Man travels 1,400 miles to play music for brother recovering from coronavirus

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For anyone living or recovering in a rest home, COVID-19 has kept family members and friends apart.

One family in Bozeman is using music to reconnect.

Robert Graham decided to take a road trip to visit his brother Bill, who’s recovering at the Gallatin County Rest Home.

The plan: gather together a group of trombones and play outside Bill’s room.

“1,400 miles it took to get here,” Graham said.

You heard right — Robert drove from Virginia to put on the musical performance.

“Jeannie Little, the current trombone instructor at Montana State is an old friend of mine,” said Graham. “She used to teach at James Madison University in Virginia. So I called Jeannie up and said, ‘Jeannie put together a trombone section for me,’ and I brought the music and here we are.”

The group of five trombones played a number of tunes, from hymns to classic brass melodies.

Robert said it’s all about the therapeutic nature of music.

“It’s resonance. And that’s the reason I got my trombone together. When you resonate chords with other people, you realize that you’re connected to them in a very non-verbal way,” he said.

And that goes for everyone who’s healing.

“It’s been really, really a tough time. My husband is sick and injured, and the pandemic — it means everything,” said Bill’s wife, Chris Delaney.

“Our community is healing with each other, you know. We stay distanced and we stay covered, but we don’t have to be isolated,” she added.

Graham said for him, it’s about showing up for his brother.

“I’m just here to be here for him. And I think he realized that I drove all this way for him because I love him, and all you can do is show up,” he said.

And for family, that means the world.

“We have a lot of decisions, life decisions to be making here in our future. And thank goodness Robert from Virginia and musicians from MSU put a little joy in our hearts during tough times,” said Delaney.

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