The Birth Of The Beat Of Life
As with most non-profit enterprises, The Beat of Life was born out of seeing a great need that was not being met. It was first birthed in my mind after one of the music programs which I had created and directed for a social service organization here in Nashville was cut due to a lack of funds to continue it – a common occurrence these days, as the arts in general get less and less priority in our world full of overwhelmed budgets, where mere survival becomes the bottom line. And yet, ironically, it is during the very times such as these that we need the undeniable healing, hope, and life that music carries for the soul perhaps more than ever before. I’d seen the same happen back in San Diego, and so this time, time #2, I’d had enough.
And by now, I had been a firsthand witness to that undeniable power that music has on the human spirit time and time again, in all of the challenged populations I had run music programs for. I had seen orphaned teens pull out of despair and find a will to live again; Alzheimer’s patients, who couldn’t even remember their names, sing every single word to “You Are My Sunshine”; children with Down Syndrome who never spoke a word joyfully beat a drum in perfect rhythm. I had seen a band made up of all blind band members play flawlessly together; an inmate develop a repentant heart and find redemption through the ministry of music; and a man with terminal cancer, who had never written lyrics before, somehow become empowered within to compose an indescribably moving song for his wife to express his gratitude for the love they had shared together. I had seen music transcend all human boundaries, all human circumstances, and all human hearts.
And I became convinced that music is so much more than just an awesome form of entertainment, though it most definitely is that… but music also has the ability to powerfully transform and even save lives.
So I began to meet with the heads and executives of scores of agencies and facilities in Nashville, quickly learning that virtually NONE of them had any substantial funds for music programs, though every one of them agreed with the potentially extraordinary benefits of bringing music to the people they serve.
I was blown away. But we are Nashville… We are Music City, I thought. There’s something wrong with this. I reflected upon Nashville’s literally immeasurable wealth of talent and musical resources literally bursting out of our city. And I also began to think about the unbelievable outpouring of generosity of all of that talent, and all of those resources, that I had seen so beautifully throughout the past programs I had run, when I had needed to draw upon them. I remembered a huge community more than willing and wanting, even, to lend their time, energy, special skills, talents, resources, and even money… whatever they had to give. And I concluded in my mind that we live in a city of not only limitless talent and resources, but of limitless heart.
And so, this is when the vision was born: to start a non-profit designed to provide music programs to human/social service organizations and populations in need throughout Nashville that cannot otherwise afford it… through a mobilizing and bringing together and utilizing of all the talent and resources we have right here in this awesome city of Nashville. And I had a suspicion that it just might benefit our music community as well in a perhaps surprising but tremendous way.
Nashville is commonly known to be a town of collaborators. Very rarely do songwriters even work alone. We all work together to create the magic in this city. What better collaborative effort than the ultimate of collaborations… creating a city-wide partnership designed to be able to serve the needy, hurting, and challenged populations right here amongst us… and by doing exactly what we do best here in Nashville.
Welcome to The Beat of Life.