Annual Appeal Letter
November 1, 2017
This holiday letter is one I write with such a feeling of joy and gratitude. Your support of Concerts in Motion over the years has allowed us to reach thousands of isolated New York City residents with the music they love.
Concerts in Motion brings so much joy to the community because our mission is a win-win for everyone involved. Our students and professional musicians often tell us that playing in the outreach is so meaningful it reminds them why they decided to play music. Likewise, our recipients tell us how deeply grateful they are that we took the time to visit and bring them "their" music.
We had many new initiatives this year including reaching psychiatric hospitals, as well as working with underserved middle school students who participated in intergenerational concerts for their own communities.
Music is a powerful tool that can transform lives. We feel so fortunate for your support every year in order to fulfill this important mission in our community.
We will present 1,200 concerts in 2018. Some days we are presenting many concerts at the same hour in multiple boroughs. You can see our calendar of concerts in real time from our website www.concertsinmotion.org. I am also including with this letter a summary of what we accomplished this past year and some charts that will give you a sense of our trajectory. Once again thank you for considering giving to Concerts in Motion generously this year. Just by giving, you will make a difference that will transform someone's life. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!
Concerts in Motion - Summary of Activities and Impact, 2017
Concerts in Motion is continuing to grow in exciting ways. By the end of 2017 we will have reached over 20,000 people with 1,200 concerts, up from 812 concerts reaching 16,000 people just last year. Music for the Homebound, in many ways our organization's signature program, represents 32% of our program activity, and the private pay Music at Home Subscriber series represents another 19% of our overall activity. The subscriber series is a wonderful way to bring private, in-home concerts to the same individual on a regular basis, and support from the Eugene M. Lang fund is making it possible for us to bring regular, weekly concerts to individuals who cannot afford the private pay option, as well.
Many of our concert recipients are living in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs). We are also continuing to reach people in hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, and assisted living facilities. As always, our dedicated musicians are able to tailor the concerts so that they are bringing the individuals' most beloved music. We are continuing to diversify our musician roster so that we are able to meet the demand from our partner agencies for a wide range of music genres. This year 3% of our concerts were traditional Chinese music, 11% were Latin music, 6% were Klezmer or other Jewish music, and of course we continued to provide classical, rock, Jazz, Motown, Broadway standards, bluegrass and folk, and other genres. We are grateful to be able to reach the city's many communities with the music they love most, performed by musicians with whom they feel a strong connection.
Over the past year, Concerts in Motion has had a strong and positive impact in six key areas:
Reaching isolated and previously unresponsive individuals. As always, concert recipients and their caregivers report significant impact from our visits. Recipients say, "You can't know what a difference you've made for me" and "Thank you so much for this, you took away my pain." One family member recently told us, "I happened to call my dad moments after the concert. He described it as 'intoxicating' and 'more than magnificent.' It was wonderful to hear him so happy and excited and lucid." We hear stories of concert recipients spontaneously singing along or clapping and communicating their appreciation through eye contact or touch when they are unable to speak. When our musicians have the opportunity to visit an individual over time, the change that they witness can be quite moving. "We've seen Mr. J really blossom since our first visit with him a year ago," one of our musicians told us. "He jokes with us and has asked us to print the lyrics to a few songs so he can learn them. A far cry from Mr. J from a year ago who hadn't spoken in 10 years!"
Offering interactive concerts for people with disabilities. We have continued to refine the format of our interactive concerts for people with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities, and staff tell us that our monthly concerts at United Cerebral Palsy Tanya Towers are a highlight for their clients: "[The Concerts in Motion musicians] know just the right tone to set and are able to engage our folks." We have expanded this program so that we are also reaching patients at Gracie Square Hospital, and a staff member commented after one visit, "Thirty patients forgot for an hour that they were in a hospital setting. Your concerts are a huge gift for the population that we serve." As well, we have continued our work with Bronxwood Assisted Living and with the Manhattan, Brooklyn, St. Albans, and Bronx VA hospitals.
Providing valuable service opportunities for youth. Our youth program continues to thrive. This year we again increased the number of private, in-home concerts presented by youth: we are now reaching six homebound individuals weekly with concerts of up to four youth performers. We have also been able to diversify the youth program by working with middle school students attending Goddard Riverside's Beacon Program and MS188 the Island School, and students residing at Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center. Our goal is to make our youth program accessible to interested, caring young musicians whether or not they have the resources to take formal music lessons. Youth who stay with us through their high school years are able to take part in the High School Leaders program, which in addition to performing and encouraging their peers to volunteer, also gives these older students an opportunity to guide and support middle school students through the process of performing for homebound individuals.
Fostering intergenerational collaboration. Concerts in Motion's Intergenerational Variety Shows bring youth and older musicians together to perform joint concerts for the benefit of all. These sometimes include original compositions and an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the performers. The shows are always lively and festive and the younger and older participants love the opportunity to applaud and learn from each other.
Providing meaningful opportunities for the professional musicians who perform with Concerts in Motion. The professional musicians who perform with Concerts in Motion tell us how much they get out of the experience. As one musician put it after playing for a homebound individual, "I have never felt better about being a musician!" The chance to connect with people through music is what performing with Concerts in Motion is all about, and the concert recipients can feel this dedication. A recipient said after one of our group concerts, "You can see they are playing from their heart."
Partnering with service agencies. We continue to partner with over 80 service agencies throughout the city that share our goal of improving the lives of isolated New Yorkers. This year we have devoted significant time to partnering with agencies serving older adults who are frail, homebound, and living in some of the city's lowest-income neighborhoods. CiM works to form strong alliances with all of our partner agencies so that we may work closely together for the benefit of each recipient. We regularly receive feedback from our agency partners letting us know that our concerts not only met but often exceeded their expectations.