The mission of Band Together Pittsburgh is to utilize the universal effectiveness of music to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of youth on the autism spectrum and their families.
Our programming encompasses everything from very basic rhythm and movement to on stage, professional performance and studio recordings.
It is the overall accessibility of music itself that creates the opportunity for each and EVERY participant to be included; to participate and to find success. Music does not judge and yes, the experience is complicated and hard to quantify.
However, results are seen in interpersonal relationships and an increased awareness of socially acceptable behaviors. Band Together Pittsburgh is working in partnership with music therapists and educators from Seton Hill University. Through this partnership, a rigorous measurement tool has been created to effectively capture and communicate the effectiveness of our programming.
Band Together Pittsburgh (BTP) is a recognized, tax exempt 501 (c) 3 organization which has been formed by members of the Pittsburgh music community. Through participation, education and mentorship, using the power of music, we will identify pathways and help our participants to reach successes that many thought were not possible.
Band Together Pittsburgh was founded in early 2016 by John Vento and Ron “Moondog” Esser.
John Vento – A successful Pittsburgh businessman, Vento returned to music to front The Nied’s Hotel Band (voted Pittsburgh’s Best Bar Band.) Through his performances, he has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars.His leadership, charity and work ethic are well known throughout the Pittsburgh music scene.
Ron “Moondog” Esser – Moondog has been a huge part of the Pittsburgh music scene for more than 30 years. The owner of Moondogs and the Starlite Lounge in Blawnox, Ron also produced the Pittsburgh Blues Festival for over 20 years. The Festival, during that period, netted over $2 million. Moondog has also been awarded Philanthropist of the Year.
This Is Why We Exist!
Dear John and Ron,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for hosting and sponsoring the recent Drum Circle with Jim Donovan. My husband Scott and I took our 21 year old son to Steamworks Creative which was the perfect setting. Our son is diagnosed with autism, speech apraxia and major depressive disorder. He has little speech and is bothered by loud noise. I was very hesitant to try the drum circle, feeling it might have been too loud for him. Within seconds of the group starting, he did put his headphones on.
Surprisingly, our son sat through the session lightly taping on his drum and even participated as Jim went around the room and asked each individual to do something specific. Though he sat with no emotion on his face, which is usual for him. But I was proud that he was sitting, tolerating and participating in the circle.
What happened at the end of the session was amazing. When he stood up at the end of the session he was smiling from ear to ear. We don't see him smile much, but when he does , it's really special. His mood, affect and total attitude completely changed. He was happy! Again, happy is very difficult due to his significant depression. He remained happy through the evening and even the next morning. When I asked if he wanted to attend a drum circle again, he immediately and clearly said YES!
I just wanted to thank you both, and of course Jim too. Bringing happiness to my son is not any easy task, but you three succeed!
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