Merrill Osmond Hosts Benefit For
by Vernell Hackett
June 21, 2011
||Merrill Osmond is bringing a very special guest to the Symphony of Wellness concert Friday (June 24) at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. His son, Justin, who was born 90 percent deaf, will play violin during the benefit, joining fellow guests Gary Morris, Irlene Mandrell and Papa Joe's Children's Choir.
Justin also is head of the Olive Osmond Perpetual Hearing Fund, which will benefit from the event. The fund was named after Merrill's mother, who had two sons born deaf. Olive devoted her life to healing people with hearing impairments, and is credited with starting her children on a musical journey in order to make money to buy her sons better hearing aids.
"It was her idea, and Dad helped put the show together," Merrill tells The Boot. "When we started singing, we realized that we had this family harmony. People would throw money on stage and our little brother, Jay, who was about two, would go out and pick up the money. That's when we started the Osmond Foundation, with the entire family behind it."
Merrill admits he would have chosen a different career had he had the opportunity. "Ever since I was a kid, I had always wanted to be in the medical field. I wanted to be a doctor, but I never had the chance to go to college and get a degree. Now I've been in the music business 50-plus years, and I have chosen to align myself with Well City, whose goal is to make the world well, one city at a time. The organization uses the latest technology and programs to build a wellness community where people can connect, share, and impact each other's lives."
Merrill's interest in healing and his career in music go hand-in-hand. "I studied music at an early age, and being the lead singer of the Osmonds, I had to learn about emotions and pacing a show. You can lose an audience if you don't understand how to pace the show. Music can make you cry, laugh, get mad ... if I have a person in the audience for one hour, I can take them through so many emotions.
"Then I learned that music was the only form of communication that goes straight into the soul, so you can understand why darkness and light have utilized music to create whatever their message is. With the light and power of music you can create joy, happiness, faith and hope. It doesn't matter in theory what the music is, because the message bypasses intellect and goes straight to the soul."
Merrill says Gary and Irlene are friends who also understand that music is a real key in helping people get well. "I have seen first hand how emotions can be drawn out when depression sets in, or when struggling to find answers to something. I'm so wrapped up in it, I've learned all these techniques I mentioned earlier because I wanted to understand the body and nerve endings, and specifically the hearing impaired issues."
Merrill has actually gone to school to learn a few skills that he believes will help him use music and other elements of art to work together to heal. "I have a degree in massage therapy, reflexology and hypnotherapy. The bottom line for me is taking what I know scientifically and spiritually and emotionally, because we are at a stage on this planet where we can truly help people beyond the technical breakthroughs, through spiritual, feeling and emotions that keep hope and faith alive."
One of the things Merrill discovered during his studies is that it is a scientific fact that there is a note that tunes the body and brings it into sync. Friday night he will sing a song, 'Impossible Dream,' in that key, which is B. "While I sing that song, we will show a video of Justin going through all the hearing techniques. In Justin's case, we never treated him as a deaf individual because we always believed he would be normal. Music was a part of his life from two or three years; we always believed he would do it. He will be onstage playing the viola and the audience will see first hand how, even with a 90 percent hearing loss, he can play like the best of them."
The lead singer of the Osmonds hopes to hold three or four of these Symphony of Hope events across the country in the coming year. He has already staged several in castles in Europe, which were attended by wellness doctors from all over the world. "We had over 1,000 people show up," Merrill reports enthusiastically. "I've been able to develop a philosophy with music and the spoken word, where you can get past the intellectual side of brain and go into the soul of a person.
"Well City, which is located just outside of Nashville in Brentwood, bases their program on what I've been preaching and teaching for 20 years. This concert will benefit the hearing impaired side of the program, which is so dear to me since I have spent my life with my brothers and my son. Some other year might be a different cause to create awareness for a different organization.
"I've been blessed to have my voice on over 100 million records, but I'm 58 and this is my passion now. I want to take all I've learned throughout my career and bring it to this concept, which uses all kinds of artistic concepts to aid in healing."