By: Christy Means-Smith | Category: Special Interest | Issue: June 2007
Dave Reaves, founder of Lollipops and Rainbows
Music has been used as a form of therapy for centuries, as it is both physically and emotionally soothing. In the 20th century, musicians of all types played for soldiers, veterans and victims of war; the tradition has carried on ever since. Lollipops and Rainbows, a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization, is dedicated to bringing joy and entertainment through music to people in need.
All ages can benefit from music therapy: children, adults, adolescents and elders. Lollipops and Rainbows has been performing for these audiences since 1995, serving hospital patients and people in nursing care facilities, assisted living, retirement homes and more. “When you see these people as you entertain and interact with them, it is very touching and moving,” says Dave Reaves, founder of Lollipops and Rainbows.
The American Music Therapy Association has a large research body that explores the advantages of music therapy and publishes literature about its findings. The researchers stress the benefits of music for overall well-being; it has been helpful in coping with chronic pain, stress, depression, physical ailments and more. Music has additionally been known to trigger responses in autistic children, and it can improve communication and memory. The universal language, music is a wonderful experience for both those who listen and those who perform.
“The people who have been involved with Lollipops and Rainbows are those who want to reach out to others through music,” Reaves says. “The interaction between music and people is important, as the audiences are able to sing along, dance or just express their delight.” Throughout the years, musicians have been essential to keeping the organization running, and their assistance has been priceless. The ages and musical experience levels of the volunteer entertainers varies greatly.
Some individuals served by Lollipops and Rainbows have very limited social outlets. In addition to music, the organization plays a large role in providing these people with company. The heart of Lollipops and Rainbows is music, however, a part of each musician is donated to each audience, as well as the talent.
The organization has recently focused on bringing more children into the organization by offering youth music and voice lessons. Reaves is pleased that the music students’ first performances have been positive and uplifting experiences for both the pupils and audiences.
Lollipops and Rainbows is assisted by donations of time, talent and money. Financial support is always appreciated for equipment, supplies and miscellaneous expenses. If you are interested in participating, would like to donate, or if you want to book Lollipops and Rainbows for a show, please contact Dave Reaves at (918) 254-7762.