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Petaluma Profile: Healing the world through music

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“It takes about six months to produce a major musical event, from concept to fruition,” says Tamara Klammer. And when that event involves some of the most famous names in music, it can grow to a year or more. The longtime event producer for the SEVA Foundation – a Berkeley-based nonprofit founded by Ram Dass, Wavy Gravy and others to cure many forms of blindness worldwide – Klammer is currently at work putting together the organization’s 40th anniversary benefit show on January 12, at the Fox Theater in Oakland. The concert will be hosted by Wavy Gravy, and will feature such performers as Jackson Brown, Joan Osborne, Bonnie Raitt and Mickey Hart.

“All of the regular seats are sold out,” Klammer reports, “But there are still plenty of VIP packages. It’s going to be an amazing show. I’ve been working on it since last summer.”

A Petaluma resident since 1993, Klammer was born in Maryland, and raised in the Santa Cruz mountains. She briefly relocated to Vermont, where she earned a degree in international development, and then returned to California. Not long after, she got a job at SEVA, originally hired to help develop the nonprofit’s Gifts of Service catalog, one of its big fundraising tools.

“While I was working on that, Wavy Gravy was coming into the office a lot,” Klammer recalls. “He was putting on a benefit concert that was going to be at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, in February of 2004. And Wavy Gravy clearly needed help, because at that time, the SEVA staff was only about five people. Nobody had the wherewithal to do what he was doing, so I offered to help, and that became something I loved to do. And it made it even better that I was doing it for a cause that literally heals the world.”

A longtime fan of music, including such Bay Area bands as the Grateful Dead – “My parents were deadheads, so I grew up going to Grateful Dead shows,” she says – Klammer proved to be the perfect person to take on logistics of SEVA’s various benefit shows, and eventually became the organization’s official event producer.

“One of the first things that happened when I started doing this,” she explains, “was that I got to be friends will the folks at Bill Graham Presents, which was the big Bay Area production team. They took me in under their wing and showed me the ropes, and introduced me to everyone I needed to know. Through doing all of that, I developed a knack for producing big musical shows.”

Eventually, in 1999, Klammer launched her own company, Tapestry Productions, through which she’s produced a number of fundraising events for SEVA, KPFA Radio, MoveOn and other progressive organizations.

“Tapestry Productions is basically me,” she says, “along with all the people I have in my network.”

Asked how much an event like the 40th anniversary will end up with her metaphorical fingerprints on it, Klammer laughs.

“Pretty much all of it,” she says, “from getting the artists to agree to do the show, to overseeing all of the graphics and design of posters and things, to overseeing the ticket sales and advertising, to contracts with the venues and getting insurance and all the legal stuff, to getting everything in place on the day of the show, and making sure everything goes smoothly until it’s over, everyone goes home, and we’ve cleaned it all up and started thinking about the next one.”

(Information on SEVA’s 40th Anniversary Show can be found at SEVA.org.)