Nonprofit promotes awareness of music therapy

For The Recorder
Monday, November 06, 2017

LEVERETT — Singer and songwriter Livingston Taylor headlines a fundraising event for Sounds of Recovery, a nonprofit that promotes the use music therapy for individuals recovering from strokes, brain injuries or other forms of aphasia.

Taylor, the younger brother of musician James Taylor, will take the stage at the home of Lisa and Michael Kittredge, off Juggler Meadow Road, from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Sounds of Recovery was founded in 2015 by Lisa Kittredge after her husband, who started Yankee Candle, suffered a stroke in 2012. The nonprofit’s mission is to promote awareness of music therapy and provide grants to bring music therapists into area hospitals.

Kittredge said the idea for Sounds of Recovery came to her when she saw firsthand the value of music while her husband was rehabbing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.

The nonprofit effort was then aided by Amherst architect and musician John Kuhn, who recorded an album for his friend. This Thursday’s event will be the third fundraiser the Kittredges have held.

Music therapy has continued to benefit Michael Kittredge, who will perform with members of a local band at Thursday’s event.

“For Mike, it’s something he can still do. He can keep rhythm with the drums, he can remember lyrics to songs,” Kittredge said.

Kittredge said she continues to see the benefits her spouse gets from the therapy, noting that he was able to swallow, often a challenge for stroke survivors, sooner than he otherwise might have.

“It’s interesting to see how therapists working together have improved his success,” Kittredge said.

The event will also include a TED-style talk by Kathleen Howland, a professor at the Berklee College of Music, who is an authority on the benefits of music therapy.

Howland informed Kittredge that there was not a good website for nurses, doctors and caregivers on music therapy. Sounds of Recovery then funded the creation of MusicTherapyTales.com.

A grant from the organization is currently paying for regular hours of a certified music therapist to serve patients among the behavioral health population at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. Kittredge said she hopes to expand the therapy to Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield in the near future.

Tickets are $100 and there will also be a live and silent auction, light food and beverages.

For more information, visit: www.soundsofrecovery.org