Inspired by a trip to Managua, Nicaragua in 2005, musician Brad Corrigan founded Love Light & Melody, a nonprofit that serves vulnerable children, amplifies their stories, and inspires hope through art, music, and education.
We had a chance to chat with the philanthropic musician and member of the indie band Dispatch on his humanitarian work, life and more.
SH: Why Nicaragua?
BC: I was invited to go to Managua to play a youth rally with my band at first, and then a friend’s church reached out to me to see if I would go visit an orphanage that they supported. So between the two invites it really felt like something bigger than I could see was happening.
SH: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to running a humanitarian nonprofit?
BC: Keep your heart connected to all that you do. It's a lesson I'm still learning; how to remain sensitive, inspired and child-like in all that you do. And to dream, despite all of the organizational responsibilities that increase as the scope of your work grows.
SH: What does the name of your organization mean (Love Light & Melody)? What is its general focus?
BC: Love Light & Melody are the three words that hit the page of my journal after a really dark day in La Chureca – the trash dump community in Nicaragua where more than 250 families were living and working. I saw so many kids riding on the backs of the garbage trucks, huffing glue; I saw vultures blacking out the light in the sky, and it was super windy and dirty. Just a horrid day where there seemed to be no hope, and where I felt particularly helpless in the face of such literal and figurative darkness.
But in the midst of my journaling and soul searching that night, I felt God speak those three words over me: "Brad, you can be and speak LOVE without speaking Spanish; you can be a LIGHT and shine into the darkness where even the tiniest little pin prick will win; you can sing and bring MELODY to break the silence and violence of this place…”
Love Light & Melody’s focus is to unify people around specific stories of brokenness, particularly where there is a great deal of child vulnerability. Amplify the greatest needs within that given community, and multiply all the people and resources that we can to bring restoration.
SH: If someone asked you how they could help change the world, what advice would you give them?
BC: Find and address your own inner poverty before you attempt to help anyone out of theirs. Make peace within yourself before you try to be a peacemaker. Look deep inside your heart and ask God what dreams He deposited there. Once you know that, pursue those dreams with all that you have. Once you are fully healed and alive, you will immediately have the authority, wisdom and humility to address some of the world’s brokenness.
SH: What 3 things do you treasure most about being in the band Dispatch?
BC: Chad, Pete, and our families. We are 20 years into the adventure that is Dispatch, and through every peak and valley, our families have been there to support us and oftentimes journey with us. We’ve all come to realize just how valuable our collective tribe is; there’s nothing greater than the love and respect we have for each other and getting to share so much in each others’ lives.
SH: What advice would you give to a group of friends who are just starting a band?
BC: Play anywhere and everywhere for anyone who will listen, whenever and however!
SH: What keeps you up at night?
BC: Stories of needless violence. The idea of people losing their hope.
SH: How important is it to find your purpose in life? Have you found yours?
BC: That’s the singular purpose of life: to find it! Mine is to love the person in front of me with reckless abandon and to see the world as a huge clan of Corrigans.
SH: If you could only play one instrument for the rest of your life, what would it be?
BC: I would play a surfboard.
SH: If you could invite any four people in the world to join you for dinner, who would it be and why?
BC: Jesus, Gandhi, Marley, and probably Julia Roberts. Isn’t it obvious why?!
SH: What makes a hero? Do you have one?
BC: Somebody who has seen the highest highs and the lowest lows, and still walks in grace and humility. Yes, my dad.
SH: If you could tell your 18-year-old self anything, what would it be?
BC: To go to Iceland and buy a cabin somewhere in the Westfjords. Can I tell myself that now, please?
SH: One book, one movie, one album?
BC: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven, Princess Bride, Motorcycle Diaries.
SH: If you could jam with any musician in the world, who would it be and why?
BC: Eddie Vedder. He surfs, plays uke, and sings like no other.
SH: If you were stranded on a deserted island and found a backpack washed up on the beach, what three items would you hope to find inside and why?
BC: A spearfishing gun, mask / snorkel, and flint stick.
To learn more about Brad Corrigan and Love Light and Melody, visit lovelightandmelody.org.
Photography by Brian Nevins.
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