Music is a powerful medium that can provide comfort, reduce pain and anxiety, lower blood pressure and elevate a person’s mood.
“The power and freedom to express oneself through music and art is fundamental to our well-being, more so in a time of crisis such as receiving a cancer diagnosis, undergoing treatment, or living as a cancer survivor,” said singer Martha Wainwright, daughter of Canadian folk music singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle. After McGarrigle passed from sarcoma, the Wainwright family established the Stand Up To Cancer Canada Kate McGarrigle Fund, a collaborative program from Stand Up To Cancer and The Kate McGarrigle Foundation that funds sarcoma research in the U.S.
The Music As Healing program was launched by the SU2C Canada Kate McGarrigle Fund in January 2020, but was then deferred until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. American and Canadian cancer patients and survivors who share a passion for music and are aged 15 or older were invited to submit an original composition for a chance to receive a $2,500 USD grant to professionally record their song.
“Music was a constant, a natural extension of daily life for our mother, who was often described as a luminous singer,” said Martha Wainwright, who is the music director for Music As Healing. “I’m hoping that Music As Healing extends her legacy by illustrating through the songs that will be recorded, and through the listening experience of cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones, how music can provide a bright, shining light through the darkness that can accompany a cancer diagnosis.”
An expert panel of music industry professionals, leading cancer researchers and cancer advocates reviewed the submissions and carefully selected the songs that were recorded and compiled into an album that will be released during the 2022 holiday season. Sold across digital outlets and in hard copy CD, album sales benefit the SU2C Kate McGarrigle Fund.
On December 3, 2022, Martha Wainwright and her brother, Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright, hosted their “A Not So Silent Night” Holiday Concert in Montreal, Canada. During this event, they announced the compilation album of Music As Healing songs. QR codes were displayed at the event to download the album or donate.
The Music As Healing album will soon be available to download online, and donations to the SU2C Kate McGarrigle Fund support critical and much-needed sarcoma research.