Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A band partners with the Special Olympics athletes to make great music

Summer always brings some memorable songs, and here's one making its debut in video: Run Free. The band Hello Noon partnered with several musically-inclined Los Angeles Special Olympics athletes to create it.

The project started when singer/guitarist Stephen Spies taught a music class for students in Special Ed at an elementary school in Los Angeles. He'd been told that not all of them would participate but, he says, "Everyone in the room was drumming along and fully engaged." Hello Noon's pianist, Kate Bacich, and violist Rebecca Bacich had similar experiences. They all started thinking about a project that would showcase neurodiversity. 

First up, they reached out to Special Olympics swimmer Caley Versfelt, who's from their hometown, about filming a video together. She was in. Athletes Cole Sibus and Jared Cozak, who play in a stomp band together, were also onboard. And boom! In the video, set on top of a mountain in Malibu, Cole rocks the electric guitar, Jared drums and Caley jumps onto the mandolin and viola.

"I think that  when people  have Down syndrome, autism and others with disabilities, we often focus on what they lack instead of focusing on what they're capable of," says Stephen. "We wanted to showcase their talent, intelligence and warmth."

"I had so much fun playing with the band, I loved playing the drums," says Jared. Adds Caley, "We had a funtastic time making new friends and a great music video. Hello Noon welcomes acceptance and inclusion. Their kindness is helping us change the world." 

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