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“Waiting for the Call” – Chuck’s Story

*In accordance with HIPAA, and out of respect for our client’s privacy, the name “Chuck” will be used as an alias throughout this blog post.
Photo and Video are used with permission from “Chuck” and his daughter.*

The word “hospice” often carries with it a heavy weight, evoking thoughts of death and the unknown. And while it is true that hospice care is provided in the final stages of life, hospice is a philosophy that strives to provide comfort, peace, and improved quality of life. In this context, Music Therapy can offer a safe, non-threatening medium for coping and self-expression, can alleviate pain, can provide valuable (and fun!) social opportunities, and can elicit cherished memories of the past, even while creating fond new memories. At Metro Music Therapy, we are honored to partner with Wellspring International for the Songs of Hope project, providing Hospice Music Therapy services (among other services) to our clients in the Atlanta area.

And after hearing a song like Chuck’s, I realize the name “Songs of Hope” couldn’t be more fitting!

As a Music Therapist, it’s always a joy getting to work with a client who shares a passion for music. When I first met Chuck and saw his impressive array of instruments – including guitar, mandolin, and bass guitar – I knew we were in for a fun time! Chuck has lived an especially musical life, traveling the country with a bluegrass gospel band. As we began talking, Chuck told me with excitement about the many large “Gospel Singings” that he’s helped to lead in his travels. In one session, Chuck stated, “It would be my pride and joy to lead one more big singing!” So that’s exactly what we did!

Over several weeks, we put together a set-list of some of Chuck’s favorite gospel tunes and hymns, creating songbooks for guests to sing along with, and practicing with one of Chuck’s friends (another talented musician who joined our group to play piano at the big event). In the course of all this, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the faith, joy, and optimism that Chuck brings to everyone around him, and the peace to which he has already come regarding his current stage of life. For example, each time we sing “I’ll Fly Away”, Chuck insists that we change the lyrics of the final verse to “Just a few more happy [rather than “weary”] days, and then I’ll fly away.” More humbling still is Chuck’s goal for the event: “I want to share the message of these songs with as many people as want to come. That’s the best part.”

The final song on our set-list is my favorite, and one of Chuck’s very own composition – a song that he introduced to me on the first day we met! And goodness, is it catchy!
Take a listen below, and I guarantee you’ll be humming along.

 

“Waiting For the Call” became the anthem of our “Gospel Jubilee” event in the atrium of Chuck’s residential facility. It was such a powerful – and flat-out fun – moment, seeing Chuck stand before other residents, staff, friends, and family to lead us all in this uplifting tune! To hear Chuck sing with a smile on his face, “By faith I’m looking upward, just waiting for the call,” is a testament to his deep faith, and his peaceful expectation of what’s to come. It puts into words the joy that he carries with him, and that he gladly shares with others.
It is, without a doubt, a Song of Hope.

2017-11-17T17:09:44+00:00November 17th, 2017|Blog, Hospice Music Therapy, Music Therapy|

Happy Anniversary, Metro Music Therapy!

It was a lovely October night as our team enjoyed delicious Italian food, indulged in musically decorated cookies, and divvied up a large cake in the shape of the number 10. Why, you may be wondering, did we become temporary gluttons? To celebrate 10 years of Metro Music Therapy, of course! Most of us have only had the privilege of working or interning with MMT for a few months out of those 10 years, and even we were getting teary-eyed seeing all of our colleagues and community partners together, hearing stories of how Metro Music Therapy has impacted the Atlanta area in profound ways. Speakers from organizations including The Alchemy Sky Foundation, Neuro Community Care, Wellspring International, Northside Hospital, Helping Mamas, and Life’s End Logistics each shared their unique and moving experiences of partnering with Metro Music Therapy, and more specifically, with our fearless leader: owner and director, Mallory Even. If that night was special for us, it’s safe to say that we can’t imagine how meaningful it must have been for the woman who started it all. So we’ll let her do the talking!

Mallory,

How did it feel seeing family, friends, partners, colleagues, employees and interns all together in one room? What was it like to know they were all there to celebrate something you started?
    The phrase ‘an embarrassment of riches’ comes to mind. It was a humbling, joyful experience to see people that have supported me and Metro Music Therapy’s mission from the very beginning, be in the same room to celebrate 10 years of heartfelt, raw work. I keep picturing all of the beautiful faces that filled the room that night, and can feel nothing but gratitude for having each of them as a part of my story and my song.

When you first began Metro Music Therapy, what did you imagine it might look like in 10 years? Looking back, how has it been different than you expected?
To be honest, back then I didn’t know that Metro Music Therapy had a future that would last 10 years! We started in such a humble way, with only me traveling to people’s homes providing music therapy services and music lessons, and I wasn’t looking forward – I was just living in the moment. Looking back on that now, I wish I would have had better insight as to where this journey was going to take me, but I think there’s something beautiful in the not knowing. I often tell people I did not grow this company, but this company grew me. I was along for the ride, and what a beautiful ride it has been so far!

What is one of your favorite (proudest, funniest, most rewarding) memories from the past 10 years?
“Wow, this is very difficult to narrow down! I’ve been grateful for each and every day that I’ve had with Metro music therapy, but I think one of the ones that stands out the most is the day that we signed a contract to be in partnership with Wellspring International. For a big part of my life, I’ve been a supporter and follower of RZIM and the ministries within and supported by their organization. To be able to be a part of their mission by bringing music therapy services to those who would not ordinarily be able to participate in such services, has impacted me in such a deep and meaningful way. Creating the Songs of Hope program, which is fully funded by Wellspring, has caused me to pause several times in order to just be able to wrap my head around where MMT has come over the past 10 years. I feel lucky and blessed that this is my job!”

If you could give one piece of advice to music therapists beginning their own private practices, or small business owners who are wondering how to make it 10 years –  what would it be?
Have vision for the future, but remember to take each day as it comes. Celebrate the highs, grieve the lows and learn from them. Surround yourself with amazingly loving and supportive people. And most importantly, never forget why you chose this field in the first place.

Mallory, we are all so proud of you, and humbled to be a part of your journey! It is an honor to be named among the ranks of such a special company, bringing joy and healing through music.
To you, and to everyone who has been a part of Metro Music Therapy – employees, clients, families, friends, partners, encouragers: thank you for 10 amazing years, and here’s to many more!


Written by Kevin Middlebrooks, LPMT, MT-BC

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