United by Music North America is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization based
in Portland, Oregon and Gig Harbor, Washington. The organization supports talented
people with intellectual disabilities and gives them the chance to perform on stage.
There is no fee to the artists to be a part of the program.
United by Music was created in the Netherlands in 2006 by Joris van Wijngaarden
and the late Candye Cane, an award-winning singer, songwriter, and performer in
the blues and jazz genres. Joris van Wijngaarden is a blues lover and financial
director of a consortium of independent healthcare providers in the Netherlands.
When van Wijngaarden sought to expand the program to North America, he teamed
with nonprofit industry veteran and Gig Harbor resident Barbara Hammerman and
Barbara's daughter, music festival producer Amanda Gresham. The result was the
founding of United by Music North America. The dream is to introduce United by
Music to every community, so people with disabilities can be treated as equals.
The Vision: Imagine a world in which no prejudice exists based upon race, creed,
color—or developmental challenge. That is the world we at United by Music North
America, and our growing support base, envision. We turn to the power of music
to bring people together.
Hammerman and Gresham have expanded UBMNA’s artist base to include musicians
from Kentucky, the San Francisco Bay area, Portland, Eugene, Tacoma, Edmonds,
Olympia, West Sound, and points in between.