"Where Words Fail, Music Speaks"


Band Together Pittsburgh (a community based non profit using the power of music to engage and enrich the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families) proudly announces the REBIRTH of the very popular Pittsburgh Blues Festival.

The 2017 Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival will take place on July 22 and 23, 2017 at the Shrine Center in Cheswick, PA. The Festival will feature two days of exceptional music with national touring acts and popular local musicians, good food and most importantly an inclusive environment that recognizes, respects and celebrates the lives of differently abled individuals and their families.

“We’ve had a lot of success with the Pittsburgh Blues Festival,” said Ron “Moondog” Esser, long time Blues Festival producer “We’re really excited to continue to provide a great weekend of music with a new focus.” Esser, one of
the founders of Band Together Pittsburgh, will, again serve as producer of the event.

Proceeds from the 2017 Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival will help support the work of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh, to improve the lives of those with autism and their families, and those providers who work with them in Southwestern Pennsylvania. “We are excited to partner with Band Together Pittsburgh to promote not only the outstanding music that this festival draws, but to increase awareness of the special needs of people with autism,” says Jesse A. Torisky, President of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.

Band Together Pittsburgh uses the universal effectiveness of music to engage, inspire and enrich a population of individuals who are unique in every sense of the word. Our programming encompasses everything from very basic rhythm and movement to on stage, professional performance and studio recordings.

The mission of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh is to provide advocacy, support and thorough information on care, treatment, educational and rehabilitative service options available for those with autism spectrum disorders, autism-involved parents and families, and to professionals who work with them.

•To encourage expansion and develop excellence in a continuum of appropriate service options.
•To provide unbiased information for ALL such options to parents, families and to the caring professionals who work with them to reduce or overcome autism-disabling characteristics
•To help autism-involved parents, families and professionals grow by providing as much relevant information on autism spectrum disorders as is known to us

For more information, please contact Jim Stewart Band Together Pittsburgh Executive Director at
412.522.2563 or email jimstewart@broadreachstrategies.org

Spectrum Band 

Our focus is to create a “culture of can;” to demonstrate to people the awesome potential of individuals on the spectrum and to create experiences and opportunities to learn and to grow, musically, academically and socially. Our relationship and support of the band, Spectrum https://www.facebook.com/SpectrumBandPgh/?fref=ts highlights our philosophy and underscores our methodology.

Band Together Pittsburgh works with Spectrum at rehearsals, secures gigs and promotes the band and even helps with transportation when necessary. This Christmas season we went in to the studio with Bobby, Justin, Christopher and Erin and recorded “Run, Run, Rudolph (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/spectrum6) It is a truly professional effort that we are very proud of. Additionally, at our Christmas show, playing in support of two other professional acts, Spectrum drummer Christopher, sang Blue Christmas, FOR THE FIRST TIME, ON STAGE! When we say, “when words fail, music speaks” it was very true that evening.

Please visit the Spectrum and Band Together Pittsburgh Facebook pages and watch their videos, you are certain to be impressed. When there is an opportunity to go and see them perform, please do. Music is not going to cure autism, but in its own way, it lifts us all. It certainly enables these young people to soar.

Our programming is universally accessible. We provide the means, the music and the manner in which the whole family can participate.

Mobile Music Lab Band Together Pittsburgh will begin this program in early 2017 through a grant from the PA Department of Eduction. We will have a portable trailer filled with instruments and travel throughout Southwestern PA, providing music programming and performances in partnership with autism programs across our region.

2017 Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival Band Together Pittsburgh will bring this popular summer music happening back! Same top flight acts, same great time with the proceeds going to benefit vocational education and job training for individuals on the spectrum who have aged out of high school.

Playin’ Out As interested and talented musicians are identified, We have the mechanism in place to provide education, mentorship and opportunities to perform enabling individuals to explore and participate in the Pittsburgh music scene.



A unique aspect of band Together Pittsburgh is that our knowledge, experience and passion for creating meaningful opportunities is not limited to music. We believe that nature sings her own song and we encourage all of our participants and their families to spend some time out of doors AND on the water!

Several years ago, Band Together Pittsburgh founder, Ron “Moondog” Esser bought a 42′ Friendship Sloop and named her Momentum. Momentum served as a school ship for the Bayfront Center for Maritime Studies (founded by Jim Stewart, Band Together Pittsburgh cofounder.) During this time, the program operated in partnership with Pennsylvania Sea Grant earned the prestigious PA Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

Momentum sails now in support of Band Together Pittsburgh’s mission. We know, instinctively, that being on and around the water makes us feel better. “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken,” Nichols writes in Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, published in July. “We have a ‘blue mind’ — and it’s perfectly tailored to make us happy in all sorts of ways that go way beyond relaxing in the surf, listening to the murmur of a stream, or floating quietly in a pool.”

Because of our work with individuals on the autism spectrum, we are sensitive to various stimuli and can customize a sailing outing to accommodate different needs. Also, for families, it’s a great time to find some quiet.

So send us a message and let’s go sailing!