Kyle Heckler wanted to combine his love of music with his passion for raising mental health awareness. So, Heckler, a Lynbrook native and a music teacher at Lynbrook Music Instruction, spent December planning a benefit concert for the Mental Health Association of Nassau County.
He asked his fellow music teachers to perform and spoke to Jeffrey McQueen, a recruiter for a Hempstead-based mental health facility known as the Turquoise House to assist him. The Turquoise House is a crisis respite and hospital service diversion program that is provided by Consumer Link, the recovery and peer-services division of the Mental Health Association of Nassau County.
At the inaugural concert on Dec. 28, about 40 people were in attendance and raised about $400 for the Turquoise House while they listened to six music teachers perform classical music. The concert also featured poetry and guest speakers.
“I thought it was the beginning of something really good,” Heckler said. “It’s the beginning of probably my life’s work.”
Heckler is already planning a second concert for Jan. 25 from 8 to 10 p.m. at Lynbrook Music Instruction, at 484 Merrick Road. That concert will feature one of Lynbrook Music Instruction’s students, who will be playing jazz and classical music with the teachers. He said he hoped to raise another couple of hundred dollars at that concert so that he could give the Turquoise House a check for more than $1,000. “I really love he place that we’re donating to,” he said.
Heckler also has tentative plans to host benefit concerts at Oceanside-based Barrier Brewing Company, Lynbrook-based The Shannon Rose Pub and Valley Stream-based Sip This. His main goal though, he said, is to perform at Lynbrook High School and spread mental health awareness to the students.
“I don’t want to make any money or anything,” Heckler said. “I just want to spread the word and spread the music.”