Band Together Pittsburgh was founded in early 2016 by John Vento, Ron “Moondog” Esser and Jim Stewart.
Ron “Moondog” Esser – Moondog has been a huge part of the Pittsburgh music scene for more than 30 years. The owner of Moondogs and the Starlite Lounge in Blawnox, Ron also produced the Pittsburgh Blues Festival for over 20 years. The Festival, during that period, netted over $2 million. Moondog has also been awarded Philanthropist of the Year.
John Vento – A successful Pittsburgh businessman, Vento returned to music to frontThe Nied’s Hotel Band (voted Pittsburgh’s Best Bar Band.) Through his performances, he has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars.His leadership, charity and work ethic are well known throughout the Pittsburgh music scene.
Jim Stewart – Stewart has spent nearly 35 years in the non profit, communications and youth development world. A TV news photographer, he saw the human condition first hand and left to create opportunities for disenfranchised youth. Stewart developed a maritime themed charter school in Erie, where he worked with over 10,000 students, winning the PA Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award. An innovator, capacity builder and tireless champion for differently abled individuals.
Our mission involves using the universal effectiveness of music to engage, inspire and enrich a population of individuals who are unique in every sense of the word. Those young people on the autism spectrum benefit greatly from music. And they teach us so much as well! Our programming encompasses everything from very basic rhythm and movement to on stage, professional performance and studio recordings.
It is the overall accessibility of music itself that creates the opportunity for each and EVERY participant to be included; to participate and to find success. Music does not judge and yes, the experience is complicated and hard to quantify.
The goal of Band Together’s Mobile Music Lab program is to expose those on the autism spectrum (and their families) to professional, high quality music instruction and performance. Furthermore, it is our purpose to utilize music instruction and performance to help to engage students and facilitate communication, emotion and behavior management and to help to create a fuller life experience. Utilizing Band Together Pittsburgh’s over 60 years of experience in the Pittsburgh music scene, we will create a traveling music laboratory with instruments, recording gear and professional instruction along with an ongoing mentorship program designed to not only provide engaging, effective music instruction but also to utilize music to foster meaningful relationships and concentrate on communication and other interpersonal skills.
Additionally, we will create the social infrastructure necessary for families who are often challenged to find programming that accommodates those on the spectrum, whose behavior is often unpredictable, providing a performance venue and fellowship.
Lastly, it is our vision that, through these programs, that we can change perspectives of what those on the spectrum are capable of; creating a more fulfilling life and being an inspiration to others.