BusinessWest has long recognized the contributions of women within the business community and created the Women of Impact program in 2018 to further honor women who have the drive and ability to move the needle in their own businesses, are respected for accomplishments within their industries, give back to the community, and are sought respected advisors and mentors within the field of influence.
BHMA is thrilled to announce that our CEO, Michelle Theroux, is a 2023 BusinessWest Women of Impact honoree. We are grateful to be celebrating the achievements of a woman who inspires everyone at BHMA to be the absolute best version of themselves.
Here is a short excerpt from the article highlighting the power of music at BHMA:
Some gigs can be especially impactful for audiences.
“We have about 15 nursing homes or assisted-living facilities in a rotation that our bands will cycle through each year, and those facilities love having them,” Theroux said. “One reason is our students are super warm and embracing and fun. They’re also very talented."
“And there’s a connection between the aging brain and music,” she added. “For example, somebody with dementia or Alzheimer’s will have lapses in their memory, but they’ll hear a song, and it will bring them right back, and they’ll remember all the words to it. If it’s their wedding song or their prom song, whatever it is, they have a memory that gets triggered by the music. So we are a fan favorite in the local nursing homes.”
The school even has a dance ensemble that’s starting to pick up gigs as well, sometimes accompanied by a Berkshire Hills musician or ensemble, sometimes on their own.
Speaking of gigs, the young musicians earn money for appearances, with just a small percentage deducted to cover the school’s staffing costs, Theroux said. “They know there’s value to their work. Like you and I value our paychecks, so do they. So, yes, these are paid gigs.”
And when audiences hear them play, sing, and dance, they understand the value, too.
“When they hear our music, people are like, ‘wait, what? They have a disability?’ Because when you hear the music, you hear good music. You don’t hear a disability.”
That’s why these students have performed at other schools, too, funded by anti-bullying grants, to drive home the message of ability, not disability, Theroux said. “The message is, ‘if I have autism and can sing like this, you might have autism, so guess what? You, too, have skills; you, too, have talent; you, too, have strength.’ Our bands go into some schools, and they’re like rock stars.”
To read the whole BusinessWest article, and to learn more about the honor, follow this link!