Colorful musical notes
When I think of ways to bring people together, music would have to be at the top of the list.

Whether you are making music together in a choir or just singing with friends, music makes you part of something bigger than yourself. It crosses all boundaries, as people find themselves with a common interest that can touch the heart and feed the soul.

For a person with a disability it can truly make a difference.

Music saves the night

One of my first work experiences was at Belchertown State School. I worked as a Psyche Aide on the evening shift with about 40 adults of different ages, backgrounds and disabilities. People didn’t socialize with each other; in fact the goal was to reduce the  arguing.

It was chaotic to say the least.

One evening I decided to bring in my guitar and try to get people to sing together, or at least listen. It was 1978, and I figured everyone knew at least the chorus to “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

As I started to play, the change was amazing. People from all over the building slowly came into the room and either started singing, moving to the music or just watching quietly.

Singing with a friend

But the biggest surprise was Jane.

She and I did not have a great relationship, as my main role in her life was to convince her not to take another shower. You see Jane took an average of 20 showers a day.

When I got to the chorus, Jane pulled up next to me and started to sing with the most beautiful voice, one I never imagined from her. .. And as the night went on, we shared our love for music and my friend and I sang at the top of our lungs.

A local chorus makes a difference

This month, I am excited to introduce the Special Needs Art Program (SNAP), a wonderful group in Lexington offering music and the arts to people with disabilities. They too know the value of singing at the top of your lungs and the simple joy it can bring into a persons’ life.

We will hear from Marilyn Abel, one of the founders of SNAP and  a member of the chorus who shares her enthusiasm and support for the program.

As we hear more about the role music can play in the life of a person with a disability, don’t forget to include it in yours.

Whether you sing in a chorus or in the shower, believe me, singing is just really fun.

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