Many times disability is confused with inability. A group of musicians, with members from different countries in the world, is determined to break away from the stigma that having a disability carries. They want people to understand that disability does not mean inability, just a challenge. To do that, they promote the work of challenged musicians whose love and passion for music thrives through a façade that hides their talents. These innovators are Can-Do Musos. They want to show the world that people who have disabilities are not defined by them, and can overcome them. Their name, Can-Do Musos, comes from the conjunction of two terms. Can-Do refers to having a positive, energetic attitude, believing that things can be done. Musos are people who are very passionate about their music and perfecting their craft. Can-Do Musos’ mission is to be a global voice for disabled musicians. It hopes to connect people and bring hope to many. This organization wants to provide its members with an outlet through which they can express themselves by means of their music and art, and let their passion flourish. The concept for what would come to be Can-Do Musos was conceived at Dom Famularo’s Wizdom Drumshed studio in Long Island, New York on March 15th, 2013. David Segal from Connecticut, Andrew Hewitt from Australia, Mike Mignogna from Tennessee, and Dom Famularo came together to brainstorm ideas. They wanted to create something that would empower musicians with disabilities, and help them gain acceptance. As a result, they came up with an organization that would help music students with disabilities by networking and promotion of their art. Currently, there are 270 members from 31 countries, and this community of musicians continues to grow. Dom Famularo, David Segal, Andrew Hewitt, and Mike Mignogna, are founders of Can-Do Musos and part of its Board of Directors. Joe Hardy, from California, joined their efforts later on as an Associate Board Member. Dom Famularo has over thirty years of professional drumming experience. He is not only a drummer but also an author, educator, and motivational speaker.
He has been dubbed as “Drumming’s Global Ambassador.” He is constantly traveling to different places to teach and speak to others. David Segal is a professional drummer who plays different genres, adding his unique style. Segal is a fighter. He was born with arthrogryposis, which made his hands and feet clubbed. However, this did not stop him from following his passion. Although his left hand was essentially non-functional, and his right hand had no wrist flexion, he found a way, through wristbands and prosthetics, to never give up and fulfill his dreams. His own disability is what motivated him to form the group. Andrew Hewitt is an inspirational drummer from Australia. Hewitt was born with cerebral palsy, which limits the function of his arms and legs. However, he has been able to manage to have a successful career in drumming for more than twenty years. He is also a teacher, motivational speaker, and disability advocate. Mike Mignogna was also born with cerebral palsy. However, this has not stopped him from playing drums since he was eleven. Mignogna has written a book, Look Ma No Feet, to assist people with little to no use of their legs who wish to learn how to play drums. Joe Hardy is a versatile drummer. He plays different rhythms, from heavy metal to jazz. He was born with no legs. Although this continues to be a challenge, his determination and perseverance have allowed him to stay strong and have a successful career as a professional musician. Famularo, Segal, Hewitt, Mignogna, and Hardy all work together to run this nonprofit organization.
Each is committed to support musicians with disabilities. They may have different backgrounds, but all of them are united by their love for music and their willingness to help others. David Segal, one of the founders of CanDo Musos, stated the vision and mission of the organization. “We want to be a platform for musicians with all kinds of disabilities, either physical, mental, or intellectual, even for people who are in the process of overcoming tough illnesses such as cancer or just had a surgery. We want to provide them with support and access to resources. We are very liberal, very open to everyone,” Segal shared. Being part of the Can-Do Musos community bonds musicians with disabilities in a special way. It lets them know that they are not alone, and that there is a network of support available to them. These musicians get to share their experiences, challenges, and happiness. In addition to this, they also benefit from the positive attention they receive from the media as part of this community. Members from Can-Do Musos get to display their talents and be known through the website, candomusos.com. Many have been offered work opportunities. “We get very excited every time one of our members is given an opportunity. Some people in the community have been presented with job offers, thanks to the attention they get on the website. BBC was doing a huge commercial for the Paralympics; they got ten people from the community to do this, even flew them up there, and paid their expenses,” Segal said. As in any big family, every story of success is reason for happiness. It inspires other members to continue pushing themselves to perform to the best of their abilities and overcome challenges. It encourages them to not give up, to persevere and not let anything get in their way. Can-Do Musos made history in 2015 when about ten of its members performed at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show in Anaheim, California. They were the first disabled band to perform in a show of such magnitude. The NAMM show is the biggest trade show in North America. Music may become essential in a person’s life. For Can-Do Musos members, music has become a motivation to help them overcome difficulties, and has