May 2015


This month we are saying goodbye to Sheena Britschgi, who has been part of NMTS since 2008. Saying goodbye is often difficult. Saying goodbye to someone who has worked next to me for more than 14,000 hours is…well, difficult is an understatement. I can’t express how much Sheena means to me, my family, and all of our volunteers, donors, participants, and their families. I am so sad to see her go, but so happy for her as she embarks on this new chapter in her life. I want to leave as much space for her as possible…so here’s Sheena!

– Manal


To my Note-Able Family,

Nearly 7 years ago, I submitted and application for employment with a company called The Note-Ables. I did not know much about them and they knew even less about me. A few days later, I got a call from the Executive Director to come in for an interview. I do not remember every detail of that day, just that I met with Manal and Bob, a board member, who asked me a lot of questions that I answered very nervously. A short while after, I was offered the position – the rest is history.

Working at Note-Able Music Therapy Service has not just been a job. It has been part of my life, and all of you are a part of my family. I have seen some of our individuals literally grow up before my eyes and I am honored to have seen all of them grow as independent and extremely capable individuals.

When I first started, we had a tiny office sectioned off with cubical walls in one room in the basement. That room held all of the classes, all of the lessons and band rehearsal as well. Now, we have a classroom/dance studio (where our old office was), a therapy space, a band rehearsal space and our offices upstairs. None of this would have been accomplished without the steadfast support of our community, from donors and volunteers to participants and their families. It has been a humbling and heartwarming thing to witness.

Also key to the success of NMTS has been the undying dedication of our leader: Manal Toppozada. Her commitment to helping the underserved in our community is unwavering. She has kept NMTS afloat in difficult times and helped it sail smoothly forward when the wind was right. Sometimes it was just the two of us, taking on the tasks of ten, working late into the night before a big event and making sure that our participants still had a place to come each week. We have probably spent more time with each other over the last 7 years than we have with our families – and, in turn, become a part of each others families as well.

It is difficult to put in to words how much change has happened to the organization and to me. It is also hard to believe my time here is at an end. I have accepted a position at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, and I begin that journey on May 11th.

I will miss seeing all of the participants every week and leading classes when needed, I will miss seeing all of my volunteers giving it their all when they are called to action, I will miss catching up with all our supporters at events throughout the year and, most of all, I will miss the NMTS staff.

I promise not to go far and plan to help whenever I am able. Before long, it will be July and we will see each other at Biggest Little Music Festival for some great music, some awesome food and some refreshing brews. I can’t wait.

Thank you for all the memories,

– Sheena

Meet Our New Music Therapist!

Introducing Jodi McLaren! We’re really excited to welcome Jodi as the newest member of the NMTS team. She is finishing her music therapy internship in Florida and will be joining us in July. Jodi brings a deep belief in community-based music therapy and adaptive music programs, like those we offer here at NMTS. Her work with children with developmental disabilities, veterans, and hospice patients has shown her that music “connects individuals to their community, providing a sense of belonging, joy, and togetherness.”

Jodi has connections in Reno and has even spent some time at Renown Children’s Hospital. She was profiled in Renown’s Best Medicine magazine last fall after spending some time with a young man who was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Jodi made quite an impression on the young man’s mother, who said “She performed one song for us, and it was a really sweet song with a simple message. It made both Gabe and me emotional. Something came to the surface for us, which is what music does. Music helps that process of healing.” Check out the article about Jodi’s visit to Renown here.

Jodi is also a singer-songwriter and will bring a ton of passion, talent and inspiration to NMTS. We’re looking forward to getting everyone back into sessions, working on our waiting list, and adding new programs to the calendar!


Best of Facebook

This clip just warmed our hearts. Can you imagine anything other than a dance party creating this amount of joy, connection and expression on a New York subway? Seriously, this is a great demonstration of the power of music to shift our experience from isolation to community. (Click picture to play)


Teen Beat Summer Music Camp

Teen Beat Summer Music Camp is almost full! Our 6th annual camp will be held during the week of July 6th, 10am to 2pm for teens with disabilities ages 12 to 21. Do you have a teen who loves music, dance, art and having fun? Do you know a teen or young adult who would like to volunteer? Check it out! 

