Imagine a world in which no prejudice exists based upon race, creed, color—or intellectual capacity. That is the world that we at United by Music North America, and our growing support base, envision. In our case, we have turned to the power of music to bring people together.
United by Music, a performance-based program for musically talented people with development and intellectual challenges and delays, was created in The Netherlands in 2006 by Joris van Wijngaarden, a Netherlands health care industry executive. Entertainer Candye Kane worked with van Wigngaarden to hone the concept behind United by Music in The Netherlands.
When van Wijngaarden wished to expand this unique program to North America, Kane suggested he speak with nonprofit industry expert and music supporter Barbara Hammerman. He did, and the result was a methodical process of testing the concept in the U.S. and Canada and the founding of United by Music North America by Hammerman and Amanda Gresham, music festival and event producer.
Hammerman and Gresham work with a team of professional musician mentors and supporters, find the musical talents for the program, work in weekly sessions to create performance shows and play at festivals and events. There is no fee to the artists to be a part of the program. Once selected, all mentor sessions and other activities are primarily paid through generous donations from the public. United by Music North America is a registered 501(c((3) charitable organization.