If it is a dream of yours to ride up the Sea to Sky Highway by motorcycle you might want to check out the 15th annual Music Therapy Ride.
Around 150 motorbikes, complete with Vancouver Police escort, will make the journey from Burnaby to Whistler on Saturday, Sept. 17 — and what's more, all money raised from the day is going to a great cause.
The Music Therapy Ride will this year raise its millionth dollar to help build mobile music therapy bandwagons, innovative recording studios used by therapists at care facilities around British Columbia.
People of all ages have benefitted says, co-founder Patrick Zulinov, including children suffering from ongoing serious illness, anxiety sufferers, those with autism and seniors with dementia.
"Music speaks to everyone," Zulinov says.
"Whether it increases mobility or helps people with depression, even just helping a kid be creative and express themselves, it has amazing impact. Even those who are terminally ill can leave legacy projects behind."
The charity currently has 11 bandwagons already operating or planned.
"This year, Variety, the children's charity, kicked in $70,000. Their directive is that they wanted to see another five bandwagons built on their dime," says Zulinov.
"We were going to make three new ones and now we are able to built eight."
Three have been in operation for several years and include a stationary bandwagon permanently used at BC Children's Hospital.
"Now they will be in all the different health districts in the province (there are five) and we'll have permanent ones in the George Pearson Centre, Ronald McDonald House and Canuck Place, along with the one at the children's hospital," Zulinov says.
"They been very useful to people over the years we've been making them. Therapists line up and send in applications to get the bandwagons to be part of their program for six-week residencies."
Currently in British Columbia, music therapy as a form of medical relief is not funded by the provincial government.
"Therapists just want to have tools that they haven't had access to, but for those who want to use recording studios the new ones have DJ turntables as well. We refine them according to what music therapists want every year," Zulinov says.
"Patients will have various ways to access music as part of their treatment. There is no government funding at all. You could create conspiracy theories about there being no money to be made, or no pharmaceutical companies involved.
"Music is such a primal thing that everyone benefits from."
On to the ride.
Registration is at 8:30 a.m. at Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby, with departure scheduled for 10 a.m.
Riders are expected to reach Chances Casino in Squamish around 11:30 a.m. (in time to see Juno-nominated music therapist Jeffrey Hatcher and Wendy Bird perform) and will arrive at Dusty's at 1 p.m. for a barbecue celebration and auction — with guitars donated and signed by Keith Urban and Colin James up to auction.
Alt-rock musician Daniel Wesley will perform at Dusty's for the crowds.
Register for Music Therapy Ride www.musictherapyride.org.
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