Today my family and the music therapy staff of Mount Sinai Beth Israel officially dedicated Tyler’s Room. We’ve been looking forward to this moment since February 2013, and it was deeply emotional and deeply gratifying to mark this occasion with the friends and family who have supported us. Dr. Joanne Loewy, Dr. Edward Conway Jr. and John Mondanaro spoke movingly and music therapists Wen Chang-Lit and Robin “Mitch” Mitchell showed us the top-notch recording and DJing equipment and software that patients will use. It wasn’t on the program, but my father and I couldn’t resist sitting down with Mitch and Dr. Loewy to jam for a couple of minutes after we’d cut the ribbon.
Thanks again to the hundreds of friends and supporters who’ve helped us get to this point. We have a lot to be proud of and a lot of work to do.
My remarks from this afternoon:
“A memory is like a song – or maybe a song is like a memory. It can stay with you forever even if you’ve experienced it just once. It can give you encouragement, inspiration, comfort, strength and love, and it’s always yours but it exists to be shared. Sharing that piece of music or that treasured memory only adds to the joy it brings. My family started this project because we wanted to share the memory of someone who lived for music – and who through music lives for us still.
My brother Tyler was a music lover all his life, passionate about hearing, making and sharing music.
Because music is also a way of communicating that makes our feelings tangible, draws our pain out of us, connects us to others, and it sustains us. It lasts.
Duane Allman once said “You can’t hurt anybody with music,” and he knew, too, that music can help, can heal. Tyler exemplified that. He used the Allman Brothers to psych himself up at challenging moments, Miles Davis to mellow out when he was overwhelmed, The Band to tap into something deeper.
Tyler shared his personality and his feelings through music. When he loved a song or a band he wanted to share it with everyone he cared about. He has been gone for almost four years now, and my family has used music to remember and share him. We wanted to help young people like him, and the idea for Tyler’s Room was born with the help of the music therapists at Beth Israel. They helped us craft this dream and we’ve been excited to watch it take shape over the last year and a half. We’re grateful to Dr. Loewy, Dr. Mondanaro, to Michael Traeger, and to everyone at Beth Israel who has worked with us. And we appreciate everyone who has donated time and energy and money to help us get this far.
Today Tyler’s Room becomes real, and with it, our dream of creating a space that will preserve his memory. There’s still a lot to do. We will continue supporting this space and fulfilling our pledge, Beth Israel’s therapists will do their wonderful work, and most importantly, young people like Tyler will express themselves and experience the power of music.”