Several months back, apropos of nothing, my 7-year-old son on the autism spectrum turned to me and said, “Hey, Mom. Your body is a wonderland.” Adorable in all its obvious inappropriateness, all I could say was, “Thank you, sweetheart. How nice of you to say.” Immediately I knew that Ethan had discovered — and fallen in love with — the music of John Mayer.
But John, what your music hath wrought. Every day, my son asks, “Mom, when am I going to play a concert with John Mayer?” Laugh if you must, but based on my son’s very surreal past, his request is not that unusual.
Mr. Mayer, you aren’t yet a parent — unless TMZ knows something you don’t — but when you do become a parent, you quickly recognize that you will stop at absolutely nothing to help your child reach his full potential. With that in mind, when Ethan asked when he would play a concert with you, I was filled with the spirit of both Kris Jenner and Dina Lohan (sans sex tape and alcohol, respectively and “allegedly”), and decided I would do what I could to make Ethan’s request a reality.
To be transparent, I am prepared to beg and plead (not to mention grovel) in order to convince you to headline a benefit concert for autism. My family’s E-TEAM is consistently one of Autism Speaks’ top fundraisers in Westchester, New York/Fairfield County, Connecticut; places of which you are well acquainted.
My son Ethan, a musical prodigy, joined the School of Rock in Fairfield, Connecticut (another place with which you are well acquainted) so that he could further his musical prowess, and to help him socialize with others who loved music. (As you know, music is the universal language in which everyone can communicate.) Little did I know, Steve Kennedy, a friend from our consumer magazine days (he was sales/I was marketing), actually owned the School of Rock in Fairfield, and three others in the Westchester/Fairfield area.
Once Steve figured out Ethan was my son, the sales person in him suggested a benefit concert that included a School of Rock “Battle of the Bands” format, in which all proceeds would benefit autism. The marketing person in me knew the event needed an incredibly talented, incredibly handsome, incredibly smart, incredibly loved (sometimes unjustly maligned) and incredibly local musical superstar who could appreciate the efforts of young musicians — especially those with special needs. Lo and behold Mr. Mayer. You, your voice and guitar hold the magic ticket.
My son, so wanting you to play in concert, created a video invitation which you may or may not have seen, where he plays a medley of your songs in between the following request:
“Ethan, a 7-year-old on the autism spectrum, has a special request for you, John. If Ethan speaks too fast, here is the transcript:
My name is Ethan Walmark, and I have autism. BUT, when I play the piano and sing, I'm just a typical kid. I love to rock out, and hope to date as many hot chicks as you do!
I play in a 'School of Rock' band in Fairfield, Connecticut. Your hometown!
My family is a top fundraiser for Autism Speaks. My family and the School of Rock are planning a benefit concert at the CAPITOL THEATRE in Port Chester, New York at the end of the year.
The concert will feature different School of Rock bands from all over the area! A few of the bands include kids with autism! All profits will go to Autism Speaks!
Will you PLEASE consider playing ONE SET at 'my' concert? I love your music and I hope you will.
Today, 1 in 50 kids has autism. With you there, we would raise tons of money for families affected by autism, like mine.
Please give it some thought!
And, bring some hot chicks with big boobs!
Your buddy, Ethan Walmark”
Inspired by Ethan’s determination and moxy, Cox Media’s terrestrial radio station Star 99.9 DJs Tad Lemire and Anna Zap invited Ethan on-air to plead for your musical support.
John, I know you have your own charity called “Back to You” which raises money for health care, education, the arts and talent development, and you recently and admirably spent the day building homes with and for military veterans. There is no question you give back the community.
An autism benefit isn’t new, but the musical aspect and connection to autism recently got a tremendous boost on April 13 when Crosby, Stills and Nash reunited to perform a small-theatre show. The performance was entitled, “Light Up The Blues” to benefit Autism Speaks. In total, the event raised a quarter of a million dollars!
When asked about the event by Chris Epting of Spinner.com, Stephen Stills (who also has a child on the autism spectrum) said, “Shows like this have a different meaning for us because it involves doing something good for kids. And not just because these kids have afflictions. It's obviously good to raise money to help organizations that help with the afflictions, but these are also still just kids and to be able to play with them and hear them sing something, that helps us as well. It reminds us of why we do what we do.“
Graham Nash continued the thought, “… for something special like this, something for children, for there is no question — we make it a priority.“ David Crosby finished with “… for some time now, [we] felt that the best place to put our efforts was with children. With these kids, the affliction is a natural threat. We want everyone to enjoy the music of course, but the real magic for us is when those kids come up and sing with us. It gives our songs really an extra added weight and meaning when you hear those young voices.“ (Neil Young was unavailable for comment, as he was said to be on Sugar Mountain with the barkers and the colored balloons.)
Since April 2012, Ethan:
If my cute-as-a-button 7-year-old who is on the autism spectrum, lives near your hometown and is a musical prodigy, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and the 1 in 50 children today with autism can’t convince, let me throw in my two cents:
Mr. Mayer — John, if I may, and I think I may — please provide Ethan and the 1 in 50 children with autism today the utmost consideration as it relates to our request. In the event you can’t or are unwilling to play a concert with School of Rock for autism, you have my word that I will never, ever, ever write a song entitled, “Dear John” about “our” experience.
Those of us with children on the autism spectrum have been waiting on the world to change. And there is no better place to begin that change than with you, John.
With deepest appreciation,
Ethan Walmark’s Mom
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