Hampton VA Domiciliary Finds Healing Power in Music and the Arts

Hampton VA photo montage

It’s Veteran’s Day – a day to remember the price of freedom and to thank those who put everything—everything on the line so we might live in a free country.   How can you adequately thank someone for that?

Well, you can’t.  But in addition to supporting other programs for the wounded, and paying the taxes that run the VA and other programs for service men and women, we’ve felt that TAO outreach programs would be a good way to connect artists and musicians with opportunities to give back to veterans who have given so much.

In March, 2007, we presented our first program at the Hampton VA, in their Domiciliary, where about 100 men and women veteran servicemembers live and receive services to return to community life.  In the years that have followed, we have sent classic rock bands, folk rock and chamber music ensembles and painting, blues harp and percussion workshops.  The vets have enjoyed it all.  Most recently (the past several years), we’ve been pulling together groups of musicians to bring extra instruments and classic rock selections to the ‘Dom’ for ‘drop in jam sessions.’  As the photos show, the vets love these experiences.  They love meeting the artists and volunteers we match them with.  ‘Excellent’ survey scores and comments like, “Vets like the jam the best!,” “We all had real clean fun,” “Singing,” and echoes of “come back again” let us know we’re performing a life-enriching service for participants.

Our programs at the Hampton VA have been funded by donations that TAO receives through special events and individual gifts, but our income is not covering the costs.  We need to either find specific, project funding to continue the program, or spin this off and ask some generous community members to take on what we’ve started, as a personal, charitable endeavor.  I’m reaching out today to ask that people interested in seeing TAO continue to provide services to our veterans to make a donation to TAO, either online or by cash or check, and dedicate that money to our programs with vets.  It’s easy to designate how your gift will be spent on our donations page.  We need to collect $200 per program, which we’ll match with other income.  We’ll keep track and keep you updated.  Thank you.