It was a quarter century ago that a Berkeley-based program began using the expressive and therapeutic power of music to help the developmentally disabled as a means of communication.

Maya's Music Therapy Fund is celebrating 25 years at its annual spring music festival, featuring performances by disabled young people and adults, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. March 30 at the Richmond Recreation Complex, 3230 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

The program is named for Maya Cooper, a child who was severely disabled and nonverbal, but was able to use music to communicate with the world around her.

Her parents, Dr. Michael Cooper and Dr. Joanna Cooper, established the program after Maya's death in 1988 "so that other disabled people might experience the life-enriching benefits of music therapy."

The program, overseen by certified music therapist Titia Martin-Nagel, has been found effective for people with such conditions as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, brain injury, hearing and vision impairment, ADHD, Rett Syndrome, and other developmental disabilities.

The program collaborates with agencies around the Bay Area and Northern California.

Admission at the door to the spring music festival is $10 adults, and $5 children and disabled. Along with the performances, there will be food available for sale.

For more details visit www.mayasmusic.org, email info@mayasmusic.org, or call 510-845-6693.


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DAVID LAFLAMME ON STAGE: Many may remember the band It's a Beautiful Day and their hit 1969 song "White Bird."

Band co-founders David and Linda LaFlamme and their group It's A Beautiful Day Acoustic will perform at the next Point Richmond Jazz concert at 7:30 p.m. March 28 at historic First United Methodist Church of Point Richmond, 201 Martina St.

"The band performs the music of It's A Beautiful Day along with newer material, moving effortlessly from an almost folksy sound to ethereal jazz to psychedelic to straight on rock and roll, performing from three new CDs and their previous albums," says Point Richmond Jazz.

Tickets are $15 in advance, available with more details at prjazz.org, or $20 at the door if available.

ON STAGE: The tuneful Off-Broadway comedy "Johnny Guitar, the Musical" is the next production at the Masquers Playhouse, 105 Park Place in Point Richmond, opening March 28 and continuing through April 26 with performances at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on April 6, 13 and 20.

"Based on the iconic (and unintentionally hilarious) Joan Crawford film, 'Johnny Guitar, the Musical' gleefully sends up 1950s melodrama and shoot-em-up Westerns."

For tickets or details visit www.masquers.org or call 510-232-4031.

WEST COUNTY NOTES: The 49th annual West Contra Costa Unified School District Student Art Show opens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 22 at the Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., and runs through April 30. The exhibit features original photography, ceramics, sculpture, mixed media, collage, painting and drawing works by middle and high school students.

A special reception with the artists is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 17. Details: therac.org.

  • Down Home Music Store, 10341 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito, presents a free performance of bluegrass music by the Kathy Kallick Band at 1 p.m. March 22.

  • Burl Willes leads the next spring walking tour from the Berkeley Historical Society, an outing around the large and memorable single-family homes of the Claremont Court neighborhood, on March 29. Cost of the 90-minute walk is $8 society members, $10 nonmembers and spaces must be reserved in advance by calling 510-848-0181 or sending payment to PO Box 1190, Berkeley, CA 94701.

  • The Albany Senior Travel Troupe is holding a free informational meeting for ages 50 and older from 1 to 3 p.m. April 7 at the Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave. to cover its schedule of summer day trips and extended tours. There will also be refreshments, a raffle and surprises.

    Registration, recommended but not required, can be done by calling the Albany Senior Center at 510-524-9122. For details about the Senior Travel Troupe contact Sid Schoenfeld at 510- 559-7225.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.