July 2017

Dear Friends,

If you have been keeping up with NMTS, you may know that I recently had the privilege of leaving the organization in the capable hands of our fantastic staff and board as I took a three-month sabbatical. During that time I enjoyed some time with my family and was also fortunate to attend several trainings in the states and in Canada. At these trainings I met colleagues from across North America, Europe and Asia. I learned about the great work that music therapists are doing across the globe. I also learned that no one is doing anything that is more innovative, creative, and exciting than what we are doing here in Reno, Nevada!

After all this time, one thing remains clear – the fundamental need for access to music and self-expression is not going anywhere, particularly for people with disabilities, mental health issues, addiction, and other challenges.

At NMTS, we are using music every day to work toward our mission –  which is to create lasting change in the lives of people of all abilities through music. How we pursue that mission can look very different from one person to the next, but the why is always the same. We are working to create lasting change, which means greater health and wholeness. I think we all need to be really proud of what we are creating and supporting here in our little corner of the world!

I’m so glad to be back and so grateful for everyone at NMTS, especially Sarah Toney who did a wonderful job serving as interim executive director. We have several new programs in the works, so stay tuned for some exciting announcements to come in the next couple of months. Have a wonderful summer!


Manal Toppozada, Executive Director

NMTS Moments with Caitlin McGuire

Our experiential music classes are a fun, engaging way for people with disabilities to make friends, practice social skills, get some exercise, and perform for the community.

As part of getting ready for our Artown event One Hit Summer, our Exploring Music II group and I had the challenge of adapting our choreography to the front of McKinley Arts and Culture, where we’ll be performing. When we got outside, the group was not only focused and intent on practice, they also offered suggestions and worked collaboratively to make our performance the best it can be. Instead of being frustrated by change, they welcomed the “problem” and were helpful, supportive of each other, and creative.

While people with disabilities can be seen as less able, they in fact have a lot of creative capacity, resilience, courage, and love – just like everyone else. Our participants continually amaze me. Together, we are putting together a great show for you and your friends and family. Please join us on July 27, 6pm at McKinley for a wonderful time and to support these dedicated musicians and dancers!

Music Therapy Perspectives – Sound Health

Music therapy is an extremely exciting field with continually expanding research on how music impacts in our bodies, minds, and hearts. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently expanded an initiative called Sound Health in partnership with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and National Symphony Orchestra. They recently hosted a three day event to feature music therapy as healing pathway that opens doors to recovery and health, even in instances when nothing else can. Theres is a series of incredible videos of presentations by music therapists, neuroscientists, the director of the NIH and incredible performances by musicians.

Ben Folds Composes a Song as Performance with the National Symphony Orchestra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BytUY_AwTUs

Breakthroughs with Music Therapy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzJB3oI4RHM

The Future of Music and the Mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rNFq3MkVco

Music and Childhood Development: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv2Ao6S604Y

Creative Aging: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naw3v2OBBY0

Best of Facebook

Our Facebook family loved this video of our participants and families. It captures the heart of what we do and why we do it. Music helps people feel that they belong, that they can achieve regardless of ability, and that their voices truly matter.

We debuted the video at our High Notes Society breakfast and were excited to share it with everyone on social media. This video was the product of many artists in our community, including Stuart Murtland (Stuart Murtland Photography), Maren Rush (Maren Rush Designs), Cameron Paris (Firebolt Media Services) and Nate Eng. Many thanks to our participants for being part of the project as well!

Follow Us on Social Media

Please help us celebrate our Volunteer of the Year and the Supporters of the Year!

Volunteer of the Year – Marilyn Moon

Marilyn enjoying her hoola-hoop at Evening of Romance

Marilyn enjoying her hoola-hoop at Evening of Romance

Marilyn has been a dedicated volunteer in our weekly dance classes for over 3 years. She supports the dancers in achieving their fullest expression while having fun and remembering all the choreography. Marilyn has an incredible ability to express freely through her dance, which empowers others to do the same.

Marilyn has a long history of working with people with developmental disabilities. Her gentle heart and patience allow her to connect and engage with everyone around her. Note-Able Music Therapy Services is greatly strengthened by her reliability, support, and welcoming spirit. She is here to serve our participants with her creativity and warmth, and she is loved for it.

According to the NMTS dancers, Marilyn “is the best”, “brings joy to the class”, and “helps everyone do their best.” Our participants love her, rely on her unwavering support, and celebrate their opportunities to dance with Marilyn.

Supporters of the Year – Susan Mazer-Smith and Dallas Smith

Susan and Dallas

Susan Mazer-Smith and Dallas Smith

Susan Mazer-Smith and Dallas Smith are well-known arts supporters in our community, world-renowned musicians, and the founding entrepreneurs of Healing Healthcare Systems. They’ve recorded multiple albums and have performed on stages around the world, as well as on NPR, NOVA, and the Discovery Channel.

Susan and Dallas have dedicated their lives to the connection and healing that exists when music and beauty are present. They are both passionate about bringing compassion and wellness to marginalized people. Not only are they generous donors, they open their home and share their distinctive and exquisite music at the now annual NMTS Holiday House Concert.

Susan and Dallas have a deep understanding of music therapy and the various uses of music in health care. They have provided insight, support, and cheerleading for our ongoing entries into the health care marketplace, including our recently expanding neurologic music therapy services. With Susan and Dallas’ support, insight, and passion, Note-Able Music Therapy Services is expanding its vision and ability to meet out community needs.

