Musicians raising funds to help kids who stutter enjoy summer camp
In addition to its social benefits, music not only “has charms to sooth a savage breast,” as the playwright William Congreve observed in the early 1700s, it also, researchers are finding, appears to have a number of other physical, cognitive and health benefits. The special combination of left-brain and right-brain activity that we undergo when we not only listen to but perform music is apparently a general tonic for the mind. Music therapy is now a recognized treatment regimen, which, according to the website www.musicheals.ca, can help to “maintain and restore mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.”
One of the conditions that music can help a lot with is stuttering, which can be a socially debilitating condition, particularly for older children and teens who are at a crucial point of their lives in terms of developing social skills and bonds. It’s hard enough for boys and girls to learn how to express romantic interest, to integrate into groups, etc., without the added complication of not being able to effectively communicate because of the stuttering handicap.
But as songwriter Pete Otis discovered for himself as a teen who was plagued by the malady, “as I got into music I realized that I never stuttered when I was singing.”
That realization was a key point in overcoming the problem, he told me recently, as it demonstrated to him that the phenomenon was not beyond his control and helped inspire him to believe that he could overcome it once and for all. Which, as is obvious to anyone who’s heard him speak publicly, as he did so eloquently last week at the Honouring Our Own tribute concert he put on for Jay Douglas, for example, he most certainly did.
Earlier this year Otis decided that it was time to make good on “a promise to God” that he made as he struggled with the affliction “to do something worthwhile with my life if God would help me to overcome it,” he related.
The result is a concert taking place tonight at Black Swan Tavern at 154 Danforth Ave. that will raise funds to help send two kids who stutter to a special “Laughter’s Voice” camp being organized for children who are affected by the dysfunction. In conjunction with the Canadian Stuttering Association, Otis’s SongTown music enterprise has organized a show featuring several talented musicians (including, of course Otis himself) as well as two comedy acts put on by people who stutter.
Based on an existing camp in B.C., the Laughter’s Voice to be held at a facility in Mansfield, Ontario, will offer kids who stutter the opportunity to engage in the usual activities summer camps offer (swimming, hiking, archery, horseback riding, crafts and drama) but from which many are self-excluded because of their social disability. There will also be speech therapists involved and the kids will be encouraged to open up about their experiences and come to realize both that they are not alone and that it can be vanquished.
Otis has also been inspired by involvement in the project to write a new song, which he actually debuted with the talented house band at last week’s HOO concert. “Nervous” is a universally accessible tune about being tongue-tied talking to someone you desire romantically —something I’m sure just about everyone can relate to— but the phrase “n-n-n-n-nervous” that’s repeated in the chorus will have special resonance for anyone who’s ever had stammering issues.
Other musical artists on the bill include Juno winner Cathy Young, Harpin’ Norm Lucien; Darwin Bruce; James Sloan; Roger Zuraw; King Fabuloso and Bela Ray. The show gets underway at 7 and admission at the door is $20, however if you act quickly you can probably still purchase advance tickets at www.songwtown.ca for just $15.
-Gary 17, www.torontomoon.ca
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11:30 a.m. – midnight> Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival at various venues with various artists, Orangeville
*Noon> free Jazz show @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
*4-6> Hogtown Syncopators @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
*5-8> Kensington Kitchen Party with host Kevin Jollimore of Sin City Boys & guest musicians @ Graffiti’s, 170 Baldwin St., TO ~Pop Rock with heart
*5-7> open mic with The Foolish Things @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO ~original Pop
*5-7> Ronnie Hayward Trio @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E.. TO E. ~Blues/Roots
5-8> Felix Wong Jazz Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West
5:30> Rick & Gailie @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
6-9> Sandie Marie & Under The Bus featuring Kevin Jeffrey on bass @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave., TO ~Roots-Pop
