Maya recently spoke to an Italian writer about our upcoming event, Funtasia in the Village. After speaking with Maya she was inspired to write the following…
The first time Jonah heard “Peter and the Wolf”, in the early 90s, on a dusty record player that belonged to his grandparents, he became so passionate about the idea that every different instrument was like a character in itself and the music actually told a story, that he came up with his own version of the legendary Prokofiev’s “fable”. In the following days, Jonah became so connected to the concept behind the piece, that he hopped on the piano and decided to give each piano key a made-up character’s name. Born with Down Syndrome, Jonah was surrounded by musically gifted siblings and he didn’t want to feel left out, but he confidently approached music like a pro, playing, going to concerts, and even using his I-pod, later on in life, as a calming device, a safe space.
The connections between music and child development, their ability to manage emotions and the way it enriches their IQ are well documented. Music helps people suffering from physical disabilities and spasms or illnesses like Parkinson’s. It triggers endorphin’s and a concert immerses you in a state of active imagination, of “concrete escapism”, where you are not just leaving your body or your current circumstance for a while to replace life with a performance, but you’re intimately connected with it, with Life itself; while it’s a paradox, it’s a limitless feeling, one that often classical music captures, without words.
There aren’t many big city events that cater specifically to special needs children and bring out their unbridled passion for music. In a busy city like New York, in the heat of the summer, when everyone is away at camp, or on vacation, the city becomes a treasure map of hidden gems to discover. A sunny park, an old historical church in the Village, the part of town that speaks the most to artists.
John Pio and Kay Habana
In one of these beautiful city gems, an experience you don’t want to miss is “Funtasia” a concert for special needs children organized by Maya’s Hope. Maya’s Hope has been a thriving force in helping children with disabilities or in difficult socio-economical or psychological situations, orphans, impoverished children and it’s hosting a concert in Our Lady of Pompeii Church in the Village on August 12th from 7:30 to 9PM.
Children of all ages require healthcare, love and many kinds of financial and pragmatic support, but also the freedom to feel entertained, happy, inspired, to reach one of the highest points as human beings: absorbing and creating Art.
Gohei Nishikawa has a unique story himself, that the audience will relate to, having been diagnosed with dystonia, a neurological disorder that affects his movements and his hands, and after many struggles he was able to overcome his issues and keep playing for International audiences and well renown venues.
The wonderful setting of Our Lady of Pompeii NYC is like traveling back in time to 1892, when the parish was founded. Italian immigrants would find in this community a place to start a new life from scratch, imagining a better world for their children. On August 12th children and adults can breathe in this history, and they can feel welcomed into a symbolic harbor, of a melting pot of cultures, backgrounds and needs that ultimately becomes the promise of a better future thanks to music.
In the novel “Childhood’s End” Arthur C. Clarke imagines that a civilization of aliens visits Earth: the aspect that they find the most inexplicable is how and why millions of humans listen to a sequence of tones and notes, why they lose themselves and seemingly waste time in what we call music. They aliens even go to a concert, patiently waiting to understand its power but they can’t.
Music is inherently human, it comes out of us since childhood in the form of beats and rhythm, high-pitch and low-pitch sounds, it moves us and inspires our actions. It’s essential to children and adults. Maya’s Hope understands this and has created this unique event where everyone should go, with the goal to create even more bridges in the future between events like this, the city and International artists.