The Special Voices project (with the help of over 100 volunteers!) has been taped and an eight minute demonstration version of the video has been created and circulated. The concept has been tested with 34 teenagers, divided into four groups who presented wildly successful concerts. The project has been received with tremendously positive reviews and support which has resulted in our team adding some terrific new allies:
A License to Rock!All rights secured!
After a long quest to secure all necessary licensing rights from the Music Publishers of the cover songs on our debut DVD, we can report mission accomplished !
A fabulous movie was shown on national PBS on Feb 1.
For Once in My Life is a documentary about a unique band of singers and musicians, and their journey to show the world the greatness – and killer soundtrack – within each of them. The 28 band members have a wide range of mental and physical disabilities, as well as musical abilities that extend into ranges of pure genius. In a cinema vérite style, the film explores the struggles and triumphs, and the healing power of music, as the band members' unique talents are nurtured to challenge the world's perceptions.www.4onceinmylife.com
A phone chat with Director/Producer, Jim Bigham, led us to “The Rights Workshop” in San Francisco that is very supportive of projects that serve our population of people with special needs. The same woman that represented them, Maryam Soleiman, agreed to represent us and was successful in acquiring all necessary clearances.
A Park and Recreation Programming Panacea?
Bill Demaio, Director of the New Britain, CT Park and Recreation department, is a nationally recognized professional in the Park and Recreation Industry. Bill will advise us and help us fashion Special Voices as a program for civic park and recreation departments. The Special Voices will help fill a glaring need in this industry for programs that serve adolescents with special needs.
Bill was able to help us establish a dialogue with Nancy Logan, Senior Manager, National Partnerships at the National Recreation and Parks association, the group that is at the hub of that industry. www.nrpa.org . When we have our program up and running, she is eager to use NRPA as the vehicle to reach their many members, our eventual end users.
Pediatric Hospitals Beckon
Lynn Pittsinger is an accomplished and respected leader in the Pediatric Nursing field. She is currently at Children’s Hospital Boston where she is a leader in management and education. She will be advising us in our effort to provide the Special Voices experience as an uplifting addition to the lives of hospitalized kids. After new Special Voices groups have given their community concerts, we will encourage follow up hospital performances. These shows will be a splashy introduction to our program. We will offer, through hospital therapeutic recreation professionals, our materials and program. The patients can then periodically learn and perform their own shows.
We’ve been invited to LUNCH!
LUNCH is a non-profit organization which uses the power of popular music to produce positive social action, carrying on the legacy of Harry Chapin. LUNCH raises awareness and funds for agencies providing human services by producing concerts and stage plays, involving kids in the process to show them they can make a difference in the lives of others. We are delighted to record LUNCH as the first benefactor of Special Voices. One of LUNCH’s programs, the “Voices for Hope” concert took place at the East Hartford, CT Cultural Center. LUNCH designated “Special Voices” as the primary beneficiary of this event. http://www.lunchensemble.com
PAN In, Pans Out!
PAN, the Peer Advisor Network is offered by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. It has placed us with advisor, Judith Mortensen, a woman with extensive experience developing and managing programs for people with special needs. We have formed an advisory committee and will be meeting regularly. Our goals are the creation of a non profit corporation, and development of an industry model and business plan.
Legal Eyes Focus In!
We have been accepted for pro bono legal aid by the New York Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. With their help, we have been able to receive the help of several volunteer Attorneys. They have been invaluable in guiding us through dense forest of legalities as we build the road for Special Voices to follow. Unfortunately, many families with children with special needs struggle financially. One of our goals is to structure our project as a 501(c)3 non profit corporation so that we might be able to offer the Special Voices experience to as many children as possible without charge. As the parent of a child with developmental disabilities, I am deeply involved with these kids and know the challenges that their families face. I, and all who have witnessed the incredible joy and achievement that is made possible by the Special Voices experience, can attest to the immensely positive effect it has provided for our Special Children.
For Special Voices, Carl Seeger Henry
PS. Our lead singer Steve Songs, has achieved notable success recently. He was chosen to entertain at the 2008 and 2009 and 2010 White House Easter Egg Hunt. Also, he is appearing on PBS as “Mr. Steve” the music teacher. “Mr. Steve” is a recurring bumper character during the morning block children’s shows.