6> David Celia @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO ~Rootsy indie Pop Rock
6:30> The Jive Bombers @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
7> SongTown presents Laughter’s Voice fundraiser for Canadian Stuttering Association with Pete Otis; Cathy Young; Harpin’ Norm Lucien; Darwin Bruce; James Sloan; Roger Zuraw; King Fabuloso; Bela Ray; 2 comedy acts; more @ Black Swan, 154 Danforth Ave., TO East ~variety; $20
7-11:45> Michael White & The White cover Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin 4 + highlights of CODA @ Opera House, 735 Queen St. E., TO East ~tribute; $
7:30> “Orange Is The New Burgundy” @ Tranzac Club (Main Hall), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO ~theatre
8-11> Mark Yan & Barry Mulcahy @ Silvercreek Bistro, 112 Main St., Georgetown ~Pop Rock
8-12> Tommy Rocker’s Classic Rock Show @ Centro Pizza, 3406 Kingston Rd., Scarborough
8> Patrick Brealey @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen Street West, TO
8-12> Chihiro Nagamatsu @ Free Times Café, 320 College St., TO ~piano solo; $5
8-12> Chris Smith @ Ember Hot Stove, 3039 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Etobicoke South ~acoustic Pop Rock
8-1> karaoke @ RCL #312, 112 Hunt St., Ajax
8> The Wanted @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville ~Country with a twist; $7
8:30> Howard Ross & Full Count Blues Band with special guest Pat Carey on sax @ Lake Simcoe Arms, 21089 Dalton Rd., Jacksons Point ~Blues
8:30> Skydiggers (1st of 2 nights) @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~$32/-
8:30> Matt Storch & The Usual Suspects @ Cork Hall, 352 King St. W., Kitchener ~Funk/R&B
9> Sean Bourke Band @ Linsmore Tavern, 1298 Danforth Ave., TO East ~original Roots-Rock
9> Still Sunday @ Smiling Jack’s, 3482 Lawrence Ave., E., Scarborough ~Rock/Blues/Pop
9> Enzo & The Surf Riders featuring George Baumann on sax @ Blue Goose Tavern, 1 Blue Goose Rd., Etobicoke South ~Surf Pop
9> Shawn Brady & Hervé Basset @ The Irish Embassy, 49 Yonge St., TO ~Pop Rock
9-1> Tevlin Swing Band @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Swing Jazz
9> Elana Hart @ Eton House, 710 Danforth Ave., TO East ~indie Roots-Pop
9-1> Robin Hawkins & The Royals @ Monarchs Pub in Eaton Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerrard St. W., TO ~Rockabilly
*9-1> Frank Cosentino Band @ Karla’s Roadhouse, 4630 Kingston Rd., Scarborough ~rockin’ Blues
9-1> Express & Co. @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO W.
9-1> The Nomads @ Legends On The Queensway, 1184 The Queensway, Etobicoke South ~Pop Rock; $5
9-1> tba @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St., Oshawa
9> Moonshine Country Band @ The Corral, 433 Simcoe St. S., Oshawa ~Country
9-1> North Of 49 @ Oscar’s Roadhouse, 1785 Queen St. E., Bramp. ~Top 40/Rock
9:30> Phil & John Plugged In feat. Phil Naro @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line, Etob. S. ~Pop Rock/Top 40
9:30> Yankee Rose @ Seven44, 744 Mount Pleasant Blvd., TO North ~Van Halen tribute
9:30> Yeah Yeah Yeah @ Stone Cottage Pub, 3750 Kingston Rd., Scarborough ~Beatles tribute
9:30> Itchy & Scratchy @ Jake’s Boathouse Brampton, 59 First Gulf Rd., Brampton ~Pop Rock
9:30> jam hosted by Tim Park with Kimberley Wetmore Band featuring Dave Girdlestone of Soul Funkshun @ Gator Ted’s, 1505 Guelph Line, Burlington
9:30> Wizened @ Black Swan Pub Burlington, 4040 Palladium Way, Burlington
9:30> Chadley Chase @ Gladstone Tavern, 1385 Main St. E., Hamilton
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9:45> Ted Warren Commission @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
9:45> The Dirty Martinis feat. May Mckay @ Reservoir Lounge, 52 Wellington St. E., TO ~Jazz/Blues
10-2> Bad To The Bone @ Southside Johnny’s, 3653 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Etobicoke South ~George Thorogood tribute
10> Rockin’ A Hard Place feat. Andrew J. Walsh & James Alcock @ The Ridge, 776 Liverpool Rd., Pickering ~classic Rock
10> David Bacha Band @ The Wee Pub, 361 Wilson Rd. S., Oshawa, ~Cleveland-style Rockin’ Blues originals & covers
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10> Kayla Howran @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen Street West, TO
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10-2> The Material Men @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~80s tribute
10> Nika Klimash; Fire Flower Revue @ The Red Garnet, 231 Hunter St. W., Peterborough ~
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10:30> Alun Piggins & The Quitters @ The Press Club, 850 Dundas St. W., TO ~Root-Pop
10:30> Last Exit @ The Dickens, 423 Elizabeth St., Burlington ~Pop Rock
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