Brian Owens

Far Lft, Brian Owens; Middle Lft, Sara Michaelis; Middle Rt, Stanley Johnson; Far Rt, Sonya Murray
Alex Heuer

The St. Louis Symphony and Maryville University collaborated to create an 8-week music therapy program called “Life Compositions” to help students at Confluence Academy Old North deal with the challenges and trauma of growing up in urban neighborhoods. Graduate students in Maryville’s music therapy program worked with the youth to write and record songs, which they will highlight in a concert titled “Courage Counts” on June 4.

The Normandy High School Chorale performing in February 2014.
Tim Lloyd |File Photo | St. Louis Public Radio

We confront trouble in various ways, and the most destructive of them and wasteful of them is violence. Certainly, tragically, the death of Michael Brown Jr. on Aug. 9 in Ferguson was a mean-streets example of the most malevolent sort of violence, a violence that generates an expanding circle of suffering, one affecting exponentially the lives of a huge and diverse population.

It’s been almost trendy to talk about Ferguson’s young leaders lately, but youth leadership and community involvement is nothing new in the Ferguson area. For nearly four years, the Ferguson Youth Initiative has worked to connect teens and young adults with community events and opportunities.

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

You can read more about Brian Owens, the Funky Butt Brass Band and Bill Forness and One More Round, A Tribute To Johnny Cash. Or just check out what's coming this week:

Musician Brian Owens
(Courtesy Brian Owens)

St. Louis vocalist Brian Owens continues his Masters Series with the music of Ray Charles Friday, April 18 at the Sheldon. 

“I’ve always been enamored with, not just covering certain musicians, but really preserving their music. Folks like Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, I just don’t hear their music a lot performed live with original charts and different things like that anymore, so that … spawned the desire to want to cover these musicians in a setting that was more of a concert setting,” said Owens of the series.

Musician Brian Owens
(Courtesy Brian Owens)

St. Louis vocalist Brian Owens will be performing a holiday concert to benefit a University of Missouri-St. Louis scholarship fund this Sunday at the Bistro at Grand Center. The event is sponsored by the UMSL African American Alumni Chapter.

"It’s been a real blessing for me to continue in partnership with the university I graduated from," said Owens, who graduated in 2008.

In addition to his connections with UMSL, Owens also has working relationships with Sterling Bank and other local businesses.

Mary Edwards

Kids Rock Cancer is an outgrowth of Maryville University’s Music Therapy Program.  Inspired by the program Purple Song Can Fly in Houston, Texas, the Maryville program goes into hospitals and works individually with children with cancer and other blood disorders.  The musical therapist helps the child express a set of thoughts and ideas, turn them into lyrics of a song and compose a tune for the lyrics.  Then the child gets to sing the song into a microphone with instrumental accompaniment.  The result is a CD recording for t