New concert series brings Music for the Veteransby Hot Off The Press (Release) on Aug. 14, 2012, under Press Releases
Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and Southern Arizona VA Health Care System present a free concert series for VA patients, beginning in August
Aug. 7, 2012 — As a nurse-turned-musician, Amber Norgaard believes music is a source of connection, transcending language and cultural barriers while fostering healing on a profound level.
Norgaard will therefore appropriately be one of the first musicians to perform at Music for the Veterans, a new concert series that hopes to introduce veterans with performers who see music as a form of healing art.
The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System will host free concerts for patients on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m., followed by a strolling performance to patient rooms.
“Playing music in the healthcare setting is healing and has been particularly effective in veteran hospitals,” Norgaard said. “‘Music therapy’ began after the first and second world wars when musicians would go to the veteran hospitals and play music for the veterans who were suffering both emotionally and physically from the wars.”
“The positive healing impact that these musicians had on the patients was very apparent, and the current practice of music therapy was founded from that.”
Presented by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and sponsored by the generous underwriting of Bill Adler, Music for the Veterans was designed to benefit patients, families, healthcare staff and local musicians.
“I used to volunteer at TMC in pediatrics to visit with the inpatient children and their families — playing music and strolling from room to room,” Norgaard said. “In addition to being therapeutic for the patients and families, one of the things we noticed was how it elevated moods and reduced stress in the hospital staff. It was a very cool experience.”
Growing up on an Iowa farm, Norgaard had a calling to be of service to others and see the world. After graduating from Creighton University School of Nursing she set off to do volunteer work in the Dominican Republic and then joined a volunteer corp for two years as a nurse in a migrant clinic in Oregon. Norgaard later worked as a community health nurse with the indigenous population of the southwestern Alaskan bush region for six years, where she discovered the power of music.
“When I worked as a registered nurse, I would often open up support groups and community education presentations through the use of music,” Norgaard said. “Using music in this way seemed to help open the people up to receive new information and express feelings on a deeper level.”
In 2004, Norgaard left her Alaskan lifestyle to pursue a musical dream. Since then the she has released two full-length albums and one acoustic EP. She was voted the 2007 Up & Coming Artist of the Year at the Tucson Area Music Awards (TAMMIES) and has received several honors from international songwriting competitions. She placed second out of nearly 100 bands at the 2007 Winery Music awards in Paso Robles, California.
This compassionate musician tours throughout the nation and has played at multiple pride festivals, street fairs, art fairs and charity events. She also presents at Creighton University on the topic of “Music as a Healing Art & Instrument for Social Change” and tours internationally using music to raise awareness against violence and sexual assault.
“Many studies have shown that certain types of music have a calming effect on human physiology,” Norgaard said. “When a person listens to music, it activates more areas in the brain than language.”
“In my experience of using music in the health care setting, the synergy of sound, pitch, melody, rhythm and words can open people to communicate beyond judgment, as well as help people to identify and communicate their emotions,” she added. “Emotions definitely relate to physiology, and true healing occurs when both of these realms are addressed.”
Music for the Veterans Performance Line-up
Aug. 7 – Arco, acoustic guitar and violin duo
Dale Clark of Arco has toured more than 23 western states, including Hawaii. Quite possibly, the most versatile musician you will ever hear, Clark is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and producer. He plays five-string acoustic and electric violin, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and sings. Although classically trained, Arco enjoys performing jazz, Latin, rock, blues, Celtic, country, bluegrass and originals.
Aug. 21 – Amber Norgaard, folk rock
During the six years Amber Norgaard worked in Alaska, she discovered music as a source of connection transcending language and cultural barriers while fostering healing on a profound level. In 2004, she left her Alaskan lifestyle to pursue a musical dream. Since then the nurse-turned-musician has released two full-length albums and one acoustic EP. She was voted the 2007 Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the Tucson Area Music Awards (TAMMIES) and has received several honors from international songwriting competitions. Norgaard placed second out of nearly 100 bands at the 2007 Winery Music awards in Paso Robles, Calif. She has toured throughout the nation and played at multiple pride festivals, street fairs, art fairs and charity events. Her ability to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds has brought her to present at Creighton University on the topic of “Music as a Healing Art & Instrument for Social Change,” and she tours internationally using music to raise awareness against violence and sexual assault.
