Enter Gary Antol, guitarist for bluegrass band The Weedrags from Washington, PA, who also works at Larry’s Music Center and knows Summer’s mother Christie Wilkinson. Antol jumped at the chance to help out. “I asked my boss to donate a few things and after hearing about Summer, he decided to donate the whole kit! At Larry's Music, we believe that music has the power to transform lives and we're happy to help provide an interested child with the opportunity to get involved with music. On my own personal note, Aspergers is something that is close to me because of my nephew. As a peformer and educator I believe that the skills needed to be a musician help children in all aspects of learning. I also believe that music is therapy for many behavioral problems and that it is an avenue that should be further explored as a treatment option,” Antol added.
Asperger’s Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder that many people consider a higher functioning form of autism. It’s symptoms include difficulty interacting in social situations and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. According to Wilkinson, “I watch her struggle every day and it has really been taking a toll on us lately. She says that it feels like she has a tornado in her brain and the only time that it stops is when she listens to music." "People have been joking that I will need ear plugs after she gets a drum kit but I think hearing any drum beat is better than hearing a little girl cry out of frustration all day. Doctors push me to medicate her but I'm going to stick to music and love as her therapy,” Wilkinson added.
After presenting the kit to Summer, Sem will be working on the next project. “We have a little boy in Cameron, WV that suffers from a similar condition and we already have a kit to start getting ready, and we’re talking about starting a non-profit to bring awareness to music therapy as a possible answer to these disorders – but the child doesn’t have to have health or mental issues – we’d love to help any child that has the will to learn. Music is very powerful stuff, and helping to get more instruments into the hands of the youth HAS to be a good thing! The world needs as many Soul Ninjas it can get.”
WHAT: Presentation of drum kit to Summer, a nine year old girl with Asperger's Syndrome.
WHERE: Larrys Music Center - 211 S Vine St #101, Carmichaels, PA 15320
WHEN: Tuesday, Jan 10th at 1pm