Give the Gift of Musical Medicine

Dear Friends,

Sometimes the best medicine is a simple song.  When I left Texas to pursue a career in show business, I never thought I’d move back to the Lone Star State. I had lived and worked as a Singer/Actress (and waited tables!) in New York and Los Angeles for many years.  But when the Year 2000 rolled around, I found myself sitting at my mother’s bedside at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston on Mother’s Day weekend. 
Mama had been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer and she was lying in her hospital bed awaiting surgery.  She held my hand and tearfully said, “Les, I’m so terrified. I don’t want to die. Would you sing to me? Perhaps it might make me feel better if you’d sing to me.”

And so, with my eyes closed and my back to the door, I sat at Mama’s bedside and softly sang to her.  All of a sudden, Mama touched my arm and whispered, “Les, look.”  I opened my eyes to discover that the nurse had opened the door to the room and the other cancer patients on the ward had gotten out of their beds and were standing in the doorway listening.  That’s when I learned that a simple song can soothe the soul.  

I settled in Austin and founded Symphony of Soul, a charity that provides uplifting, live music to people in need. Symphony of Soul provides live “musical medicine for the soul” to abused children and battered women, cancer patients and Alzheimer’s patients, homeless families and people who are struggling with drug & alcohol addiction, mental health issues, developmental disabilities and more.
The unfortunate reality is that, at some point in our lives we, or those we love, will be in a care center of some kind.  Whether we are faced with an illness such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, a hospitalization, a stint in rehab for substance abuse or a stay in a family shelter, we will all have to confront the feelings of anxiety, depression, helplessness, loneliness and isolation that are so painfully felt among patients and clients in care centers. 
It is hard to know how to comfort a child who is terminally ill with cancer or an elderly parent who is disoriented from dementia. But when Symphony of Soul’s musicians share their gift of “musical medicine”, the responsive smiles, the tapping feet, the laughter and the requests for a favorite song quickly reveal that the music is bringing joy to all concerned. After all, sometimes the best medicine is a simple song.
Since it all began almost 18 years ago, the 155 carefully vetted professional musicians on our roster have given over 2,000 performances and provided live “musical medicine for the soul” to more than 50,000 people at 65 different care centers in Central Texas.  Not only that, but in the last decade, Symphony of Soul has provided more than a half million dollars of financial support to the musicians on our roster. 
Because I have run the organization as a full-time volunteer rather than taking an Executive Director’s salary, I have given close to a million dollars as an in-kind contribution of my time.  That means that incoming donations are put to good use, providing income to our musicians so that they can share their open hearts and tremendous musical talents with those who need it the most.
As we move into the new year, my greatest wish is to continue providing “musical medicine” to the many wonderful care centers and facilities that we have served over the years.  With your support, Symphony of Soul can also serve abused and neglected children who are receiving therapeutic care at Helping Hand Home; refugees and victims of the sex and labor slave trade who are receiving support from Refugee Services of Central Texas; Mike’s Place, an Alzheimer’s outreach program of Meals on Wheels and More; and Community First! Village, a master-planned community of Mobile Loaves and Fishes that provides affordable housing to those who are disabled and chronically homeless.
Sometimes the best medicine is a simple song.  So, this Holiday season, I prayerfully ask that you please make a financial contribution to Symphony of Soul . 100% of your contribution will be used to hire musicians to provide uplifting music to people in need. When you give to Symphony of Soul, you are making it possible for the hardworking musicians on our roster to go out into the darkness with their gift of music, bringing light and love and comfort and hope and joy and inspiration to those who need it the most.
Thank you for your support!
With blessings,

Leslie Hyland Rodgers
Symphony of Soul Founder
  • venus strawn 
    • $100 
    • 45 mos
  • Danny Felps 
    • $100 
    • 45 mos
  • Kiki Oleson 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
    • $25 
    • 45 mos
  • William Murray 
    • $500 
    • 45 mos
See all


Leslie Hyland Rodgers 
Austin, TX
Symphony of Soul Inc 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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