By Kristina Balboa
English novelist and journalist, George Elliot once said, “I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs, and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.” This is something everyone can all relate to in time of weakness and a time of sadness. Music has proven to be helpful and according to non-profit organization, Truce Initiative, music is in fact medicine.
According to a study conducted by neuroscientist of music Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, and his postgraduate research partner Mona Lisa Chanda, PhD, it was found that music can improve the function of someone’s immune system and reduce their stress levels. Listening to music alone can be more effective than prescription drugs for anxiety. (Trends in Cognitive Sciences, April, 2013)
Chuck Ahrens came up with the idea for Truce Initiative from the extensive amount of concerts he has attended. In our casual interview, Ahrens elaborated by saying, “We take our daughter from twenty-five to thirty concerts a year and I often hear kids in line saying how the music from the band has saved them and how they wish their parents understood and thus had more money for tickets.” From here, the Truce Initiative was created.
The Truce Initiative has been a non-profit organization since April of 2014 with the intent to provide concert tickets to adolescents and young adults who are at risk for suicide and self-harm. The name was inspired by the song “Truce” by Twenty One Pilots. The name was chosen because of Ahrens’ linked connection to the song and to the organization. “The song’s meaning to me is that we all have demons we fight and we need to call a truce against them.”
Ahrens went on to say, “Recipients are found via social media, those who are posting about being depressed or bullied or feel alone and also by friends who contact the organization about others they know having a tough time. One recipient was brought to my attention by a member of the organization. Her class mate was just released from the hospital for an attempted suicide. Through contacts I have I was able to supply tickets to Pierce the Veil.”
Having been to well over a thousand concerts, Chuck Ahrens knows the joy that live music can bring people. Pulling all strings, working with either the band themselves or tour managers, Ahrens had made many friends in the music industry. The Mowgli’s, Twenty One Pilots, Bring Me the Horizon, and Of Monsters and Men are just a few of the bands Truce Initiative has worked with. Even more recently, Truce Initiative has been working very closely with a fairly new band Civil Youth. Civil Youth will be performing a benefit concert in Philadelphia this August and also offering a drum clinic; a brief introduction to playing drums, open to whomever interested.