The following was sent to Eye On Annapolis to highlight the notion that music (barbershop music in particular) does, in fact heal.
My sister is developmentally disabled and has spent most of the last 6+ years in some sort of hospital or rehab place due to numerous reasons. As a barbershop family we all learned many songs and Wendy was never an exception. Though her learning disability has prevented her from accomplishing many things we take for granted every day, she was able to learn melodies & words to songs that we sing frequently.
For the previous 7 weeks she was in a hospital and was not receiving the type of care necessary. Partially due to her inability to follow directions set forth by some care providers and partially due to our ‘system’ not having the knowledge in handling her disability. She was continuing to deteriorate physically and we feared she might die. Somehow her inner fortitude pushed through, along with our family nagging & writing letters to state officials, and she is now on her way to recovery again.
She was moved to a physical rehab facility this past Monday in Annapolis. My mom visited on Tuesday and asked me about the possibility of getting a local quartet to come sing for her. I contacted TJ Barranger, who I know directs The Sons of the Severn. He notified his chapter president who reached out and they made plans for a quartet to come sing for her on Thursday before rehearsal. Now this was awesome in and of itself; but it seems that they were having a ‘visitor’ that was extremely willing to participate in this non paying favor. So my sister was serenaded by TJ Barranger, David Bankard, Jeff Supko and Sean Devine*. Tell me how many organizations have leaders willing to be a part of day to day ‘good will’ activities like Sons of the Severn?
Most importantly is that during their singing to her, Wendy laughed, sang along and we were able to see the Wendy we knew was ‘in there’ that we haven’t seen for many years . And it was Barbershop Harmony that allowed this to happen! We had feared that “this” Wendy was gone for good–but not!
About Sean Divine, he’s an International Quartet Champion and a full-time fundraiser for the Harmony Foundation International. He was here on business and volunteered to come and do the sing-out for Wendy.