September 2017

This past week we have all seen pictures of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Seeing the flooded neighborhoods and traumatized families has been difficult – as has watching the coverage of the more than 40 million people displaced by deadly flooding this summer in Asia. However, as in all tragedies, these disasters have also brought out the best in so many people. For every story of struggle there is one of generosity, kindness, and communities coming together in hope. And where there are communities coming together, there is music. Music is one of the primary ways that we get in touch with and express our feelings – and it is one of the most basic ways that we connect with those who have gone through similar experiences. We’ve seen so many examples of how people have turned to music in Houston, such as this video of people singing together in an evacuee shelter, and this video of Eric Harding playing piano in his flooded living room. They truly are examples of how music can lift our spirits in the most difficult of times.

Manal Toppozada, Executive Director

NMTS Moments

For some, the thought of dancing in front of a room full of people is the stuff of nightmares, but for dancers from NMTS dance classes, it is a dream come true.

Just Dance, NMTS’s first annual all-dance showcase, brought together dancers from both Wednesday afternoon dance classes for a full-length dance concert on Saturday, August 19 at the McKinley Arts and Culture Center auditorium. The dancers performed some of their favorite pieces from the past seven years of classes to an appreciative audience of friends and family.

“I love to dance; it makes me feel joy,” says dance class participant, Breanne Knight.

The audience seemed to be filled with joy as well, while they cheered to favorites like Forget You, It’s a Lua and Waka Waka. The showcased ended with an invitation to the audience to join the dancers for a Soul Train finale.

“There are some people who just cannot sit still when they hear a good song,” said NMTS dance instructor and choreographer, Wendy Firestone, “and we wanted everyone to have a chance to join in the fun.”

The performance was followed by a reception, giving the dancers an opportunity to bask in the glory of their achievement and hear the accolades of their adoring fans.

“This was a such an incredible experience for both the dancers and their friends and family who got to see them be the stars that they are,” said Firestone, “and we are already working on a new piece for the Fall Showcase. We can’t wait to show you what we’re working on now!”

Music Therapy Perspectives

Community partnerships are vital in helping us achieve our mission of creating lasting change in the lives of people of all abilities. Our partnership with The Life Change Center started in 2016, and has been a great success. Music therapists Jodi and Maura provide group therapy sessions at TLCC’s Reno and Carson City locations three days a week. We recently spoke with Eric Hare, TLCC’s Carson City Site Director, and asked him about the impact of music therapy on their clients. His words really speak to the benefit that music has for people struggling with addiction, so we wanted to share them with you. Thank you Eric!

” The Note-Ables bring a music therapy group to our clinic each week. Our population is being treated for addiction to heroin and other opiates and have other challenges such as mental health. While many of our groups are topic driven and relate directly to addiction and relapse prevention, the approach of music therapy provides a relaxing environment where many of our clients express feeling relieved and encouraged after participating in this style of group. It is one of our more frequently attended groups and has a regular following. Many clients say they feel anxious and even ashamed attending groups that focus solely on relapse and drug use. In contrast, many of the participants of music therapy state that playing instruments, listening to songs, and participating in re-writing songs into recovery related lyrics is a soothing, intuitive way for them to explore their past drug use and develop needed coping skills to prevent a relapse on opiates.” 

Eric Hare (Site Director, The Life Change Center – Carson City)

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This project is capturing people’s attention and imagination. The Lullaby Project was started by our friends at the Reno Philharmonic and is a collaboration between the Reno Phil, Step2Reno, and NMTS. The participants in this project are mothers who are in residential treatment at Step2 to overcome substance abuse, poverty, and domestic violence. Step2 is the only program in northern Nevada that allows women to maintain custody of their children while in treatment – which is crucial in their journey to a new life, health, and reunion with their children. The Lullaby Project is an opportunity for these women to write their own lullabies and songs of love for their children with the support of music therapists from NMTS. They will then orchestrate, perform, and record their songs with musicians from the Reno Philharmonic at Tanglewood Studios to produce a tangible gift of love. It’s an incredible project modeled after Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project in New York. The Reno Philharmonic is still raising the necessary funds, but we’re getting started in September on faith that the money will arrive. Please donate online through this link if you are moved to support these journeys of expression, connection, and renewal.

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Upcoming Events

Basement Session – Monday, September 25th, 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

Halloween Party – Thursday, October 26th, 3pm (McKinley Arts and Culture Center) Time to party! Dress in your best costume and join our families and participants for an afternoon of spooky fun. Dancing, games, crafts, snacks, and costume contests. No need for RSVPs, just come and join in.

Fall Showcase – Saturday, November 11th, 7pm (Cargo in Whitney Peak) Our participants are already working on their next big show, The Fall Showcase. Our Exploring Music classes, dance classes, Electronic Music Project workshops, and The Note-Ables will all be featured on one of Reno’s hottest stages. Save the date!

Volunteer Opportunities

NMTS is winding down from a lively and music-filled summer and our volunteers have been invaluable! Between the High Notes Society Breakfast, Teen Beat Summer Music Camp, One Hit Summer, our first annual dance concert, community events and in-house programs, our volunteers have dedicated more than 500 hours of their time and talent to NMTS. That’s pretty amazing! Now it’s time to kick back and relax for a bit as we gear up for the Fall Showcase on November 11th and the busy holiday season ahead. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop for upcoming volunteer opportunities as they get closer. Thank you as always for your support and generosity, and be sure to enjoy the fleeting days of summer.

Happy Labor Day!

Thank you,

Dena Sweigart, Administrative Assistant

August Thank Yous!

Thank you to our August donors! Jaime Briscoe Collins, Kathy and Russ Fields, Bob Fulkerson, Mary Lee Fulkerson, Scott Harrington, Kate Kirkpatrick, Marilyn Moon, Northern Nevada Bluegass Association,  Heide Rochlin, Bev Savage, Sue Wagner, Sallie Moore, Cecelia Lee, Toni Taylor, Dean Staples, and Nancy Young

Thank you to our classroom and office volunteers!  Sara Bolling, Jewelene Fritts, Mark Geeson, Eric Gieseke, Chris Keenan, Tonia Meyers, Marilyn Moon, Courtney Mayer, Cindy Oesterle-Prescott, Gregory Raymond, Nicky Stevens, and Ken Vogel

Thank you to our Dance Concert volunteers!  Sarah Bolling, Courtney Mayer, and Stuart Murtland for photography and video

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

Wish List

  • 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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