In Detroit last week, the League of American Orchestras awarded a Grand Rapids Symphony musician with the Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service. Only four of those awards were presented in the United States.
The recipient is Diane McElfish Helle, a violinist with the Grand Rapids Symphony. She joined Stateside to talk about the program she leads called the Music for Health Initiative.
The program has members of the symphony join music therapists in sessions with patients experiencing a variety of ailments — everything from individuals recovering from a serious injury or a stroke to those struggling with dementia or cancer treatment.
Listen to the full interview above to hear what a music therapy session is like and how the Music for Health Initiative got started.