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Song Summit Foundation to host first fundraiser in Park City

The More than Music Foundation was established to raise money to fund wellness education and other support programs at the annual Park City Song Summit.

Confusion about the name and its mission has led to a new moniker: The Song Summit Foundation.

The renamed foundation also hired its first executive director and planned a fundraiser, all within a month of its reorganization. Long-time Park City resident Meredith Lavitt was tapped to lead the group. Lavitt has a tenured history with the Sundance Institute and has also served as president of the Original Thinkers organization in Telluride. She sees this position as a way to continue her work, using the arts for empowerment of wellness as well as self-expression.

“I'm excited. It’s mission-based work, which I always seem to be attracted to,” Lavitt said.

The organization’s first fundraiser is Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the National Ability Center. The “Healing Harmonies” event is in collaboration with Nashville nonprofit Songwriting for Soldiers. It helps veterans and active military work through past trauma with songs and music. A panel discussion will be moderated by Park City Song Summit founder Ben Anderson which he says will feature music too.

“Some of the most amazing healing that goes on is with music,” Anderson said. “So, it naturally makes sense for combat veterans and veterans who are trying to have reentry into society. It’s very tough, because they've been isolated, they need to rebuild trust, and what better way have they found then with songwriting circles, so that they can tell their stories and release some of that pain and be able to connect with themselves and other combat veterans to get this pain and get this emotion out in the form of song.”

Tickets are $100 and free for active and retired military service members and first responders.

Anderson also notes the band he’s been performing with for the last four decades - Aiko - is in Park City to celebrate its 40th anniversary and the Fourth of July with two shows, July 4 and July 6. Aiko is a jam band following the tradition of the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers. It fuses rock, folk, country and bluegrass into lengthy instrumental jams.

“If you think about it, Jerry Garcia played with the Grateful Dead for 30 years, and we've been at it for 40,” Anderson said. “Now, that's because a few of us are in recovery, something that never really took with Jerry but we're just happy to still be alive and standing.”

Aiko will be performing as part of the free, four-day Canyons Forum Fest at Canyons Village on July 4. A ticketed event is set for the Marquis Park City on July 6.