Yamaha Retailer Madison Music Launches Operation Music Aid To Help Wounded Soldiers

BUENA PARK, CA Operation Music Aid is ready to launch. The purpose: to supply thousands of musical instruments to hospitalized military personnel who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Is this mission impossible? Madison Music owner George Hauer, a Yamaha retailer, says "no."

To date, Hauer has collected 12 Yamaha PSR-E203 portable keyboards, 12 L3C stands, survival kits and accessories; 240 Hohner harmonicas and instruction books; 80 Dunlop harmonica holders; D'Addario and Ernie Ball straps, strings and guitar accessories; 24 Music Link guitars; and 47 Levy's Leathers straps with the U.S. Flag and eagle in flight embroidered on them all ready to be shipped and distributed to Brooke Army Hospital in Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Tex. on February 20. A second shipment will be sent to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. on March 3.

When Hauer was growing up his father told stories of his experiences working at a field hospital in
New Guinea and the Philippines during World War II. Hauer's friend and co-founder of Operation Music Aid, Clark Kniceley, also shared his accounts of recuperating from injuries suffered during the Gulf War. Inspired by these heroic people and their heart-wrenching tales, Hauer decided to create Operation Music Aid to ensure that hospitalized soldiers did not feel forgotten.

Kniceley, who spent eight and half months in a military hospital and experienced three knee surgeries since his involvement in the Gulf War, recalled only having access to poor TV and old magazines in the hospital. "When I was in the hospital, I wished I had my guitar," the veteran told the New Haven Advocate. For some injured soldiers, Operation Music Aid reunites them with musical instruments and the joy of music making, while for others it introduces playing as Recreational Music Making, fulfilling music-based activities that unite people of all ages regardless of their challenges, backgrounds, ethnicity, ability or prior experience.

Dr. Gerard Curran, a former emergency room surgeon in a combat surgical hospital in
Iraq, has also offered his services to Operation Music Aid. Dr. Curran says, "Playing a musical instrument can make a wounded soldier feel productive as well as provide a healthy distraction from the pain that he is experiencing."

The Yamaha PRS-E203 keyboards, for example, provide an easy way for bedridden patients to play and come equipped with a survival kit that includes headphones, a volume pedal and a "How To" DVD. "The headphones are a great addition because they reduce the risk of patients being disturbed by external noise that can often occur in a hospital," says Hauer.

"We chose Yamaha for its dependability, versatility and playability," Hauer continues. "We are confident that these new keyboards will boost the morale of all of the hospitalized recipients."

"Yamaha's key goals are to support wellness in all people especially those in need," says Mark Anderson, Marketing Manager of Pro Audio and Combo for Yamaha Corporation of America, "It's extremely gratifying to know that our instruments are providing wounded soldiers with music as a healing tool."

For more information on Operation Music Aid and Yamaha PRS-E203 keyboards, write Yamaha Corporation of
America, Pro Audio & Combo Division, Portable Keyboards, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; or e-mail infostation@yamaha.com