Most definitely not a viola joke

It’s not often a story this inspiring comes out of our business:

Many people speak about the healing power of music, and I was lucky enough to be able to experience the truth of the idea. In the summer of 2013, I traveled with my now-wife then co-dreamer Lauren to the Middle East to bring music to refugees. We called our project Music Heals Us and raised over $7,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to fulfill our mission statement: we have a moral obligation to provide a voice for the unheard children. We present our expression through our music as an example to them. And through our interactions, we establish relationships to show that community extends beyond racial, cultural, and geographic barriers.

We spent seven weeks traveling to different cities throughout Jordan and the West Bank. Our first workshop took place at a summer camp for Palestinian refugee children located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Our workshops consisted of three main parts: introductions, group building musical activities, and a performance at the end. It really amazed me how much vitality these children had. They ranged in age from 8 to 16 years old, but they all seemed uninhibited in their expression and happy to be inclusive of one another and of us. That day happened to be my birthday and after Lauren informed them, they treated ME to some beautiful birthday music. I thought we were bringing music and joy to them but they definitely brought some to us as well.

If you ever wonder (as I sometimes do) if how we make our livings can have a real impact on peoples’ lives, this story should reassure you. The fact that this program was put together by someone who, as a member of the Chicago Symphony, has one of the best-paying and most secure jobs in the history of music is simply added inspiration.

(h/t to Norman Lebrecht for the link)

— Robert Levine

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