From the start, the Music Therapy Ride has been a lot more than a fun motorcycle ride. What inspired the organizers to launch this fundraising ride was the dream of sharing the healing power of music with those in our community who can benefit from it the most.
Bandwagon, a bright red recording studio on wheels, is the realization of that dream.
Over its first nine years MTR raised funds for a variety of music therapy programs In British Columbia hospitals and facilities, including the B.C. Cancer Agency, Dr. Peter Centre, Vancouver Oral Centre for Deaf Children, Brookhaven Extended Care Facility and George Pearson Centre.
In 2010, the Therapy Ride Committee launched its Bandwagon Project, lending the ride a unique and creative focus for community outreach.
To date, there have been 11 Bandwagons built and 24 Bandwagon Projects successfully completed. Four Bandwagons have found permanent homes with established music therapy programs including the BC Children's Hospital, Canuck Place, Ronald MacDonald House and The George Pearson Centre.
Music Therapy Ride would like to acknowledge Variety, the Children’s Charity, for their generous donation of $70,000 in 2016. These funds paid for five new Bandwagons — one for each health district in BC. Variety, founded in 1927, has been a community resource for children around the world.
The 2 touring Bandwagons have been specifically designed to keep on rolling – visiting schools, hospitals and care homes for six-week music therapy residencies all over BC, from Salmon Arm to Richmond to Vancouver Island. The Bandwagon Projects provide innovative recording equipment and much needed funding to help expand music therapy programs and bring this unique therapy to those most in need.
Feedback from the Bandwagon Projects:
“A client (with Autism) was able to improvise with me on the keyboard and then we improvised on top of that recording with our voices. It turned out to be a beautiful recording that made the client's mom cry when she heard it. Having the Bandwagon at The Arts Connection was a great experience for the children and their families. Thank you to the partners of the Bandwagon Project and to the Richmond Rotary Club for providing us with this amazing opportunity!”
- Amelia Koebel, Music Therapist at Arts Connection, Richmond, BC
“The Bandwagon acted as a tool to build community in a building where families are constantly coming and going. Families were connecting on a musical level, expressing themselves in a safe and healthy manor, and being celebrated and noticed for something other than an illness, condition or injury.”
- Laura Hastings, Music Therapist at Ronald McDonald House, Vancouver, BC
“Students at WCA are affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). They generally have profound short-term memory issues, and a multitude of behavioral disorders, notably anger, short temper, and social cueing issues. These students really embraced the new technology. Students reported increased ownership and pride in the music they built from the ground up. I am so excited for future groups who are to experience the bandwagon! It was such a unique gift for our program, and took us deeper into ourselves and our musical experiences.”
- Caitriona Murphy, music therapist at West Coast Alternate School, Vancouver, BC
Thanks to the ongoing generosity of Music Therapy Ride supporters, communities all over BC and the Lower Mainland will now have an opportunity to experience the healing powers of music.
Since its inception in 2001, MTR has raised more than $850,000 for music therapy programs, including Bandwagon equipment and associated music therapists’ staffing costs. MTR’s goal for the 15th annual Ride in 2016 is to raise another $150,000 to bring the total to $1,000,000 and continue this important work in our community.
Therapy Ride Committee Chairman Shaw Saltzberg:
“This is the music industry’s way of giving back. When the bright red Bandwagon rolls in for a visit you can see the clients’ eyes open wide. It grabs their attention immediately, breaking down mental and physical barriers to communication and movement, opening them up to the music experience we all take for granted.”