the color of music

Playing for Change

June 10, 2014
Last weekend, I attended one of my all-time favorite musical events. It was a night full of amazing music, beautiful people, dancing, and inspiring stories of perseverance, hope, and love.

Playing for Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. The idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.

“I was walking down the street in Santa Monica, CA, and I heard the voice of Roger Ridley singing the song “Stand By Me.” He had so much soul and conviction in his voice. I asked him if I could come back with some cameras and recording equipment to record him performing “Stand By Me”.” – Mark Johnson, Founder 

I’d first experienced a Playing for Change show years ago, when X and I first started dating. Actually, this is where he took me on our very first “official” date. (As cheesy as it may sound, it was after this date I knew I was head over heels falling for him.) X personally knew the drummer of this band, Peter Bunetta, and it wouldn’t be long until I, too, would call Peter a friend. 

I remember sitting there, X had put his arm around me, and I began to panic as I started to tear up at the end of the show. I thought to myself, “Crap, don’t cry in front of him, Emily!” But I couldn’t help it. The emotional performance of this entire group had reached out, grabbed my soul, and pulled me in. And it was more than just the heart of these musicians. It was what this organization was doing for children, for the human spirit, all over the world.

“As a human race we come together for birth, and we come together for death. What brings us together in between is up to us. Stop and Listen to the universal language of MUSIC, and bring that positive energy with you everywhere you go.” – Mark Johnson, Founder 

I was fortunate enough to meet each musician after this first show with Christian. Each one of them, I’m telling you- it was all I could do not to tackle them with a huge hug. I believed so much in what they were doing, what everyone who was a part of Playing for Change was doing. And I felt so grateful to have been a part of their talent, if even for a few hours. 
Little did I know, this would only be the beginning of my Playing for Change encounters. When Christian and I returned from our hot-minute move to Los Angeles years later, Peter again called, asking if we’d like to join him for another Playing for Change show in Chicago, a stop on their tour. Of course we said YES, and I have to admit, I was excited to not just see these people again, but to tell them “Look! We’re married now! Best first date ever!!” 🙂 Again, we were a part of an awesome, inspiring show and, again, I got to shake the hands of these incredibly talented artists. 
Fast forward almost two years later and Playing for Change was starting out on their 2014 tour, with a stop in Chicago again. Unfortunately, Christian was out of town, but Peter had saved us two tickets so I called up my friend Keren and we were on our way. While I missed X, I must say that Keren and I had so much fun dancing in the audience… something I don’t think my husband would have done with me 😉 ha.

I would really encourage you guys to check out PFC’s tour schedule and if they happen to play near you, GO. I promise- you will not regret it.

For more about Playing for Change and its story, go here.

*All videos, quotes & picture from source

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  • That sounds amazing…talent and compassion working together for a cause. What an inspiration!

  • I love how certain music can make you feel so many emotions. I've often found myself crying during a song and have no idea why!

  • Amazing! I love music, it has a way of touching so many people.

  • I love stuff like this. I just checked their schedule and they're coming close to me on Friday. I may have to work, but if not it sounds like something fun to do on a Friday night.

  • Music is incredible for lifting spirits, for inspiration, for bringing raw emotions to the surface so you can deal with them. It is also the simplest way for me to connect in worship and faith. This sounds like a wonderful endeavor and I definitely agree with the belief behind the project – music's ability to break down barriers and reach across differences and distances. Would so love to go to something like that!