Delivering COVID Care packages

It’s official–the care packages are out the door!

Back in December 2020, we reached out to the Roman Music Therapy community about donations for care packages. As part of our partnership with Raising the Blues, Ltd., we hoped to gather both musical and non-musical items to deliver to the group homes we currently serve. Now, we’re proud to announce that as of March 2021, those packages have been put together and and are being delivered.

Over the past few months, we have been working hard to gather the items for these care packages. Raising the Blues–a non-profit that brings music and instruments to children with unique life challenges–was our biggest supporter. They provided over $3,000 worth of instruments including drums, shakers, keyboards, ukuleles, and more.

Our Roman Music Therapy Services community also got involved. Many folks generously donated other items such as adult coloring books, CDs, puzzles and games, and crafting supplies. All donations were put to good use. Once everything was gathered, our team to assemble and deliver the completed packages to the 32 group homes we serve.

A Labor of Love

This project was a labor of love for all involved. From the folks at Raising the Blues who donated instruments to our own staff who put in time and effort to assemble and drop off each package, everyone worked hard to see it through.

We wanted to undertake this effort as a way to support the group homes we work with. Across the state, these facilities have been under significant pressure over the past year of the pandemic. Research shows people living in residential group homes may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. Quarantining and managing social isolation have been big challenges for both staff and residents alike. Not only are the clients of these residences isolated and vulnerable, but the staff that care for them are under the constant strain of keeping themselves and their clients safe.

At Roman Music Therapy Services, our purpose as an organization is to spread experiences of shared joy through music making. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us, forcing us to shift and adapt to new ways of serving our clients and community. This project, in partnership with Raising the Blues, is one way we hope to bring some fun, joy and spontaneity into each group home we serve. We also think the residents are going to be very excited to use their own instruments in our music therapy sessions!

While we have not been able to go out and visit clients in-person like we used to, our goal is to keep the music playing. Thank you to our community and Raising the Blues for collaborating on this project and helping us serve our clients. Even in the midst of a pandemic, the music continues on!

Karaoke: A Night of Stars

by Jennifer Ray

Our First Karaoke Night

On Friday, October 13th, Roman Music Therapy Services invited the community and the agencies that we serve to our first ever Family Karaoke and Open Mic night. The karaoke event was the kick off to a new menu of services we plan to offer, under the name of Project Harmony. When we first started planning the event, we hoped that people would be as excited as we were about it! It would be a fun night, bringing people from different backgrounds and with different abilities together for music making. When Meredith and I talked about it, we thought a turnout of thirty would mean we had a successful night.

Two weeks before the event and we realized we were offering something that the community was getting excited about! Social media started lighting up with groups and individuals tagging each other and referencing the karaoke post on Facebook. Registrations started pouring in online. Group homes started calling with residents RSVP’s. The week of the event we had ninety people registered for a room at Onset School of Music that could hold one hundred.

We had to close registration, a problem we could have never envisioned!

BJ Wass and his crew at Onset (a huge shout out and thank you for all of their assistance!) opened up two rooms for us, an impressive back room with stage, lighting and sound, and another great space where we could have a second sound system running. At many points in the evening, we had two karaoke singers performing at the same time!

I found myself throughout the evening in awe and deeply touched by what I was witnessing.

Seeing this broad representation of the community; families, kids, moms out with their friends, adults with special needs, kids with special needs, all these people having fun and cheering each other on, it was amazing. Thinking about it now, I still get chills. Everyone that night was so accepting, and so supportive of each other, it truly showed the power of music and the power of community.

When folks left that night, there was a smile on every face. We had all been a part of something special!

Special thanks goes to Onset Music School, for helping us with the logistics, as well as to The Optical House, The Bread Shop and Kelly’s Roast Beef, who all donated items for our raffle!

If you had fun at our karaoke event, or weren’t able to participate in this one, please call our office, 781-224-3300, to RSVP for our next Karaoke night at Onset on December 8th!


Drum Circle+: Community Building in Action

Have you wondered what Drum Circle+ is all about?

Drum Circle+ is a drum circle facilitated by a Board Certified Music Therapist from Roman Music Therapy Services. In one of our events, you will get all of the benefits of drumming including reducing stress, improving physical health and wellness, increasing brain functioning and building community.

Drum Circle in ActionResearch suggests music can enhance brain functioning in the moment and over time. This is useful for a wide range of individuals and groups. Our music therapists are able to meet your group’s unique needs, whether it be for staff wellness or development, a professional workshop or an energizing community event.

Watching a Drum Circle+ in action.

To give you an idea of what happens at a Roman Music Therapy Services Drum Circle+ event, check out the video below from the Malden Access Television Open House Showcase.  In this interactive and engaging drum circles for all ages, we explore one of the oldest known instruments. The Music Therapists of Roman Music Therapy Services use the drum circle to engage everyone in fun-filled and purposeful music making that can leave a lasting impression!

Recorded May 16, 2015, at MATV’s 9th annual Open House Showcase.

Call us to learn more about how we can create a Drum Circle+ experience to meet your needs.

The Virtues of Music Therapy and Finding Funding

Horace Mann Educational Associates, HMEA, in Franklin, MA supports children and adults with developmental disabilities to over 110 communities within Massachusetts, providing innovative services in school, at home, at work and in the community. Music therapy programs were included among the programs HMEA provided, and the programs had a great reception from the community. Unfortunately, when funding ran out, the program was stopped. 

Douglas MacPherson, the Vice President of Development and Public Relations for HMEA, knew that music therapy programs were needed by the community and he wanted to find a way to continue to offer music therapy programs. 

Funding search

And find a way he did. First, Mr MacPherson and his team applied to the Music Drives Us Foundation out of Dedham, founded by Ernie Boch Jr., a musician in his own right. They approved the funding on HMEA’s first request and awarded HMEA a check and plaque.

Next, Mr MacPherson applied to the Thomas Anthony Pappas Foundation in Massachusetts, where HMEA also found funding available to them. Continue reading “The Virtues of Music Therapy and Finding Funding”