Skip to main content

Tuning into the Arts: Supporting the Austin Community

June 04, 2024

From left: Guitarist Richard Murr, Chief Customer Officer; backup vocals Kelly Greenwalt, Marketing; lead vocals Emily Howard, Accounting/Tax; drummer David Richards, Business Development; guitarist Luke Jaroszewski, Solution Sales; lead vocals Sergio Gonzales Parroquin, IT; and bassist David Ramirez, Customer Support.

As a kid, I was always surrounded by music in my home. I bought my electric guitar, a Gibson SG reissue, in 1987 and played it for years. After serving in the Marine Corps, I moved to Austin where my brother and I started a band. Music is still central to my life. Although that experience was 30 years ago, it continues to humble and inspire me.

On the streets and stages of Austin, live music is everywhere—a blending of sounds that creates a distinct global culture in this vibrant city. Preserving and enhancing Austin’s musical tradition means supporting the artists who create it. The expression, community, and connection of live music are epitomized by the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM).

HAAM is more than just an organization—it’s a vital lifeline for Austin’s musicians. It provides critical resources in an ever-changing industry, offering healthcare support that many artists wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. Musicians work every day to maintain a delicate balance between passion and practicality, striving to meet their essential needs without sacrificing the demands of practice and performance. HAAM understands this trade-off and steps in to ensure that the health of our artistic community doesn’t fall by the wayside.

The alliance brings affordable health care to Austin’s low-income, underinsured working musicians, focusing on prevention and wellness. Imagine the relief of knowing that an unexpected illness or dental emergency won’t derail your next gig or tour. That’s the peace of mind HAAM gives to everyone—from favorite local bar bands to solo performers preparing for their first big outdoor event.

HAAM quietly supports musicians when the spotlight fades, ready to address their healthcare concerns when they need it most. Thanks to HAAM, artists have access to essential preventive care, mental health services during difficult times, and assistance with the common occupational hazard of hearing loss.

But HAAM’s impact resonates beyond individual care. The organization also fosters a sense of unity within the musical community, reminding us that while our melodies may differ, our health and well-being create both a bridge and a shared chorus. HAMM has helped spread the message that musicians are a key part of Austin’s cultural fabric, deserving of the same uplift and support as any other essential profession.

The annual HAAM Day is a testament to this. At this celebration, the entire city comes alive with music from every corner, all in support of the alliance. Venues across Austin donate a portion of the day’s proceeds to HAAM, bringing musicians, fans, and venues together to make sure Austin thrives well into the future. This day celebrates not only outstanding music, but the spirit of community that makes Austin such a unique music city.

Our Epicor band, Cloud 9, has been working for the past few months to prepare for the Corporate Battle of the Bands, a live concert on June 5 benefiting HAAM. Our performance is part of the broader fundraising event aimed at providing healthcare services for musicians in the Austin area. We will play three songs in a short, 12-minute set. If you’re local, or visiting the area, we’d love to see you there!

Our talented members come from all areas of the business, including sales, IT, customer support, and marketing. On stage, as in our work, we get exceptional results with a truly collaborative process. Our egos don’t interfere—we simply work things out as a group and do what’s best for the performance. Recently, in a full-circle moment, we needed to buy musical supplies and chose to purchase them from JHS, one of our Kinetic customers and a full-line distributor of musical parts and accessories.

At a time when the arts can be undervalued, HAAM stands as a beacon of hope. It’s a reminder that music is more than entertainment; it’s a joyful noise that unifies and uplifts, a way of life that deserves nurturing and partnership. I’m proud to be part of a company and a community that shares this belief. As Stevie Ray Vaughan said, “Music is a good reason to care.”