Alternative medicine

The Music Care Conference, a project intending to educate health care professionals across Canada about the benefits of music therapy, is one step closer to receiving extra funding to make their event the best it can be.

Performer, songwriter and music educator Bev Foster came up with the idea of the Music Care Conference and is working alongside Laurier music faculty members Dr. Lee Willingham and Dr. Colin Lee.

The Laurier Centre for Music Therapy Research, along with the Room 217 foundation, made it to the finals of the Aviva Community Fund Competition.

Launched in 2005, Room 217 is a non-profit organization dedicated to discovering new ways to treat people’s physical and developmental ailments with musical therapy techniques.

Foster, the executive director of Room 217, began planning the event with Willingham and Lee in September 2009.

Foster and her planning group are seeking $150,000 for resources, staff, programmers and advertising from Aviva if they are selected as the winners.

Aviva started the competition to help Canadians make their communities better. Three winners will be chosen: a small idea proposal requiring less than $10,000, a medium-sized idea requiring $10,000-$50,000 and finally a large-sized idea that could receive up to $250,000.

The 25 finalists were chosen through an online voting system and the Music Care Conference finished 13th overall with 19,848 votes.

“I just want to thank all the people out there who voted for us,” said Foster, ecstatic that their efforts had made it this far in the contest.

The conference is taking place in Waterloo on Nov. 6, 2010 regardless of whether or not they get the funding. Still, Foster knows that getting the backing of an organization such as Aviva will increase the reach of what she is trying to accomplish.

“Health conferences like this generally aren’t that accessible to lots of people,” she said.

The final decision will be made June 25 when a panel of judges will choose the winning bid based on attributes of impact, likelihood of success, longevity and sustainability, originality and the quality of the proposal.