February 23, 2017
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Philharmonic Cares: Healing the community through music
By Catherine Creppon on May 31, 2016
In the weeks following a cataclysmic event like a
head injury or a stroke, music is sometimes the difference between life or death. Celebrated neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote of
head injury or a stroke, music is sometimes the difference between life or death. Celebrated neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote ofthe startling effect of music-making and classical music recordings on brain tissue surrounding the site of an injury, noting that patients who had access to music were much more likely to regain use of damaged tissue, and with it their powers of speech, motor control and memory. Those who did not would sometimes remain “locked in” for years. Similarly, emotional trauma can leave us feeling cut off from our powers of expression, communication and connection with others. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in professions where it is a sworn duty to care for others. Nurses, police officers and those who provide direct services to the disadvantaged face stressful, frightening and tragic circumstances every time they go to work, and it is their job to respond with strength and generosity of spirit. No wonder mental-health experts have identified compassion fatigue as one of the greatest contributors to burnout in caregiving fields. Who cares for the caregivers? In Colorado Springs, the orchestra provides one outlet for professional caregivers to relax and reconnect. Since September 2015, UCHealth has made it possible for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic to give away 706 complimentary concert tickets to local caregivers, including firefighters, animal shelter workers, counselors of at-risk youth, and more. Staffers and volunteers from 22 different agencies are invited to the concert hall via the Philharmonic Cares project, where they are frequently greeted from the stage by Philharmonic president and CEO Nathan Newbrough. “You care so much for our neighbors,” Newbrough said. “Now, let us treat you to a night out.” The response from beneficiary organizations has been staggering: to date, 1,474 caregivers have signed up for the opportunity to receive complimentary tickets throughout the concert season. Noreen Landis-Tyson, president and CEO of a charitable organization that provides early-childhood education and support for struggling families, explained what Philharmonic Cares means to her staff and volunteers: “Because [CPCD’s] mission is to serve the most vulnerable families in our community, our staff has a difficult time taking care of their own mental and emotional health, and sometimes find it almost impossible to leave their jobs at home. Additionally, many of our staff are single parents on limited incomes themselves, and would not be able to afford to purchase tickets for the Philharmonic. This program [is] very welcome to so many of our staff members, and it is a wonderful way to give back to people who give so much of themselves to our community.” Causes Supported by Philharmonic Cares Mentoring relationships for children facing adversity ● Volunteer advocates in court for abused and neglected children ● Meeting basic housing and health needs for local families ● Residential assistance, training and support for adults with developmental disabilities ● Colorado Springs Fire Department ● Early childhood education for children living in poverty ● Assistance for aging or learning-challenged adults ● Abuse prevention and support for at-risk families ● Shelter, adoption and medical services for homeless and abused animals ● Physical, emotional and spiritual support for life-limiting illness ● Senior advocacy and services to maintain independence, safety and quality of life ● Shelter and services for people experiencing homelessness, poverty and addiction ● Support and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities ● Emergency shelter, services and counseling for youth at risk of homelessness ● Family-based, grassroots mental health advocacy and support services ● Promoting healthy environments at skate parks through skills development and outreach ● Community living for abused teenagers who cannot return to their families ● El Paso County Sheriff’s Office ● Health promotion, disease prevention and environmental health programs ● Colorado Springs Police Department ● Global fair trade advocacy and sustainable business development in the Third World For more information on Philharmonic Cares, please visit csphilharmonic.org/cares.