Grammy Award-winning composer, and founder/chair of The Symphony Guild, Mateo Messina, along with DJ Cut Chemist (Ozomatli/Jurassic 5), violinist Lili Haydn, NW Symphony Orchestra, NW Chorale, Bells of the Sound, NW Boychoir, Batucada Brazilian Collective, John Curley and more joined together to create Symphony of the Superhero. All proceeds from this concert benefit uncompensated care of Seattle Childrens Hospital.
Although he has not attained the mythical proportions of a Greek or Roman god, and is not faster than a speeding bullet, Juno composer (and Seattle native) Mateo Messina, is, in his own way, a superhero. He would be embarrassed to be labeled in such a way, but to the children whose lives he has changed through music at Seattle Childrens Hospital, he has a power greater than that of most mortals. For more than a decade, Messina has written a new symphony every year, which he performs at Benaroya Hall to raise money for families with children in the hospital.
Messinas connection with the hospital began when the daughter of a friend passed away from a brain tumor. Not long after, in 1997, he started playing the piano in the hospitals playroom. While there, several children joined in on piano duets and sang along. Messina returned the next week. And the next. And the week after that. He began writing checks from the proceeds of his concerts to help raise money for the hospital. He formalized his contributions five years later, creating The Symphony Guild. The Symphony Guild has since raised money for Uncompensated Care at Seattle Childrens Hospital. It allows families in need of assistance to get care for their hospitalized children, whether they are insured or not. Last year, his concert raised nearly $200,000. The funds raised each year places the Symphony Guild on the Top 25 Fundraising Guilds list at the hospital. Although Messina’s music career has taken him to Hollywood California, he continues to play for the children during his monthly visits to his hometown of Seattle.
Seattle Childrens Hospital is ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report magazine, Childrens serves as the pediatric referral center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Childrens is a private nonprofit providing excellent patient care with compassion and respect, and conducting cutting-edge pediatric research. Since they opened their doors in 1907, they have maintained their founding promise: to provide needed medical care to all children in their four-state region regardless of a family’s ability to pay. The need for such uncompensated care has risen dramatically in recent years. In 2001, they provided $24.9 million in uncompensated care. In 2008, the sum topped $86 million, and they expect to provide more than $100 million in uncompensated care in 2009 to families in need and to cover Medicaid payment shortfalls. For more info on Seattle Childrens Hospital please visit www.seattlechildrens.org.