Written by Drew Heyman for Las Sendas Life Magazine, Community Impact – July, 2017
I am watching YouTube in utter amazement and delight as one of our very own shares video after video of catchy, inspiring, gorgeous music-most of it written and produced by her, over the span of nearly 2 decades. Somewhere between Sarah Brightman and Olivia Newton-John, with a dash of mysticism ala Stevie Nicks, whirls, twirls and stuns, Joanne Jolee-Jaffa.
Along with her husband, Bill, also a musician (drummer) and former Mesa City Council member, she fronts The Jolee-Jaffa Music Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, which provides free music education to underprivileged children here and abroad and music therapy classes for seniors suffering Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and traumatic brain injuries. (YouTube videos of these adventures is also available.)
Locally, the foundation underwrites music lessons and provides instruments to the kids at Sunshine Acres. Internationally, they also provide lessons, ukuleles, and meals at lesson time to a remote village in the Philippines.
Joanne is currently deep in the throes of preparing and arranging for a musical fund raising event for this project that she will be staging come October. Joining her will be the Symphony of the Southwest, a cultural icon of the Phoenix area for over 60 years, which annually provides free concerts to over 7,000 needy children.
The event will take place at the Mesa Arts Center; an extravaganza aptly named, “The Night Will Be Filled With Music” which she is also headlining. The theme of the healing powers of music will permeate the evening, she promises, with incredible, infections enthusiasm. The proceeds will go to furthering the work of these two incredible missions.
A mountain of data exists backing her approach that a strong musical education enriches the academic and emotional outcome to a child’s life through discipline, focus, commitment, performance and so much more. Home schooling her own brood of five, with an emphasis on music as part of their core, has proved her out, as all have gone on to rewarding careers as musical professionals, passing this discipline on to six grand-kids so far. Scientific studies have shown that playing music daily, whether as a child or an adult, takes us to a state of relaxation that affects us at the very levels of our DNA. Blood pressure is lowered, breathing is calmed, depression is combated, the immune system is strengthened, and joy pours out.
Joanne personally experienced the healing powers of music as a teen, a power she says literally saved her life. Years later, when a younger brother took his own life at 19, she found comfort and solace once again in the magical, mystical powers of music and healing. Music has been a driving force in her life ever since.
Notes from the writer:
*When King Saul had his horrible migraines, he did not call on David to bring the Percocet. He called upon him to “play soft music on your strings and sing sweetly.” Music was the key to his release from suffering.
** As a cancer survivor with severe chemo induced neuropathy, the writer can also attest to the daily healing properties of playing a musical instrument. Duly noted.
An evening to benefit the Jolee-Jaffa Music Foundation, Inc.
Northeast Mesa, Arizona, January 15, 2016 – The Jolee-Jaffa Music Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce its 2nd annual charity gala event to be held Saturday, March 26, 2016.
“Our inspiration for our gala event is drawn from the Italian Baroque period which produced the world’s greatest musicians. It was an era known for its brilliance, opulence and passion which we hope to capture in this event,” says Executive Director, Joanne Jolee.
The organization launched in 2015 is providing music lessons and instruments to the underprivileged, and promoting the health benefits of daily music making for all ages. Locally, JJMF has established piano, violin and drum classes at Sunshine Acres Children’s Home in Mesa. Internationally the charity provides ukuleles and music instruction to children in a remote Philippine village, “Elvie’s Village.” JJMF is building music diplomacy programs to provide opportunities for cultural understanding through music and is proud to have an affiliation with the Ukulele Club at Arizona State University where the foundation is embedded in their constitution. The club members have the opportunity to become goodwill ambassadors and communicate with the music students via modern technology, as participants in international relations through a shared passion for music.
The annual fund raising event will take place at The Trailhead at Las Sendas Mountain, an architectural masterpiece providing a very exclusive locationwith spectacular views of metropolitan Phoenix city lights, the McDowell and Usery Mountains, and the awe inspiring Red Mountain.
President, Bill Jaffa adds, “We are bringing a spectacular high quality event at minimal cost to raise funds for a great charity that will showcase the foundation in the magnificent Las Sendas setting.”
Entertainment will be provided by some of the finest Valley musical artists, Celebration Strings, an elite string quartet, and Dr. Joseph Felice, extraordinary
Baroque guitarist. Dinner is being catered by one of the best restaurants in the East Valley. And auction items are guaranteed to pique your interest.
The Ball is sponsored by Subway Arizona, Edward Jones, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Security Title, Dr. Robert M. and Ms. Jill Williams, Dr. Tim and Ms. Jennifer Ryan, and many others.
Tickets may be purchased here and include a catered dinner and open bar.
For more information and additional sponsorship opportunities, please contact Joanne Jolee, Executive Director at info@j-jmf or 480-307-9109, or Bill Jaffa, President at 480-649-7146.
You may also mail your check to:
Jolee-Jaffa Music Foundation, Inc.
2034 N. Piedra, Mesa, AZ 85207
The Jolee-Jaffa Music Foundation, Inc., EIN: 46-1610165 is an IRC section 501(c)(3) not for profit that provides music lessons and instruments to promote the health benefits of daily music making.
It has been an incredible year for JJMF – please scroll down for all the latest news.
On behalf of the board of directors we want to thank you for your support of our work and wish you a blessed holiday season and prosperous 2016.
The first JJMF music recital took place Sunday, December 13, 2015, at the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home. A joyful event with most young musicians performing for the first time.
Music is a universal language that has a profound ability to unite people who have opposing religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds, encompassing all ages and socioeconomic levels. Through music, walls of distrust can be broken down and trusting relationships can be built.
We are building Music Diplomacy programs to provide opportunities for cultural understanding through music and are proud to announce our affiliation with a new music club for ukulele players at Arizona State University. Our foundation is embedded in their constitution. The members will have the opportunity to become Goodwill Ambassadors to ‘Elvie’s Village’ in the Philippines and communicate with the music students via modern technology, as participants in international relations through a shared passion for music.