Music therapy heals the soul

Bikers riding to Harrison to fund Band Wagons at Childrens Hospital

Music therapy can be a powerful thing, whether it’s offered to an older patient recovering from a stroke, or a young patient being struggling through cancer treatment.

But it’s a therapy that doesn’t always receive the funding it deserves, says Patrick Zulinov, co-chair and one of the founders of the Music Therapy Ride.

“Music affects us in many ways and it’s not to be taken for granted,” he said in a phone interview this week. On Saturday, he will be part of the motorcycle and car convoy that travels from the Fraser Downs Racetrack to Harrison Hot Springs. About 100 riders will take part, and ride culminates with an intimate concert at Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa, by Canadian rockers 54-40.

It’s an impressive ride, with complete presidential escort by the Vancouver Police Department Motorcycle Drill Team. That keeps them from having to stop at lights and other traffic woes. But it’s really the music therapy that is the driving force of Zulinov’s committee.

“A bunch of us in the music industry and media realized music therapy was not getting the funding it deserves,” he says. Eleven years later, they have raised more than $500,000 for programming that helps heal the soul, while doctors heal the patient.

They are currently working on creating Band Wagons — mobile units that go from hospital bed to hospital bed at BC Childrens Hospital.

Patients can learn about producing music, play the keyboard, or even record songs.

“This goes beyond giving them drugs, and is helping them heal from whatever tragedies they’re dealing with,” Zulinov. “It can get their minds off what they’re going through.”

The ride has been a popular cause for those in the music industry, and has drawn support from the likes of Nickelback, Jann Arden, Chantal Kreviazuk,  Default and Colin James.

This year, coming along with 54-40, are rock royalty Nick and Sophie Simmons, and their mom Shannon Tweed.

As the Music Therapy Ride moves through Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs, roads will be briefly closed. To learn more about the ride, visit www.musictherapyride.org.