When 20-year-old Megan McNeil recorded her song The Will to Survive, she left a legacy for her friends and family to enjoy. In fact, she’s left a legacy that the entire world can enjoy, due to success of the single online.
And part of that legacy is thanks to music therapy programs, which work with children who are in treatment at BC Children’s Hospital.
But that’s just one of the many good things that come from music therapy, says Susan Summers.
She’s a music therapist, a teacher at Capilano Universtiry, and the president of the Music Therapy Association of B.C. Summers was also a special guest at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa when the Music Therapy Ride rolled into town on Sunday.
Music therapy can be a life saver, she said, and therapists in the field are fully armed with an impressive 15-plus years of education.
One of Summers’ patients was an elderly woman who had suffered a stroke in the left side of her brain — the side that affects language.
“But music is in the whole brain,” she told the crowd of about 175 bikers, musicians and media types.
All her patient could manage to say was “da da da da da,” she explained. And judging by her age, she chose the Beatles song Let it Be.
She began singing it to her, and by the time she was into the third line, the patient was singing right alongside Summers.
It was a touching story, to end a day of entertainment that included a visit from Shannon Tweed and her children Sophie and Nick Simmons. Also among the crowd was Jackson Davies, who many people will remember from his role as John Constable in The Beachcombers.
Davies has ridden in all 11 of the Music Therapy Rides, which normally travels from Vancouver to Whistler. The ride will help pay for mobile recording units that can travel bed to bed at BC Childrens Hospital, allowing them to record music and receive therapy. Tens of thousands of dollars was raised through an auction, which included items such a guitars signed by Feist, Tragically Hip and City and Colour.
The day was topped off with a performance by 54-40, who played acoustic versions of about five of their most popular songs, including Ocean Pearl, I Go Blind and Lies to Me.