An ambient, cozy atmosphere at Hart and Main on Wednesday set the tone for the rest of the night during the first-ever Jazz on Main, a sold-out jazz event featuring some of the top musicians in Los Angeles.
Councilman Bill Miranda, along with his partner in crime, John Pramik of Pramik Entertainment, collaborated to bring not only a new home for jazz into Santa Clarita, but to also raise funds to help address local homelessness.
Miranda invited Bridge to Home, a nonprofit that specializes in providing resources to those vulnerable to homelessness, to benefit from the fundraiser as he realized his dream.
Pramik played the piano alongside bass player Larry Steen, vocalists Christina Jardine and Leigh Vance, saxophone player Rickey Woodward, trumpet player Anne King and drum player Tom Walsh.
“We’ve been trying to put a jazz club here in Santa Clarita. We’d been trying very hard, and we hadn’t been successful. But guess what? This is sold out on a Wednesday night,” said Miranda. “This is a great venue — Hart and Main. We love it. John and I put this thing together from scratch.”
Miranda reflected on how quickly everything was put together, stating it took only two months, thanks to Pramik’s efforts.
“This is only the first of what we hope are many jazz concerts here in Santa Clarita. Hopefully they’ll all be here at this wonderful venue. [This is the] music that John put together for this event — he handled the whole program.”
Mandy O’Connor, Bridge to Home’s director of development, described the organization’s statistics and goals for the near future.
“Bridge to Home is a nonprofit organization in Santa Clarita, and we’ve been in the valley for over 25 years. We have homeless individuals move into housing,” said O’Connor. “We currently have a tentative shelter that houses 60 individuals, and we are building a tentative shelter off of Drayton Street that will house 60 individuals and eight families. This year we were able to serve over 850 families and households and we’re hoping to serve over 1,000 next year.”
O’Connor expressed her appreciation for the event’s support of Bridge to Home, adding that the resources provided are necessary to meet growing demands.
“Right now, this is a growing pandemic. I think that this town is incredible to support an organization that is trying to find solutions in building a homeless, tentative shelter, that will at least house people and try and get them back on their feet,” said O’Connor. “We’re able to provide mental health services, not just housing, along with education and life skills, and that’s what we try to show them in the shelter. Then they can bring it into their future life as they get back on their feet.”
Bridge to Home Shelter Manager Niki Feast-Williams described the process of expanding so that more people, such as families, are supported.
“Tonight, the fundraiser is basically to rebuild Bridge to Home — to build our new shelter that is going to provide shelter for not only singles that we currently have in our shelter, but also for the families,” Feast-Williams said. “We will be able to provide care and help them get housed and provide help for the children, as well. We’re so overly excited for this new initiative that’s coming to the Santa Clarita Valley.”
Bridge to Home is now a year-round organization, but started as a way to help residents stay warm during the winter.
“Bridge to Home started out as a winter season just to get people off the street during the cold. They’d bring them in to have a warm cup of soup and just have somewhere to lay their head instead of being cold at night,” said Feast-Williams. “Now we provide more services since we’ve grown over the years, such as housing. Some of our residents go back to school just to try to get back to everyday life, where they feel normal and are a part of the community. That’s what our goal is.”
Dennis Sugasawara, a member of the boards for the SCV Boys and Girls Club and the Child and Family Center, said the fundraiser’s impact on Bridge to Home and the local homelessness issue will be tangible.
“I think what they’re doing is an incredible thing for the homeless. You know, especially the people who want to get back on their feet and don’t have the wherewithal to do so,” Sugasawara said. “This [type of event] supports them and gives them a leg up, and I think we can’t congratulate them or give them enough kudos. That’s a lot of work for people going out there and finding the right people — the ones who say I want help.”
O’Connor expressed her gratitude for Miranda, who chose to share a night of fun in support of Bridge to Home.
“Bridge to Home is honored to have been chosen by Bill Miranda to be the beneficiary of this special event. We are grateful for his dedication to our mission and value his ongoing support,” O’Connor wrote in an email.