Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester


Michael Welling's Speech Honoring the Music Therapy Institute

 Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"It is truly an honor and privilege to be standing up here tonight. This is true for a number of reasons but at the top of that list is the fact that more than any other audience, all of you will fully understand and appreciate the impact and the role that music and more specifically the Music Therapy Institute has played in our lives. Full disclosure, neither myself nor my wife Susie have any musical talent. In fact, we rarely agree on the same music, Reggae being the one major exception. So this entire “Matthew experience” has been as surreal as you can imagine. After Matthew was discharged from his 143 day stay at Sloan Kettering, we knew we needed to do whatever we could to help Matthew catch up. Matthew was in preschool at the John A. Coleman school in White Plains and at that time our biggest concern was his inability to hold a spoon. We overheard another family talking about music therapy so we thought, “let’s let him play with some drum sticks and maracas to build up those fine motor skills.”  Well, little did we know that we were about to unleash the beast – and hopefully the source for funding Matthew’s college education.    

Tina Brescia and James Maxson joined "Team Matthew" 7 years ago when he was just 3 years old. Donald Stevens joined the team shortly thereafter. Collectively they have not only helped to shape Matthew the musician, but they helped shape Matthew the person.  Musical talent is one of the greatest forms of human expression, but being able to use music to help others learn to express themselves is one of the greatest forms of gift giving. The therapists from MTI give this gift every day. I have seen their impact on Matthew and on many, many of the other students at MTI, big and small, young and old, musically inclined and not. Through his years at MTI, Matthew has learned more than music. He has learned about cooperation, teamwork, adversity, anxiety, hard work, satisfaction and success. He has grown up, developed, matured – to a point – in their care. Without them, he would not be who he is today. But more significant than being his therapists, more significant than being his music teachers, they have become important and valuable members of Matthew’s life  - as his friends… and his band.  

"Through his years at MTI, Matthew has learned more than music. He has learned about cooperation, teamwork, adversity, anxiety, hard work, satisfaction and success."

Thanks to them, during his time in Music Therapy Matthew has achieved more then we could have ever imagined. In fact, just last year Matthew achieved more then we could have ever imagined. In February of 2015 Matthew debuted his first album in an 1 ½ hr concert in front of 150 people at the Conservatory. Susie and I thought “Wow, 9 years old and his own album debut concert.” We did not think it could get better than that. But we were wrong. In June Matthew performed his original hit “Sunshine” in front of a packed house at Radio City Music Hall during the Garden of Dreams talent show.   Susie and I thought “Wow! 9 years old, performing at Radio City.” We did not think it could get better than that. But we were wrong. In November Matthew again performed "Sunshine" to open the Premiere of the Radio City Christmas spectacular in November. We did not think it could get better than that. But we were wrong. Two weeks later in December Matthew performed during half time of a NY Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. We did not think it could get better than that. But we were wrong.  

Having Matthew here with us today. Healthy. Happy. Well adjusted. A quality human being who already understands giving back and bringing joy to others. That is better than all of that. And all of this is made possible, thanks to the support, love and tireless work by Tina, Lisa, Donald, James, Peter and all of the music therapists at MTI. Matthew is just one example, and I am not even sure he is the best example, of the impact of music therapy, the difference that can be made through music therapy, and the life changing and life long benefits of music therapy. And about that, we are not wrong.   We are trying to raise money for MTI scholarships to bring this type of support to other children and for the Veteran’s scholarship to help expand the “Healing Our Heroes” program. Every dollar helps. Every dollar makes a difference."

 

(above) Michael Welling cheering on his son Matthew at the Music Conservatory of Westchester's recent Golf & Tennis Classic honoring the Music Therapy Institute

(top) (L to R)  Susie, Matthew and Michael Welling are all smiles at the MCW's Golf & Tennis Classic, June 20th, 2016

Save
Comments
Post has no comments.
Post a Comment




Captcha Image

Trackback Link
http://www.musicconservatory.org/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=13693&PostID=635521&A=Trackback
Trackbacks
Post has no trackbacks.

Save