Founded in 2005, Feel the Music! grew out of our founder’s 9/11 volunteer work. During the 9/11 recovery, musician/singer-songwriter Valerie Ghent volunteered for eight months at the World Trade Center site, meeting 9/11 family members and hearing heart-breaking stories about their families and children.
Knowing first-hand the power of music to positively impact lives, Valerie met with musician friends, Arturo O’Farrill, Bashiri Johnson and Bar Scott, and with NYU Postdoc Director Lewis Aron, Ph.D., to discuss creating a program to bring music into the lives of 9/11 families. Working closely with Steven Knoblauch, Ph.D. and Spyros Orfanos, Ph.D., Valerie developed a grant proposal and in 2005, received funding from the American Red Cross to launch Feel the Music! (see Feel the Music! featured in 2006 Red Cross Annual Report, pp 24-25). Due to the tremendous success of Feel the Music! with 9/11 family members and the extended 9/11 community, Red Cross funding was renewed three years in a row.
Feel the Music!, incorporated as World Foundation for Music and Healing, received 501c3 nonprofit status in 2007.
Since our founding, Feel the Music! has brought music and art to the lives of hundreds of 9/11 families, members, WTC responders, survivors, witnesses and local schools. We provided interactive music and art workshops, classes, concerts, special events and retreats in partnership with Tuesday’s Children, 9/11 Families’ Association and the WTC Family Center; at WTC Responder Day, NYC public schools in Lower Manhattan and Project Common Bond (serving teens from around the globe who lost a family member from terrorism).
Building on our experiences and in response to demand for Feel the Music! at NYC hospitals and senior centers, we expanded our programming and now serve hospital-based program Kids Kicking Cancer at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, senior centers at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, VISIONS Center for the Blind, Project Find and intergenerational arts programs at Bailey’s Café.