The mixing board is more than just a device for the Hoekmatties band
Every Vebego colleague is welcome to submit their volunteer project to the Vebego Foundation for financial support. Yvonne Burghouwt, quality officer at Hago Nederland B.V., didn't hesitate when she saw the call and immediately entered her project. Her goal: to buy a mixing board for her friends from De Hoekmatties Band. 'Making music means so much to the band and a mixing board will bring them a bit of independence.’
Donation gives band members with disabilities a bit of independence
Next to her work at Hago, Yvonne and her husband Johan run the Jamfactory through which they organise jam sessions on location for everybody and at all levels. Once a year, they organise a benefit to raise money for a local charity. This time, they wanted to use the proceeds to buy a mixing board for De Hoekmatties Band, a band from Rotterdam for people with disabilities. ‘The band's mixer had been broken for some time and they didn't have the money to buy a new one,' Yvonne explains. When the fundraiser had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she found a perfect alternative in the Vebego Foundation to raise the money after all.
It's been years since the drummer of De Hoekmatties Band dropped by at a jam session in Rotterdam, says Yvonne. 'Because he's in a wheelchair, we adjusted the drum kit to the right height and he immediately started to play along. He mentioned the band he started with the boys from the day care centre. It didn't take long before the idea came up to do a little jamming together.’ And so we did. By now they've been making music together for years and the band is performing regularly. ‘De Hoekmatties Band is always a very popular support act for my husband's band, but they also perform in retirement homes or on Queen's Day across town, for example.’
Tears are flowing
All band members have disabilities so hey always need help from other people - without disabilities - to make music, says Yvonne. ‘For example, sound engineers or people carrying the instruments and equipment.’ The band's mixing board had been broken for a while, so they had to borrow one over and over again, which made them even more dependent. Time to get a new mixing board, Yvonne decided. When it turned out that the fundraiser could not go ahead, the Vebego Foundation crossed her path. If you want something, ask for it, immediately entered her mind. ‘I submitted the project straight away and there was a positive response within no time at all. Let me tell you, I was crying happy tears. All I thought was: ”I’m going to make these people so happy!”.’
A bit of independence
Due to the lockdown, rehearsals at that time were cancelled and she could not see her friends from the band. ‘It was a difficult period. They all live in internal buildings and visits were temporarily not allowed. But she found a nice distraction by secretly preparing her surprise and on the 17th of June it finally happened. That day, after a long time, they all came together again to make music and the surprise could be revealed. ‘Before we started rehearsal, I took the floor very casually. Of course, I first told them that I had missed them so much, but also that we had been secretly working on a surprise. At last, I could finally present the mixing board. And honestly, I had never seen them so gobsmacked. It was the biggest goosebump moment ever.’ The mixing board is so much more than just a device for the Hoekmatties band, Yvonne explains. ‘Without a mixing board you can't perform, you can't make music. But for the band, this gift also means a bit of independence, a bit of freedom.’
Just do it!
Since then, the band has been jamming away and is cautiously looking forward to new gigs. De Hoekmatties Band is so thrilled with the gift that they would like to do something in return. ‘They offered to come and play at our next staff party, so that's a date,’ Yvonne says with a beaming smile. To all her colleagues who are considering submitting a project to the Vebego Foundation, she has one last message: ‘Just do it! Dare to ask. It feels really great to do something kind for each other, to shine a light on others. There are plenty of people who can use it. Not just on the other side of the world, but also just around the corner, close to home'.