A local band has been impressing crowds for more than a dozen years, but not just because of the songs they play. The Note-Ables spread an important message every time they take center stage. The adult musicians have a wide range of challenges, from physical to cognitive, but through music they are changing the face of disabilities.
Manal Toppozada brought The Note-Ables to life shortly after moving to Reno, because she realized the need for a music therapy program. "When I started this program 15 years ago, it literally started as a class for a dozen people. I had no idea of what kind of demand and interest there'd be."
Now, along with this performance band, Manal also oversees Noteable Music Therapy Services, which works with about 100 people a week at the McKinley Arts and Culture Center, as well as a few hundred more off-site. "We work with everyone from little guys with autism all the way up to seniors with disabilities." Manal says documented evidence shows the use of music can achieve non-musical goals, like improving motor skills, psychological health and even speech.
For Mark Geeson, who plays rhythm guitar, music saved his life. He was discharged from the U.S. Army after a motorcycle accident that left him in severe pain. "I was in my room watching TV. I thought my life was over; that my physical athletic ability was gone. My right side was paralyzed. My memory was damaged. My motor nerve system was damaged. And I was just giving up."
However, when he learned about The Note-Ables, Mark's attitude changed. He first volunteered, then started playing and over time has become an integral part of a non-profit that is notable, to say the least.
You can watch the band perform live at a special event February 8th. The non-profit will be hosting its largest fundraiser of the year: A Note-Able Evening of Romance. Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Downtown Reno Ballroom. Tickets are $45 in advance. Just call 324-5521 or visit www.note-ables.org.
Written by Kristen Remington