Name That Tune

Benefit concerts fund music for memory care

By Jessica Laskey
August 2020

Did you know a pair of headphones and an iPod can transform lives?

Forrest Reed does, and he’s made it his mission to share the power of music with as many people as possible through his work planning benefit concerts for the music therapy advocacy nonprofit, TunesWork.

A music sales and marketing veteran of more than three decades, Forrest Reed worked for Wherehouse Music & Movies in the 1980s and ‘90s, and helped open Virgin Megastore’s largest outpost in the west in 1994. During this time, Reed began to brainstorm how he could use his access to some of music’s biggest names to help raise money for those in need.

The Land Park resident produced his first benefit concert, Together Hunger Ends, in 1993. The concert sold out the Crest Theatre and raised $15,000 and 4,000 pounds of food. Reed was hooked.

He went on to produce dozens of concerts benefiting various local nonprofits helping those experiencing poverty and homelessness, and recovering from sex trafficking with headliners like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Tower of Power, Earth, Wind & Fire and Mumbo Gumbo, to name a few.

Then Reed’s mother Betty—a vivacious woman in her 90s who was one of the first women to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II—began suffering from Alzheimer’s. Someone recommended that Forrest Reed view the Sundance award-winning documentary “Alive Inside,” which chronicles the amazing results of music therapy with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients through a nonprofit called Music & Memory.

“Music & Memory programs iPods, personalized with a patient’s favorite music,” Reed explains. Because the music center is the last part of the brain to atrophy, listening to music from their youth often helps unlock patients’ memories.

“I programmed an iPod full of my mom’s favorite songs from Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Glen Miller, and took it to her. She sang all the lyrics and when we took the headphones off, she pulled out her photo albums from World War II and could recall all the stories and names. The music had triggered deep memories.”

Inspired, Reed decided to make Music & Memory the focus of his next concert. He co-produced the Music & Memory Benefit Concert with headliners Mindi Abair and Jonathan Butler in July 2016, raising nearly $20,000 to bring the life-changing program to 11 memory-care communities in the Sacramento area.

While securing talent for the concert, Forrest Reed got connected with a local group called TunesWork, which was also raising funds for Music & Memory. Founded by singer/songwriter Ann Roach and health care insurance specialist Mike Silcox in 2015, TunesWork supports a wide range of therapeutic music programs like Music & Memory and Music Partners in Healthcare, which advocates for the use of certified music practitioners in health care environments in Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties.

Forrest Reed joined the TunesWork board in 2017 and has since spearheaded several benefit concerts that have brought in more than $100,000, and provided audio equipment packages and music therapy certification training to memory-care communities around the region.

“If we’re transforming lives through the power of music, why not have musicians and music lovers help us do that?” says Reed, who’s busy planning TunesWork’s next concert the weekend after Labor Day. “I think about all these facilities we’re helping and it’s like I’m placing another pair of headphones on my mom.”

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Jessica Laskey can be reached at Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.



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