Upcoming Events

Teen Beat Summer Music Camp – July 10th – 14th Our Teen Beat Summer Music Camp is the highlight of the summer for many of our participants! Camp is full, but the performance on Friday is open to the public and the campers love having an audience! If you would like to attend the Friday lunch performance please email dena@note-ables.org to RSVP.

The Note-Ables play Art Paws – Sunday, July 16th, 4pm (McKinley Arts and Culture Center) The Note-Ables will be performing for the fourth year in a row at this great day of art, dogs, and music on the front lawn of McKinley.

Basement Session – Monday, July 17th, 12pm (McKinley Arts and Culture Center) Would you like to get to know more about music therapy, adaptive music, and The Note-Ables? This lunch event is free to attend and is a small gathering, so there’s plenty of time to ask your questions. And The Note-Ables play! RSVP to Sarah Toney at sarahtoney@note-ables.org

The Note-Ables play Artown at the Airport – Monday, July 24th, 1 – 2pm (Reno Tahoe International Airport) The Note-Ables are playing a free concert, it’s a great way to serve our community and meet all the great people traveling from around the country!

One Hit Summer – Thursday, July 27th, 6pm (McKinley Arts and Culture Center) Come join us for our annual Artown event, featuring performances by The Note-Ables, all of our classes, AND a reunion performance by Nothing Like a Dame. We’ll have games, activities for the kids, dancing, and food trucks. It’ll be a wonderful evening of community, music, and fun for everyone. $5 suggested donation.

The Note-Ables play Bowers Mansion Bluegrass Festival – Saturday, August 19th, 12pm (Bowers Mansion, Washoe Valley) The Note-Ables are excited to be part of this wonderful festival again this year. It’s a wonderful day of music under the trees at Bowers, with crafts, great food, incredible music, and dancing. It’s a great way to spend a summer day! Tickets for this event are available online.

Volunteer Opportunities


Artown is here!


On Thursday, July 27th, Note-Able Music Therapy Services will be hosting our annual Artown event. One Hit Summer will be an inclusive and accessible evening of music and dancing to your favorite one hit wonders on the lawn at McKinley Arts and Culture Center.

Local bands The Note-Ables and Nothing Like a Dame will perform along with more than 60 NMTS participants. Food trucks will be serving up local fare, desserts and beverages. And there will be plenty of fun activities for the kids with games on the lawn, a bubble station and face painting.

This is a super fun event to volunteer for! Being outside on a summer evening surrounded by music and laughter makes for a great way to serve your community!

The event will start at 6:00 PM and last until around 8:30 PM. We will need volunteers in various time slots between 3:00 PM and 10:00 PM. Please click on the “SIGN UP!” link below to be a part of this awesome event!




Thank you!

Dena Sweigart, Administrative Assistant

June Thank Yous!

Thank you to the newest members of our High Notes SocietyThese generous individuals and businesses have pledged to support NMTS at a level of at least $500 per year for the next five years. Please join us in welcoming new High Notes Society members Breeze Cross, Katherine & Michael Kalthoff, Chris Morrison, and Debra Vigil – thank you!

Thank you to our June donors! Marilyn Moon, Jaime Briscoe Collins, Mary Lee Fulkerson, Kate Kirkpatrick, Scott Harrington, Dodie Bryant, Scott Faulkner and Andrea Lenz, Cindy Faber-England, Susan Strandberg, Christy Lapelusa, Bernie Cotton, Marianne Schaefer, Kim Franchi, Chris Johnson, Wayne Omel, Gregory Cremeans, Kim Lanning, Mary Flatley, Pauline and Jeanine Mooers, Steffini Vandever, Annette Junell, Alexia Bratiotis, Irene Heinemeier, Allen Batts, Breeze Cross, Debra Vigil, Charlene Bybee, Chris Morrison, Chris and Doyle Stewart, Peter Lenz, Niki Gladys, Connie Mulstay, Lois Parks, Sandy Jacob, Tom and Sharri Wise, Julie Leach, Suzanne Slade, Laurie Martin, Jackie Shelton, Calder Chism, Jessica Oexle, Katherine & Michael Kalthoff, Baldo Bobadilla, Iris Stille, and Bob Fulkerson

Thank you to our classroom and office volunteers!  Mark Geeson, Marilyn Moon, Cindy Oesterle-Prescott, Chris Keenan, Cheryl Eckert, Jewelene Fritts, Ariel Miller, Tonia Meyers, Eric Gieseke, Lorelei Neft, Ken Vogel, Gregory Raymond and Cheyenne Underwood

As always, thank you to our Endowment Founding Circle! 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.

Music Quote of the Month

Can a mere song change people's minds?

Wish List

  • Shredder
  • Art supplies – anything you’re not using, we’ll find a use for!
  • Greeting cards and thank you notes
  • iTunes gift cards
  • Disposable food service goods, such as paper plates, cutlery, cups and napkins
  • Postage stamps

Board of Directors

Kate Kirkpatrick – President
Director of Public Information, Marketing & Communications, Truckee Meadows Community College

Dave Stockman – Treasurer
President – Stillwater Foundation

Sandy Jacob – Secretary

Dennis Doty – Director
Physical Therapist – HCR ManorCare 

John Firestone – Director
Executive Director – The Life Change Center

Give the gift of music!

Your donations provide for our low cost and adjustable-rate fees for classes, workshops, music therapy and music lessons! Every dollar donated helps people of all abilities to continue to have access to music therapy and programs.

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