By Zach Chouteau
When it comes to innovative concerts that make a difference, it’s hard to top what Maya’s Music Therapy Fund has on the agenda at the Richmond Recreation Complex on Sunday, March 19, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Their unique Spring Concert will showcase musical performances of all kinds by people of all ages who have received ‘music therapy’ training to help with them with ‘non-musical’ goals related to their various developmental disabilities. By working with a certified music therapist—an experienced professional by the name of Titia Martin-Nagel, MT-BC—Maya’s Music Therapy helps people facing everything from autism, cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome to hearing and vision impairment.
“One of the most unique things is all of the performers are people with developmental disabilities, and they get to be on a real stage in front of a real audience,” Martin-Nagel told the Standard. She added that it’s also a moving experience for those watching the show, many of them friends and family members who are filled with pride for those on stage.
Another unusual aspect of the show, explained Martin-Nagel, is that many of the instruments have been especially adapted for the performers when needed, a task she herself undertakes. She added that performers in 2017 will run the gamut from using keyboards to xylophones and ukuleles—and even a special iPad music app that responds to a performer’s movements to create sounds.
The yearly concert, now in its 28th rendition, is a way for these hard-working individuals, children among them, to share their passion for musical performance. The theme for 2017’s show is ‘Under the Sea’ and songs will include such odes to the ocean as Yellow Submarine and Octopus’s Garden. Tickets are just $5 for children or anyone with a disability, and $10 for adults/general admission; tasty snacks will also be on sale during the event.
Maya’s Music Therapy Fund, headquartered in Berkeley, is named in memory of Maya Cooper, a young woman who suffered from severe disabilities and used music to connect with the world. Upon her passing in 1988, her parents, Joanna Cooper, MD and Michael Cooper, MD, created Maya’s Music Therapy Fund to celebrate her life and love of music.
The Richmond Recreation Complex is located at 3230 Macdonald Avenue. To find out more about this one-of-a-kind concert or Maya’s Music Therapy Fund, visit mayasmusic.org.