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Brian Owens, Erin Bode And Peter Martin In Kids Rock Cancer Benefit

Mary Edwards

Kids Rock Cancer is an outgrowth of Maryville University’s Music Therapy Program.  Inspired by the program Purple Song Can Fly in Houston, Texas, the Maryville program goes into hospitals and works individually with children with cancer and other blood disorders.  The musical therapist helps the child express a set of thoughts and ideas, turn them into lyrics of a song and compose a tune for the lyrics.  Then the child gets to sing the song into a microphone with instrumental accompaniment.  The result is a CD recording for the child to keep.

When Maryville University’s Tom Eschen reached out to vocalist Brian Owens about performing in a concert to benefit Kids Rock Cancer, he knew that he wanted to involve his fellow musician friends, vocalist Erin Bode and pianist Peter Martin.  By some miracle, they found a date that all were in town and free, and the result is a concert titled “I’m With the Band” on May 22 at The Sheldon Concert Hall.

Owens commented on the power of music as therapy. “Music has a way of entering into us and addressing parts of our psyche and our humanity that nothing else can do, so whether it’s jazz piano, whether it’s soul music, or whether its Americana, pop, it doesn’t matter – music has a way of touching us in ways that really nothing else can.  I think that’s we’re finding with Kids Rock Cancer in their music therapy program. We’re finding that with the [St. Louis] Symphony in all the work they’re doing. “

Martin added, “We got a chance to rehearse a little bit, Erin, Brian and myself the other day, and I was having kind of a weird morning, a lot of stuff going on – I have a new studio with my piano – and they walked in, and as soon as we started making music which was just me playing some simple chords and these guys with some amazing vocals, I mean that’s really musical therapy for us as well, for me.  Anytime you get real pros that have the voice, I don’t think you even need a scientific study to show what that will do.” 

Bode agreed. “The relationship we have with the people that come and listen to us is one of the most important relationships that we have.  And my personal thoughts and goals in being a musician are to help people to feel the way that I feel when I listen to music which is always warm and comforted and at home, and if I can give that to people just as audience members, it’s just a wonderful thing, but people especially who are really needing to feel comfort and needing to feel  at home, music is the best.”

In the Kids Rock Cancer benefit, each of the three musicians will present some of their own work, perform together and will do a few of the songs written by Kids With Cancer participants.

Brian Owens, Erin Bode and Peter Martin were Steve Potter’s guests on “Cityscape” to discuss the importance of music as therapy, the Kids Rock Cancer benefit and what is next for each of them.

Related Event

Maryville University Presents Brian Owens, Erin Bode and Peter Martin in "I'm With the Band" - A Benefit Concert for Kids Rock Cancer
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd.
(314) 570-5963
Maryville University Website

Mary Edwards is a producer for St. Louis Public Radio's broadcast program, "St. Louis Symphony."
Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.