Hello! Do you remember the last time you stood on a stage and were greeted with cheers for your performance? Or had a round of applause for being who you are? Did your heart feel warm from all the recognition?  Did you smile way bigger than you normally do? How did that feel? Many of our participants have never performed before coming to Note-Ables, much less experienced being on a stage in front of a 100 cheering people. That is, until they got to perform at our Spring recital on May 1st. More than 100 audience members cheered in celebration of the 21 student performers. The audience clapped, sang along, and even occasionally cried tears of joy. It was a truly wonderful experience for all who were there.

Performing can be an important element of feeling included in a community. People with disabilities are often ignored or marginalized, despite the fact that all of us either have or will experience disability at some time in our lives. It is critical for us to find ways to connect and include everyone in the fabric of our society. Music is a direct means of creating this connection, shrinking the distinctions between us and creating a sense of belonging for everyone.

Please check out some of the pictures and videos from our Spring Recital as we share them on our Facebook page, website, and Instagram. It was an incredibly special afternoon. Thank you for being a part of our community and helping create a place of belonging for everyone.

Sincerely, Sarah Toney Development Director

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” ― Thomas Merton

NMTS Moments

Michael Lahnala is like many 25-year-olds his age: he looks forward to graduating from college, has a full time job, is passionate for politics, loves music and the internet. By many standards Michael is a successful and productive member of society; however, when Michael was two years old he was diagnosed with a disability that carried the stigma he would never become a functioning adult. Michael was diagnosed with autism. Michael’s mother, Beth Varney, recalls her son at a young age, “At 18 months he still wasn’t talking, acknowledging, he acted deaf…yet he would be in the backroom and as soon as some commercial came on with music, he’d run out to watch the commercial, then he’d disappear again.” (Read more)

Upcoming Events

Fire it Up! Morning Dance Party - June 17th 8 am at McKinley Arts and Culture Center (Basement - West Side) Come dance with us and our facilitator Laurie Martin. Laurie leads us through a wild mixture of beats to wake our bodies up from the inside out! This group is about expressing and moving our bodies in ways that feel good, instead of dancing in just the right way. It's all about what you wanna do. Free with suggested $5 donation.

Basement Session - June 20th 12 - 1pm at McKinley Arts Center Would you like to know more about music therapy and our programs? You're welcome to join us for lunch! We share stories and explain what makes music therapy so effective, and The Note-Ables play a brief set. It's fun, informative and inspiring. Please email Sarah Toney for more information and to RSVP. Seating is limited, so please do contact us to attend!

The Note-Ables at the Airport (Artown event!) - July 5th 12 pm - 1 pm at the Reno/Tahoe International Airport Artown is hosting arts events all month at the airport and The Note-Ables are always a big hit at this event. Come be a part of the fun! Free event.

Summertime Blues - July 28th 6 - 8 pm at McKinley Arts and Culture Front Lawn Join us under the trees at our annual summer Artown event! We're celebrating the blues this year with The Note-Ables, the participants of NMTS classes, The Electric Catfish the Band, and Bridge Church Blues Band. We'll have tons of music, dancing, food trucks and kids' activities. Be sure to get this on your calendar. Free event.


Music Therapy Perspectives

Did you know that May is national Mental Health Awareness Month? This year’s theme is “Living With a Mental Illness.” Using the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike, people around the country are sharing their personal stories of living with anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and more. While disability in general has become more accepted in our society, mental illness still carries a great deal of stigma. You can see a wheelchair, but you can’t peer into someone’s head and see their depression or PTSD. Because of that, there can be a general attitude that people ‘just need to get over it,’ or that they ‘just want attention,’ and so many other harmful and inaccurate beliefs.

Mental health issues are the leading cause of disability in our country. In fact, approximately 20% of adults – that’s 1 in 5 of us – experience mental illness in a given year. Depression and anxiety disorders are by far the most common mental health issues, and they often accompany health crises, disability, aging, trauma, and more.

Music therapy is often used to help people work through a variety of mental health issues – from anxiety and depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Participating in music provides ways of safely expressing emotions, particularly emotions that people struggle to express. In addition, music helps people to feel less isolated and provides a positive, encouraging activity that fosters communication and connection.

We facilitate music therapy groups on the inpatient units at Northern Nevada Adults Mental Health Services (NNAMHS) four days a week. About a month ago, a young woman participated in a drum circle with Jodi. This young woman was in the hospital due to depression and self harm. The group experimented with expressing different emotions through the rhythm and sound of the drums. After the circle, she told Jodi that this drumming was the first time she had ever felt safe in expressing anger. It was a powerful moment for her to get in touch with her anger and learn that there are ways to express her feelings without cutting or otherwise harming herself. Participating in Jodi’s group helped this young woman on her path to self-awareness, insight, and acceptance of her disorder.

Best of Facebook

Our Facebook community loved this video! This young woman has Down syndrome and is a very talented and fun Zumba teacher. It’s a great video – check it out.

High Notes Society Breakfast Thank Yous

Many thanks to those who attended and made a donation at the High Notes Society breakfast - Brenda Frew, Sandy Jacob, Dodie Bryant, Nanette and Ted Oleson, Maryann Walters, Deanna Lyons, Caren Jenkins, Connie Zanotto, Kathy Person, Ann Bacon, Janice Duis, Rita Sipaila, Sheila Shay, Susan Boner, Jim and Monica Elsbrock, Bernie Cotton, Shari Elena Quinn, Kris Layman, Liz Motter, Jolene Stewart, Susan Mazer-Smith and Dallas Smith, Tammy Sharp, Elsa and Rick Heroux, Jennifer Crudo, Jill Gabel, Nancy Young, Barbara Daliposon, Marilyn and Chuck Landolt, Millie Hopper, Linda Brown, Toni Taylor, Jeanine and Pauline Mooers, Barb Anderson, Peter Lenz, Jim Keogh, and Brynda Searing. For a list of all of our wonderful donors, please check out our donor page.

Special thanks to those who joined the High Notes Society this month - Rick and Elsa Heroux, Dodie Bryant, and Sandy Jacob  

Thank you for our High Notes Society speakers, table captains and performers - Barb Anderson, Jennifer Crudo, Kim Franchi, Jennifer Kerin, Mayte Castro, Cheryl Eckert, John and Wendy Firestone, Jill Gabel, Mark Geeson, Sandy Jacob, Marilyn Moon, Beth Varney, Lisa and Mike Rizzoli,Sandy Young, Heather Schomberg, Drew Winebarger, and Bev Carpenter 

Thank you to The Grove for hosting our event so beautifully and for donating a $600 gift certificate for us to raffle off this summer! 


Wish List

  • Paper shredder and paper cutter!
  • Office and art supplies
  • 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

Charles Kazemi – Treasurer Owner – Make Your Momentum

Jim Robertson – Secretary Social Worker – Gentiva Hospice

John Firestone – Director Executive Director – The Life Change Center

Dave Stockman – Director President – Stillwater Foundation

Marilyn Moon – Director

Sandy Jacob - Director

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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