As we get closer to our release date (June 20), I have been reminded by a few people that I should share about our intention around selling this album. This is a donation project (and has been since its inception). I want to sell this album, because I believe that art has value, and people appreciate that value more fully when they are asked to pay for it. But I was never sure how much money there was to be had in this niche, or indeed in recorded music in general (research update: not a lot). So instead of worrying about any money we might make, we chose to treat this as a fundraiser for a worthy cause. And for us, the cause was an easy choice, and one that ties in thematically with the album itself, and the title.
Any of you who have met our son know what a joyful, loving, funny, and precocious child he is. Some of you are aware, and others may not be, of his struggles around developmental, sensory, and attention issues. Thanks in large part to my wife’s background and insights, we identified these issues when he was still a toddler, and were able to get him early intervention therapy. I can’t emphasize enough how much early intervention helps a child with developmental challenges. It is never too late, but the earlier issues are recognized and given appropriate therapy and teaching, the better for the child’s long-term prospects, and the fewer interventions are likely to be needed later.
One program in particular was transformative for us: The Therapeutic Nursery at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. It’s a half-day, parent participatory preschool program. It’s unusual in that it’s for kids who have developmental issues but also average or higher intelligence, a category of kids who are underserved by many other programs. The program is intensive and very challenging for the little ones, especially at first, but both the child and the parent or caregiver get a wealth of attention, nurture, and learning about how to cope and adapt. Two and a half years in the program were life-changing for us.
For a class of 9 children, with a ratio of 2 trained educators for every child, tuition for the program is substantial. We were blessed in that our school district was at the time one of the few that was prepared to fully fund our son there (draconian state budget cuts changed that months after he graduated). But if they’re not helped by their school districts, the cost can prevent families from enrolling.
We built this album on a shoestring budget. Virtually everyone’s time was donated (or in a couple of cases offered at very generous rates). The hope is that whatever modest amount we are able to raise selling Hidden Gold we will be able to send to the Nursery, helping them continue their mission of changing children’s lives for the better. That is where every penny we net from this project will go.
[EDIT: My dear friend Aneleda gave me a suggestion today, and I am taking it. My revised pledge is to donate all net proceeds (after dealer commissions and possibly expenses) to the Nursery for 2 years from the launch date. After that point, the residual revenues will probably taper off to the point that being bound by a promise to keep donating the remaining nickels and dimes will become something of a pointless burden.]