Archive | March, 2013

‘Voices of Autism’ Catalysten and Release Party

21 Mar


Last Saturday evening, March 16th, we gathered for our ‘Voices of Autism’ Catalysten and Release Party. It was an amazing night. Over 60 people gathered at the beautiful Expressive Arts Institute in San Diego to listen to an audio documentary. In such a visually dominant world, there was something wonderfully counter-cultural about the event. Here’s a reminder of how we defined ‘Catalysten’, the fabulous word our co-founder Talia Morales thought up:

Catalysten – ˈkætə-ˈlɪsən

Noun: A listening event that deliberately encourages new ideas, creativity and change.

Verb: The conscious act of listening with the intent of being inspired.

We wanted to share ‘Voices of Autism’ with people while also wanting to stay true of one of the core principles of The SongStream Project; to act as a catalyst for new music, ideas, stories and conversations.

We set up various creative ‘stations’ around the room that were inspired by comments expressed in the show. They included, ‘The Colors of My Mind’, ‘Make the Whole World Better’,  ’Scales of Understanding’ and four that focused on the wisdom of Reid, Curtis, Joel and Sydney our four young stars.

We broke the 85 minute audio documentary into its four natural sections and played each part with a break in between that allowed people to mingle, share their ideas at various stations, get something to eat or drink. A slideshow of photos featuring the people being interviewed accompanied each section. A couple of people suggested for the next ‘Catalysten’ we find an old upright radio and have that as the focal point. It’s a lovely idea. In the meantime, here’s the show if you’d like to listen to it in the comfort of your own home, car, office etc.

At the start of the evening the people who had gathered didn’t really know what to expect. They all deserve medals for curiosity and embracing a sense of adventure! It was fascinating to see the energy in the room evolve as first of all Reid and then Curtis, Joel and Sydney cast their magic on everyone. It wasn’t long at all until the room was buzzing.

Curtis’ live performance of ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ was a real highlight of the night, as was his sister Eleanor’s spontaneous dancing as soon as disco beats reached her ears.

We captured people’s feelings and thoughts at the end through music, as Betsy Hartman played her harp for ‘Reflections in D’ and people called out words and phrases on their mind as the music flowed.

The night ended with the debut performance of a song written by co-founder Vanessa Contopulos that was inspired by the stories we’d gathered together in the show. It was a beautiful way to end a truly memorable night.

We were very grateful for the support of the following in helping provide refreshments:

VONS, Food4Less, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Speciality Produce, Cupcakes Squared

And big thanks to Andrea Moriarty and Diana Toy for their amazing help in encouraging such generosity!

Michael Fryer

March 21st 2013


Music featured in ‘Voices of Autism’

19 Mar


This is a list with information about all the music featured in the ‘Voices of Autism’ audio documentary in chronological order.


‘Orange Piano Song’ – Reid Moriarty

All words and music by Angela Neve & Reid Moriarty

© 2012 The Music Therapy Center of California


‘It Is Well With My Soul’ – Chris Rice

Album: Peace Like a River: The Hymns Project

Label: INO Records


Clip from the end of Mary Poppins

© 1964 Walt Disney Productions


‘Rules of Conversation’ – Michelle Lazar

© 2005 Tuned in to Learning


‘Shine’ (Live) – The Kingsmen

All words and music by Angela Neve & Reid Moriarty

© 2012 The Music Therapy Center of California


‘Ways To Say Hello’ – Angela Neve

© 2005 The Music Therapy Center of California


Cesária Évora – Flor Di Nha Esperança

Album: Café Atlantico

Label: Lusafrica


‘Shine’ – Reid Moriarty

All words and music by Angela Neve & Reid Moriarty

© 2012 The Music Therapy Center of California


Zorro – Extended Main Theme

©1957 Walt Disney Productions


Clips from Zorro – ‘Presenting Señor Zorro’

©1957 Walt Disney Productions


‘The Grey Havens’ – Howard Shore feat. James Galway

Album: The Return of the King

Label: Reprise


‘The Hustle’ – Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony

Album: Disco Baby

Label: Avco Records


Zorro – Closing Theme

©1957 Walt Disney Productions


‘The Colors of My Mind’ – Joel Anderson

Words and Music by Joel Anderson and Vanessa Contopulos

© 2011 Joel Anderson 


‘Spanish Flea’ (Live) Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass


Clair de Lune – Claude Debussy


Medieval Music (‘Trotto’)


‘Having a Friend’ – Joel Anderson

Words and Music by Joel Anderson and Vanessa Contopulos

© 2012 Joel Anderson 


‘Make The Whole World Better – Sydney featuring Pitch

All words and music by Sydney Pitcher and Jonathan Pitcher

© 2013 Sydney Pitcher


Chopin’s ‘Nocturne in C sharp minor (1830)’ -Janusz Olejniczak

Album: The Pianist

Label: Sony


‘Tomorrow is Another Day’ – Sydney Pitcher

All words and music by Sydney Pitcher and Vanessa Contopulos

© 2012 Sydney Pitcher


‘Pachelbel’s Canon in D’ – Performed by Sydney Pitcher


‘Legends of the Fall Theme’– Performed by Sydney Pitcher









On the eve of something special

15 Mar


Excitement and a healthy degree of nervousness often goes hand in hand on the eve of something special. The idea of The SongStream Project is about 9 months old and now first child is about to be born. ‘Voices of Autism’ is something the four of us, Michael, Talia, Alex and Vanessa, are very proud of.

We came into this project having never put together an audio documentary before. However, as keen radio fans with an ability to recognise what works and a few transferable skills, we figured things out as we went along.

The first thing to acknowledge is that we we’re incredibly lucky to have four amazing young musicians and their families invite us into their lives. Listening to the ways in which they responded to the questions we shared with them continues to inspire us. We feel confident that those who listen to the show will feel the same way.

This has been a labour of love. It’s been something we’ve all done in our spare time, without any form of funding and it has taken a huge amount of work to turn it into what you can now listen to. It’s been worth every moment.

We love the power of audio and it’s ability to take the brain somewhere that a video, for example, could never reach. We wanted to use that power to highlight and celebrate the amazing gifts that people on the autism spectrum bring to the world. We wanted to highlight and celebrate the power and value of music therapy and to honour the work of music therapists everywhere.

In the process of learning how to help tell someone else’s story we’ve had to acknowledge that in order to be a good storyteller, you at first have to be a good listener.

Our hope and aim has always been that people listening to ‘Voices of Autism’ will be inspired to create new music, new stories and begin new conversations as a result. May Reid, Curtis, Joel and Sydney weave their magic around you in the same ways they have done with us.

Michael Fryer

15th March 2013