Dearest Donna: Your Listen for Life…. is a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart. Thank you for being a conduit for transformation and elevation of the human spirit. We need this now more than ever. You are to music what Mother Teresa of Calcutta was to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying………..”
– Michelle Anton, Former Producer of Oprah and business/social media consultant
n these intervening years, Listen for Life has had offices, affiliate production partners and/or volunteer teams based in a wide range of locations, from Rome to Geneva to Kenya to Russia to Dallas to Asia – now the global headquarters is in California USA. Travels with Music, a recent LFL educational product originally designed by Donna and then created by a large LFL team, has won a 2014 Telly Award and a national 2014 Tech & Learning award. And Donna has been honored as well, for the countless hours and personal resources she has devoted to the LFL projects helping deserving musicians worldwide.
**View television news coverage from an event where Donna was named a 2013 Woman of Legacy by the global organization Powerful Women International, for her work in the founding of Listen for Life.
**View the original LFL introductory video created in the first years
**View a Brazilian TV special about Donna and her vision for LFL and its message, filmed in the early years of LFL developments
Donna’s own words about her goal in founding Listen for Life:
“There are so many wonderful musicians alive today, working in all music genres, traditions and cultures. I founded Listen for Life with the hope that it would help them by sharing their music, but also that its projects would inspire them to take up the mission themselves as well, and inspire others. I founded Listen for Life as a global movement, and a message – not as a “boring organization” or a legal entity. It has, over the past 16-17 years of its existence, become also a family of music listeners (that should include just about everyone, right?) and music performers, educators, and producers, all working together on projects and programs that make a difference through music. But my hope is that Listen for Life can also be a catalyst – that there will someday be independent, very vocal, and very productive Listen for Life members, whether individuals or chapters (called “bands”, maybe, or “Choruses”?) in every single town, village and community around the world, all spreading the message that Music Matters and it is a powerful source of healing, nourishment, emotional expression, conflict resolution, prayer, and cross-cultural communication – for all!
“Dearest Donna: Your Listen for Life…. is a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart. Thank you for being a conduit for transformation and elevation of the human spirit. We need this now more than ever. You are to music what Mother Teresa of Calcutta was to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying………..” –Michelle Anton, Former Producer of Oprah and business/social media consultant< read less.... >
How can one best serve as a catalyst while in the role of producer? Donna says:
“I have been fortunate to be able to design and initiate a number of specific projects around the world, involving teams of wonderful volunteers. With each project, we document the entire process, the need or issue in that particular location which inspired that particular project, and all of the steps taken throughout the process by the local team members and their reasons for each one. This then creates a template for that particular activity – whether it be an outreach project, a new live production, a new music festival or concert series, a television/video series featuring specific musicians, a sound-healing workshop, a music-in-schools awareness initiative, a peace-building summit, or whatever.
I only want to be the catalyst for future projects and ideas, so I am eager to share our resulting templates and advice with ANY musician or volunteer anywhere on the planet who discovers a need or inspiration for that same project, so that they do not have to reinvent the wheel!
I believe that all of these “production” types of activity are effective ways to raise awareness of music’s powerful impact in our lives, cause others to think about projects they might like to begin in their own communities, and build a network of inspired musicians who can in turn inspire the next generations.
It’s not about what we’ve done, it’s about sharing why it matters!”< read less.... >
“My own particular challenge is learning that, where the written word is concerned, “less is more”. I am a reader, so most comfortable with words, and am not as used to “saying it with pictures” or with video blogs. At least, not yet – I need volunteers to assist and encourage me! (Anyone available, out there? )
To be a catalyst, I strive to spark the imagination, physical energy and commitment of others, and inspire them to either join our teams or to create their own path for sharing their gifts. So, to reach those around the globe who, like me, respond best to the written word, then it is an important opportunity – or perhaps even a duty – to be the best (does that mean “most succinct” ? Someday…) writer and author that one can!< read less.... >
Donna’s thoughts on retreats:
“It’s hard for ANY of us to be convinced that it will be worthwhile to take time out of our busy schedules, whether it’s for one day or a weekend or a week…….so helping people be able to participate is sometimes half the challenge. But the mutual understanding that grows between the participants on a retreat can in itself be a tremendous catalyst for change, impacting the community and the individuals, and leading to all sorts of new ideas, programs, and future dreams that didn’t exist before the retreat.
The opportunity for reflection and silence amidst the noise and music of our lives is also very necessary and very powerful. I am learning, more and more, that silence, peace, and listening are three (“co-dependent,” but nevertheless very different) experiences that our human nature is wired to need. I have also found that specifically chosen music can help bring about those experiences, as the music itself is a very potent catalyst for growth or healing on all four “equally-sized pieces of our human pies”, as I recently heard it explained – Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual.
I am hoping that through retreats for musicians, composers can be inspired to create music and lyrics that nourish the lives of their listeners, and performers can be rejuvenated in spirit so that they can share their gifts from a heart of service and not just out of habit, routine, or hope for (eventual?) material gain.
For me, and for several other classical musicians that I know, we have perhaps an impossible dream: if all of the members of one orchestra or choir participated in a retreat together and developed a mutual ideal and motivation for their musical work – if they performed not just from love for the music or respect for the conductor but also because they believed so totally in the power of their music to deeply inspire and change the lives of those listening– what would the experience of performing within that group then feel like for the musicians, and what would the experience of that performance be for the listeners?
All of these possibilities make it very worthwhile, from a catalyst’s perspective, to attend a retreat! “
To ask for Donna’s guidance or participation in giving a music-based retreat for any type of group or topic, contact her now.< read less.... >