Chris Mumford is dusting off his drum set with the intent of starting a jam band that provides veterans with musical therapy and raises funds to meet their needs.
He is seeking musicians, both “civilian” and veteran, to get involved in the outreach.
If enough people sign on, Mumford wants to tackle another big challenge; perhaps setting a new world record for having the largest number of people play the same song for the longest amount of time.
“Now that would put The Dalles on a map, wouldn’t it?” he said.
“People would come from all over the place to see that.”
After watching a show about the benefits of music therapy for veterans suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), Mumford decided to take action.
“I want to put together a jam band and teach vets to play,” he said. “Music is medicine for the soul.”
A study by McGill University’s Neuropsychology department shows that specific parts of the brain are activated when patients listen to music they like.
When the nucleus accumbens and the caudate nucleas — part of the reward motivation and emotion systems — get jazzed up, a person starts feeling better.
Mumford not only needs band members, he is seeking donations of instruments that vets can be taught to play.
“If we could get enough people together we could put together some benefits with different styles of music to raise money for vets.”
Home Fires Burning, a local group that focuses on providing support for female veterans and military families, has taken Mumford’s project under its umbrella and is assisting with publicity and outreach.
“If we can get this thing going, we can raise some money from concerts to purchase instruments,” he said.
Mumford served in the Army during the Vietnam-war era but never saw combat, although he knows plenty of soldiers who experienced war trauma.
What he does know is the music business, with a background that includes opening for country singers Tammy Wynette and John Anderson.
“I’m just a guy on a mission,” said Mumford of his new focus. “I’ve been on the road, doing promotions and managing a band — I can do this.”
His plan is to have the band practice every other Wednesday and Mumford said the local National Guard unit has volunteered space. Caleb Prescott, business manager for Gorge Community Music, has also offered a place for the group to meet.
“We could have street jam sessions and allow vendors to get involved if they donated a percentage of profits to charity,” he said. “There are a lot of ways we can do this, we just need to find out if any musicians are interested.”
For more information, or to donate an instrument, call Mumford at 541-298-2719, Gorge Community Music at 541-296-2900 or email team@gorge