A Mission of Music and Healing

From the Top Alum and past Roving Reporter and violinist Caeli Smith just sent us another great update.

Caeli on From the Top. Photo credit: Stefan Cohen/WGBH

These days Caeli is studying at Juilliard and is a founding member of Rayos de Canción (Rays of Music), a group of students committed to raising awareness about the power of music to facilitate healing, especially in those with physical and neurological disabilities.

The group, comprised of four classical musicians and two dancers, will use current medical research on music therapy to collaborate with a hospital in Antigua, Guatemala, for one week (May 22-28, 2011). This hospital, Las Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro (Social Works of Brother Pedro), focuses on providing care and sustenance to poor people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

The facility depends on outside volunteers to come in and physically and emotionally engage the patients, and that’s where Rayos de Canción comes in. Because patients don’t have opportunities for musical interaction, Caeli and her group will introduce them to live classical music. The two dancers will facilitate exercises in rhythm and movement while the others perform. The main goal of Rayos de Canción is to inspire the professional staff to seek music therapy as a more permanent form of supplemental care.

Caeli will be doing a benefit recital to raise money for the trip on March 13, 2011 in Philadelphia. The concert will also feature pianist Tim Ribchester. More information here.

While Juilliard will supply a matching grant to help cover transportation, room and board, safety measures and supplies for the trip, Rayos de Canción still needs to raise a few thousand dollars.

Caeli wrote,

Even the smallest donation would be a huge help in making our trip a success, and would demonstrate to the Juilliard community and the community at Santo Hermano Pedro the wonderful support we have from our friends and family. Donations can be made online securely through Fractured Atlas, a non-profit organization that serves a national community of artists and arts organizations, at https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal/profile?id=4292

Please join us in wishing Caeli the best of luck! We will post an update about her trip once Rayos de Canción returns.