Sept. 4 – Gabriel Ayala, guitarist
A member of the Yaqui people of Southern Arizona, guitarist Gabriel Ayala is at the forefront of a new generation of Native Americans making a career performing classical music. Ayala performs regularly throughout the United States and has appeared at the Poway Center for Performing Arts, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Museum for the American Indian and Oscar Meyer Theater in Madison, Wis. In 2010, he was honored to perform at the Musical Instrument Museum in a series called Guitar Masters. Not only is Ayala recognized locally and nationally, but he has been the featured performer at the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra Academica in Venezuela, with performances in Caracas, Guarenas, Guatire and on National Public Television throughout the country.
Sept. 18 – Heather O’Day, jazz vocal standards
Heather O’Day hails from Tucson and has brought her jazz quintet to venues throughout Southern Arizona since 2008. With decades of experience onstage, the ensemble members all have impressive careers in their own right. The group takes its cue from classic jazz stars like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, The Rat Pack, Dave Brubeck, Vince Guaraldi, Thelonious Monk and more. They feature a set list of the most beloved standards for vocals, piano, drums and bass, with a few unique surprises. This powerful singer’s four-octave vocal range adds flair and flavor to the warm sound, sure to make Heather O’Day and Friends a fixture.
Oct. 2 – Bunny Kirby, guitar and vocals
Bunny Kirby grew up with music surrounding her. By age 3, Bunny could hold the melody while the others in her family would sing harmony. She joined her first band at age 19 and found her niche in life. After working in a couple of other bands around her state, she was asked to go on the road with Sugarfoot, then on to a long musical relationship with Don Formanek and a band called Burbank Station, recording songs in several studios in Nashville that charted on the Indie charts. Kirby moved to Tucson in 1991 and has worked with several bands including Midnight Rodeo and Girls With Guitars, a group that included Sabra Faulk and Gillian DeLear winning a Tucson Area Music Award in 1995 for Best Country Group. For the last eight years, she has been writing her own material and performing locally. Her focus has been on crafting songs that celebrate life and love.
Oct. 16 – Little House of Funk, R&B, jazz and soul
Little House of Funk brings a high-spirited, semi-acoustic blend of cactus country soul, blues and jazz to the Old Pueblo. Members include James Anderson on saxophone, banjo, keyboards and melodica; Connie Brannock on vocals and cajon; and Michael Polletta on guitar. The group opens up the door to their quirky house of musical fun and welcomes you in for some banjo funk, cajon-stoppin’ soul and jumpin’ blues guitar for a jolt of joy that will get you up on your feet.
Nov. 6 – Jimmy & The Jitterbugs, jazz swing standards
Jimmy and the Jitterbugs is a jazz swing band playing the favorite standard tunes, ballads, bossas and blues. They have performed in various outdoor jazz festivals in Tucson and Southern Arizona, as well as an event in Baja, California. The band is made up of Jimmy Bergman on guitar, Aurora Bergman on piano, Jos Villabrille on vocals, Gregg Orr on trumpet, David Coffman on bass and Bud Davis on drums. In true jazz form, it is not uncommon to find other local jazz musicians “sitting-in.”
Nov. 20 – Reno del Mar, Latin acoustic duo
Phil Lipman and Mark Wilsey have been playing music together for more than 30 years, growing up in Edison Township, New Jersey. After obtaining music degrees, they formed Reno del Mar, a dynamic instrumental ensemble performing beautiful, original guitar music. Their wide-range of styles include Latin jazz, adult contemporary, Spanish, Western swing, tango, gypsy, flamenco, Mexican, bebop and blues. The influences of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Django Rheinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, Ry Cooder, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Duke Ellington, Bob Wills and others permeate Reno del Mar’s compositions and playing styles. Lipman plays an acoustic steel string, while Wilsey plays an acoustic nylon string, Spanish style guitar.
Music for the Veterans
When: First and third Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, 3601 South 6th Avenue
Cost: Free for VA patients
Phone: (520) 797-3959
NOTE TO MEDIA: Photos available
About the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliancealso promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for both the young and the old.
The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) grew out of the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council (GOVAC), an organization established in 1997 to provide artistic and cultural opportunities for residents of northwestTucson. GOVAC eventually became one of the largest arts organizations in the region. In 2009, owing to its success, the group expanded its mission to include creation of partnerships with business, governments, and communities throughoutSouthern Arizona that would encourage innovative, creative cultural expression in the arts for years to come.
For more information about programs and events produced by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, go to www.saaca.org.