Americans for the Arts

Daniel and Brian

Americans for the Arts performance

I was asked to speak on a panel at the 2012 Americans for the Arts Convention in San Antonio, TX June 8. They wanted for me to share a patient story and how Music Therapy was involved in creating a “new normal”. I immediately thought of a former patient and now friend, Daniel Stover, who you can read more about at the One-Handed Woodwinds Program on the link below. In July 2008, just days before his twenty-eighth birthday, Daniel experienced a severe hemorrhagic stroke leaving him with hemiplegia on his left side. Due to this weakness, he lost his ability to play any of his instruments. Everything he had spent 17 years of his life working towards was taken away from him over night. Prior to his stroke, Daniel taught clarinet and saxophone private lessons in several north Houston school districts, performed in pit orchestras for musicals, and was in demand as a clarinetist for chamber music concerts.After winning a battle with Lymphoma, and beating the two-month prognosis, Daniel returned to teaching in a somewhat reduced capacity in October 2009. In the search for a means to make music again with this newly acquired handicap, Daniel has had his Selmer Mark VII alto sax converted to the toggle-key mechanism by Jeff Stelling of Stelling Brass and Winds.

Our topic at the convention was ART IN HEALING: Learn how innovations and shifting attitudes toward the arts in healing are helping patients. Whether individuals are returning from war or victims of crimes or accidents, the arts can help patients address these traumas, work through them in therapy, and enable them to come to terms with the changes in their lives. Be inspired by stories of how the arts give voice to the experience of trauma and support the healing process.

Daniel is the perfect example of someone who received Music Therapy in the acute stages of the rehabilitation process and who has created a “new normal” life. This is a picture of Daniel and his partner Brian Schellberg performing a saxophone duet for the first time with a full live audience. He is getting to do again what he was made to do. Daniel is on his way to be a performing artist and teacher once again. He has overcome the odds and I want the world to see that it is possible to have your life back even after traumatic events try to destroy it.
I am so thankful to be a part of this man’s journey of recovery. Thank you Daniel for being a fighter and keeping the music alive inside you.

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