The Angel Band Project with Norbert Leo Butz & Friends
On Monday, November 12th, The Angel Band Project hosted back-to-back sold-out concerts, dubbed "An Evening with Norbert Leo Butz & Friends - A Benefit to Support Survivors of Sexual Violence”, at 54 Below. The benefit concerts began with original songs by two-time Tony Winner Norbert Leo Butz and a heartfelt introduction from Law & Order SVU star Mariska Hargitay. Aaron Tveit, Jessie Mueller, Sherie Renee Scott, Lindsay Mendez, Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal also performed with musical direction by Michael Moritz, Jr. The night was sponsored by Rebecca, Hannah and Sarah Gang and White Honey. Survivors Hannah Tombley and Jennifer Hopper graced the stage, using their voices to share their survival stories.
All of the proceeds from the night benefitted The Angel Band Project, which provides music therapy to sexual assault survivors in New York, Seattle and St. Louis. The inspiration for the charity came from an unthinkable tragedy in 2009 in Seattle, WA when a man crept through an open window at the home of Teresa Butz and her partner, Jennifer Hopper raping and stabbing the women, Teresa fought back and according to police, her actions saved Jennifer’s life but cost her her own. After an emotional but musically-uplifting funeral service, lifelong best friends Rachel Ebeling and Jean Purcell got together with the idea of recording a CD in Teresa’s memory. Teresa’s brother Norbert Leo Butz and her surviving partner, Jennifer Hopper, joined their efforts. Their aim was simple: to capture the power in the music they heard to help others heal from the effects of sexual violence. “Take You With Me” was released in 2010 and since that time, the vision has expanded to use music therapy to directly impact the lives of survivors.
In 2014, The Angel Band Project created the groundbreaking music therapy program called Songs of Survival in St. Louis, MO. Where board-certified music therapists work with small groups of survivors as part of their healing process. In late 2016, the program expanded to include Seattle, WA, and in 2017, in collaboration with New York University’s Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center, The Angel Band Project began serving survivors of sexual violence in the greater New York City area.
An Evening with Norbert Leo Butz & Friends was the first New York City fundraising effort for The Angel Band Project. All of the artists involved donated their time for this event and proceeds will be used to grow outreach efforts in the New York metro area.
“One in five women will be the victim of a sexual assault in her lifetime,” said Angel Band Project Executive Director and co-founder, Rachel Ebeling. “One of the biggest obstacles that victims of sexual assault encounter in the aftermath of being assaulted is the fear of being judged or not believed. A sense of isolation and blame is very common amongst victims of such violence. The Angel Band Project is here to show support, belief, and community for survivors. Until sexual violence is no longer tolerated, we walk in solidarity with survivors on their journey to healing.”
To learn more about The Angel Band Project visit AngelBandProject.org.
Photo Credit - Heidi Peters