E.C. Scott.

The event will raise funds for Project Soft Landing, a new program offered through Soroptimist International of the Tri-Cities that focuses on women in transition. "It is a great cause helping local women get into jobs and get things they need," says Event Coordinator Colleen Ganaye.

Soroptimist International is a non-profit women's organization begun in Oakland in 1921 by a group of 80 women looking to advance the position of women and improve lives. Since its inception, the organization has expanded to nearly 100,000 members in 122 countries. Soroptimist International of Fremont received their charter in 2002, altering their name to Soroptimist International of the Tri-Cities in 2007 as projects grew to encompass a wider area. Created from the Latin words "soror" and "optomus," the name Soroptimist translates to "the best for women," and they strive to be just that, offering services in six areas: economic and social development, education, environment, health, human rights/status of women, and goodwill and understanding.

In this difficult economy struggles with work, bill paying, and simply keeping afloat is an oft-repeated story. Project Soft Landing is designed to enhance the marketability of women in order to get them into the workplace, becoming economically independent and self-sufficient. The program provides resume and interview workshops, dressing and image consultation to achieve a professional look, and educational opportunities with available scholarships and grants. Participants may also be eligible to receive up to a week's worth of clothes or a makeover and beauty basics gift bag filled with sample products. The goal is to help women present a professional image on paper and in person. Women in all stages of life are welcome to apply for the program and can fill out an application online at, or be referred through one of the many community organizations in the area.

Soroptimist and the Newark Chamber of Commerce have enjoyed a longstanding association, and after last year's successful Bluesfest they are hoping for a repeat performance. Sunday's incredible lineup and wonderful cause should have no trouble producing another great event. "It's a great opportunity to give back to the community and have a lot of fun at the same time," says Ganaye.

Dinner provided by Outback Steakhouse will be available for purchase and the snack bar will be open throughout the event.

Organizers wish to thank those who so kindly donated services for Bluesfest including The Saddle Rack, Outback Steakhouse, Sign Zone, Sign A Rama, Sage Design, KPOO Radio, KYA Radio, and Hilton Newark/Fremont. Sponsorship from Snap Fitness, American Laser, Fremont Family Sports Chiropractor, Voice by Margo, BJ Travel, Dr. Ben Chew, Washington Hospital Foundation, Derham and Logan, Grocery Outlet, Entourage Salon, and other local establishments have made this event possible. "This is truly supported generously by the small business community and we are so appreciative of them," says Ganaye.

Those who are unable to attend the event can still support Project Soft Landing by calling (510) 557-7025 where Ganaye will be happy to direct donations.

Tickets are for those 21 and over and cost $30 when purchased in advance and $35 at the door. A VIP ticket is available for $50, which includes reserved seating and dinner from Outback Steakhouse. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door upon arrival. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 2 p.m. For more information contact Colleen Ganaye at (510) 557-7025.

Tri-Cities Bluesfest
Sunday, March 7
2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Saddle Rack
42011 Boscell Road, Fremont
(510) 979-0477 (The Saddle Rack)
(510) 557-7025 (Bluesfest)

Tickets: $30-$50

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