One of our moms told us, “This is the highlight of Eddie’s year. Ever since he came last summer this is all he has talked about. When is music camp? When do I get to play music again? When we told him that he going to be able to go to music camp again this year, you would have thought he won the lottery!”


Upcoming Events

Reno Pops on Safari with The Note-Ables – May 16, 7:00pm

Reno Pops Orchestra has invited us to sing with them at their upcoming concert at Nightingale Hall on May 16th. It will be so much fun and we are so honored to be asked to participate! Check out their site for more information.

Basement Session – May 18, 12:00pm

If you’re interested in learning more about NMTS and music therapy, come join us for our Basement Session in April! There will be music, appetizers, wine, and lots of fun. Seating is limited and RSVPs are required. Please email Sarah Toney if you’re interested in attending.

NMTS Day at the Aces – June 28, 1:05pm

The Reno Aces are teaming up with NMTS for a day of baseball fun and supporting our music programs! Buy your Aces tickets through us for the June 28th game and part of your ticket stays with NMTS and supports our music programs. United Federal Credit Union is sponsoring tickets for our participants, which we’ll be distributing through classes for folks who’d like to join us that day at the ballpark! Thank you United Federal!
Buy your tickets HERE!

Please check our website for the most up-to-date information on events and activities.

The Spring Recital Was Wonderful!

We’ll be sharing videos and pictures of our Spring Recital on Facebook and if you’d like to see any particular part of that event, email Sarah Toney. We were able to record almost all of the performances. We are so proud of everyone who got on stage to share their talents, and it was wonderful to feel all the love and support for our participants.

April Thank Yous

Thank you United Federal Credit Union!

Many thanks to United Federal Credit Union! They very much believe in community involvement and will be partnering with us to provide more programming and opportunities for our participants. For the upcoming Aces Day, they are sponsoring the tickets for our participants to come to the game with a guest free of charge for a fun day. More on this to come, but UFCU is stepping up to support our community and we are so grateful!

Thank you to our classroom and office volunteers!

Leif Christensen, Mark Geeson, Tia Henderson, Sharon Hickox, Troy Jorgensen, Michael Lahnala, Nanette Mueller, Cindy Oesterle-Prescott, Mary Shoen, Amina Wilson, Mark Yan, Michael Young, Forrest Zeiter

Endowment Founding Circle

A very special circle of people!

The Board of Directors of Note-Able Music Therapy Services:
Ellie Van Winkle, President

The Advisory Board of Note-Able Music Therapy Services
The Eckert Family
Joe Macaluso
Tony Macaluso – In memory of Joe, Mary and Fina Macaluso
Pythia Sisters of Nevada: Jeanille Hyde, Grand Chief
Ms. Heidemarie Rochlin
Dr. & Mrs. Tousson Toppozada
Earl & Peggy Whitney
The Wilson Family
The Note-Able Music Therapy Services endowment fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. By contributing to the fund, you will guarantee that children and adults – no matter their age or ability – will always have a place where they can learn, grow, and experience a community that is connected through the love of music. Please call or email us for more information about how you can contribute to the legacy of NMTS.



News & Notes is the monthly newsletter from Note-Able Music Therapy Services. Here is your chance to catch up with the band, check out upcoming events, find out how music therapy is impacting our community and the world, and much more.  You can also keep up with us by checking out our website and following us on Facebook and Twitter.


Board of Directors

Ellie Van Winkle (President)
Scott Harrington (Past President)
Kate Kirkpatrick (Secretary)
Jim Robertson(Treasurer)
Charles Kazemi (Director)

Advisory Board

Barbara Anderson
Tammy Borde
Christi Cakiroglu
Scott Faulkner
John Firestone
Bob Fulkerson
Mary Lee Fulkerson
Joe Macaluso
Lisa Mancini
Jeanine Mooers
Cindy Oesterle-Prescott
Toni Taylor

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