Most of the time we Music Therapists are talking or writing about our clinical work, our research, issues of culture, theoretical ideas. But seldom do we stop to talk and write about the important friends, the non-Music Therapists, who support our work. This Fall 2007 we have lost two very important Friends of Music Therapy – one in Canada and one in Iran.
Carl Herman, husband of the Canadian Music Therapy pioneer Fran Herman, died on September 4, 2007. After their retirement from so-called "professional" life, Fran and Carl Herman set about raising millions of dollars to support music therapy practice, education, and research through the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund, established originally from their own home twelve years ago. In fact, Carl was a renaissance man who had many professional careers. He was a teacher, a criminal lawyer, an insurance salesman, a Fuller brush salesman, a cab driver, a folk music entrepreneur, a public relations executive, a carne in the circus, and in his final professional role, an advocate for music therapy as the public relations chair for the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund. In fact, his profession was that he was a person who loved people and loved learning.
And I loved spending my time with Fran and Carl. Yes, we did exchange lots of news about our music therapy world – often around dinner tables at my home in Vancouver or their home in Toronto. But sitting around the dinner table with Fran and Carl was an experience in the art of conversation. It was a constant reminder that politics, world affairs, mystery books, paintings and other arts forms, humor, food, and relatives (especially children and grandchildren), and many other topics were all part of the mystical soup of our lives. All of the days with Fran and Carl were mainly about love. I always felt this in their presence. They were intellectuals and professionals. But mainly they were lovers.
I never saw Fran and Carl separated from each other. They were always together.
Carl had so many friends that at the end of his life, there was an outpouring of sympathy and expressions of gratitude for his life. In a notice celebrating his life, of course, the story was about continuing his legacy. We read in this poster:
"This past Summer, Carl and Fran initiated the Herman Children’s Fund of the CMTTF (Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund) in order to give their friends and family the opportunity to help them celebrate their upcoming birthdays (85 years old for Carl, 80 years old for Fran) and support music therapy work for children. The Fund will provide music therapy programming for young special needs children, not unlike the many that experienced the power of music therapy over Fran’s long career. Children have held a special place in the hearts of both Carl and Fran who spent their working lives and their ‘retirement’ caring for young people with special needs." This fund was originally established to celebrate Fran and Carl’s birthdays. Two weeks later, Carl passed away. Now it is a memorial fund that has raised $26,000 in the two short months since his death. For more information about this fund and the amazing work of the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund, just check out the website: http://www.musictherapytrust.ca/
Carl, you will be sorely missed.
Carl Herman was 85 years old. Masoud Nematin was 30 years old. He was also a dear friend.
I met Masoud at the American Music Therapy Association conference in Orlando, Florida only a few years ago. So, he was a new friend. We sat next to each other at dinner and had a few short walks together. He was a beautiful man. I remember feeling such gratitude that he was so interested in our work as music therapists and dedicated to helping us to educate others about its importance. If one believes in the "energy" of a person, the power of a beautiful presence (and I do), Masoud was an experience of beauty.
He was a doctor in Iran. However, his thesis was about Music Therapy. And he was an artist, and also a Renaissance man. He played two musical instruments professionally – the dulcimer and the drum. He was also an oil painter and a calligraphist. While at Tehran University studying medicine, he initiated an interdisciplinary group composed of psychologists, occupational therapists, and music students, to study music therapy. This group established the formal organization, Music Application in Mental and Physical Health Association ( MAMPHA) in 2000. He implemented and supervised many research projects on music therapy in Iran, some of which were presented in seminars in Finland, Australia, the USA, and Italy.
His good friend and colleague, also the Founder and Board Member of MAMPHA, says of Masoud Nematin: "Dr. Masoud Nematian and I were the best of friends for about 14 years. We started our co-operation by holding workshops about music therapy in Tehran University in 1997. I can never forget the day when we decided to set up the music therapy association. With his usual smiling face, Dr. Nematian and I vowed to ourselves to establish the association and start music therapy activities professionally. On the sad day of his funeral people from different walks of life including musicians, psychologist, physicians, as well as friends and family members were present and they all shared the common opinion about Dr. Nematian being a perfect human being as member of society, a true friend, a good musician, an educated therapist, and a lovely son to his parents. I will never forget him and he will always be there in my memory and my heart."
And we will never forget our "friends." How could Music Therapy survive and thrive without them? We honor both Carl Herman and Masoud Nematian. And we express our deepest sympathy at their passing. We will miss them. We will remember them with gratitude and love.
Kenny, Carolyn (2007). The Loss of Friends. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=colkenny191107