Students Bring Music Therapy and Jazz Workshops to Panama

By 
Margot Edwards
August 13, 2015
Panamaniacs, Berklee Music Therapy students

Danilo Pérez, president of the Danilo Pérez Foundation and artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI), and Patricia Zarate, executive director of Panama Jazz Productions and founder of the Latin American Music Therapy Symposium, are bringing students from the BGJI and Berklee’s music therapy program to Panama City, Panama, to work with the foundation and other local organizations, August 17 - 21. Through a series of workshops, clinics, and music therapy services, the students aim to empower the community to build sustainable music therapy programs at cancer centers, children’s hospitals, and nursing homes.

At the same time, the students will have the opportunity to learn from and perform with legendary jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Shorter, who is in Panama City recording material for his next album, will hold a private meeting with the music therapy students, lead an open clinic at the foundation, and perform with the BGJI students at Danilo’s Jazz Club.

The music therapy students—Kalli Jermyn (Massachusetts), Kira Helper (New York), Stephanie Platzer (Rhode Island), Lauren Murphy (New Jersey), Esteban Roa (Bogotá, Colombia), and Sophie Maricq (Madrid, Spain)—who go by the name Panamaniacs, will provide services at the Danilo Pérez Foundation, Children’s Hospital, Friends of Children with Leukemia and Cancer Foundation, San José de Malambo Orphanage, and Bolivar Nursing Home.

Panamaniacs will use their talents to educate the community about the practice of music therapy—the functional and scientific application of music to enhance an individual's social, emotional, educational, and behavioral development. Led by Zarate, the students will also provide a day-long workshop at the Specialized University of the Americas (UDELAS) to teach healthcare professionals about music therapy interventions within various populations and settings.

In addition to working with Shorter, the BGJI students will give music workshops at the foundation, orphanage, and nursing home, and perform alongside saxophonist and bandleader Marco Pignataro, managing director of the BGJI, and faculty percussionist Jerry Leake. The group is composed of pianist Antoni Vaquer (Spain), drummer Anthony Fung (Canada), and bassist Seungo Yang (Korea). The BGJI is a performance program designed to foster creativity and musicianship at the highest level through various musical disciplines, and to advance the power of music as a tool for the betterment of society.