Monday, August 22, 2016

Harvey School hosts Fundraiser for Northern Westchester Hospital Music Therapy Program

​Saturday night at the Harvey School, the Northern Westchester Hospital Foundation presented Moms and Dads who Rock to raise funds for the hospital's Music Therapy Program. Consisting of three local bands, the fundraiser and the 100 strong turnout shook the dance floor for its second straight year and raised $15,000.
“We wanted to help out the hospital in a way that would also be meaningful to us,” said Cathy Shaffer who co-chairs the event with her husband Paul Shaffer of Late Show with David Letterman fame and Anita and John Bae.
NWH Foundation President Keeva Young-Wright was appreciative of Shaffer’s efforts and credited her for understanding the impact of music therapy. “She knows music can make a difficult situation better for all patients,” said Young-Wright.
Ariel Weissberger, who runs the music therapy program at NWH, certainly knows from experience. “Music therapy helps reduce stress, anxiety and pain, while it’s proven to alleviate afflictions and symptoms - be it for the elderly, those with physical illness or sufferers of depression and anxiety,” he said.
The program either visits patients individually or gets patients in a room to benefit from the affects in group form. But either way, Weissberger is also appreciative of what the field does for him as the deliverer of the therapeutics.  “I get to play music and that helps me connect very quickly with people and develop closer relationships with patients, he said as all awaited the music.
Standup comedian Christine O'Leary would do the honors of kicking things off soon after. “This crowd looks like J Crew and Rock n Roll had a baby, she joked to the audience’s approval.
They really got behind her estimation of a night out with no kids in sight. “No children allowed - isn't it wonderful how much fun we can have,” joked the Ridgefield comedian.
Giving way, Lawless took the stage and as John Bae waited his turn onstage as the Drummer for ONL, he acknowledged the good will of the guests and the volunteers who made the evening possible. The musicians, all the volunteers and the Harvey School who donated the space and produced the show, he said, “I am absolutely grateful.”
Even so, Lawless lead singer Jocelyn Gruber's lips were sealed as she opened the show with the Go-Go’s 80s hit, Our Lips are Sealed. Receptive on the dance floor, Allison Stockel didn’t hold back in high boots that would have given Nancy Sinatra a run for her money. “I think she would realize that these boots are not just made for walking but dancing too, said Stockel.
Northern Westchester Hospital CEO Joel Seligman gave it a go on the dance floor also, while recognizing the kinetics and connections created through music theory. “Music therapy can reenergize a person and link them back to who they are and who they were in better times, said Seligman.
Paul Shaffer saw the possibilities when his father suffered from Alzheimer's. “He loved music, and even though his memory was limited, he never forgot the great jazz vocalists from his youth, he said. “That made him happy and kept him going.”
The Late Show mainstay then did his turn at the mic after The Shaves had their say and topped the evening off by calling all the musicians to the stage to close with, With A Little Help from My Friends by the Beatles and Rock n Roll all Nightby Kiss.
A perfect send off, both songs summed up the evening and sent everyone home feeling the power of music and community.   

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