Chamber folk duo Acoustic Eidolon will headline the concert with a 20-year-old Mott patient set to open the show with two original songs. One is titled, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Mott’s music therapist Bob Hoffman and Mott’s Micah Smiles therapy fellow Meredith Schlabig are also scheduled to perform.
Proceeds will support the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s music therapy program.
The Micah Smiles Benefit Concert is in memory of Micah Canvasser, who passed away just over a year ago from necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal disease that’s relatively common in premature infants, as well as End Stage Renal Disease, which causes permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.
Micah and his twin brother Zachary were born three months prematurely. While Zachary was able to go home after three months in the neonatal intensive care unit, Micah’s hospitalization continued. Micah was only 11 months old when he died.
“Honestly, the best way I’ve been able to cope and find peace is by giving back to others,” said Micah’s mother Jennifer Canvasser. “For us to be able to give back in this way is just incredible and beautiful. We’re so honored and blessed. There are really no words to describe it.”
Canvasser also said that she and her husband, Noah, integrate Zachary into the giving back process as a means of being positive examples of how to live effectively after experiencing a tragic loss.
“Zachary was always there even when Micah was in the hospital. He would sleep next to him,” she said. “The connection still lives on even though he’s no longer physically with us. He kisses Micah’s picture all the time and constantly asks about him. That’s another thing that helps me cope because I lost a son, but he lost his twin brother.”
Shortly after Micah’s death, the Canvassers started the “Micah Smiles Fund” in honor of their son’s memory by expanding the hospital’s music therapy program so that it could reach more children. To donate, please visit the Micah Smiles Fund’s official Facebook page.
In addition, they started the Micah and Zachary Giving Library, in which families with infants in Mott’s NICU receive one book each week to read to their children and to take home at the end of their stay. To date, the family has donated approximately 7,000 books.
Although this will be the first Micah Smiles benefit concert, the Canvassers hope to make it annual in hopes of spreading awareness about the positive effects of music therapy.
“Until you experience it first hand, you don’t realize how effective it is,” Canvasser said. “Music heals and brings calm when everything else in the world is spinning out of control.”
Tickets for the Micah Smiles Benefit Concert are $30-100 and can be purchased atwww.theark.org.
Princess Gabbara is an entertainment intern for The Ann Arbor News. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.