The Healing Power of Music: The Story of Trevor Gibbons

One Man's Life Journey from Despair to Promise

- July 24, 2017

By Shoshana Rozenberg

When walking the halls of Beth Abraham Center on Allerton Avenue in the Bronx, you may hear a strong, baritone voice singing, followed by a full-bellied laugh. Upon further inspection, you’ll meet a smiling man named Trevor Gibbons and he may offer to give you a tour. Mr. Gibbons is a volunteer with Beth Abraham Center and has been for over ten years, ever since they nursed him back to health after a terrible accident.

Originally from Barbados, Trevor Gibbons was a young family man, living with his wife and son in Brooklyn and working as a carpenter in Manhattan. One day he was working outside, four stories up building a window, he was reaching to secure himself to the next floor when suddenly he felt dizzy and noticed the left side of his body wasn’t working. That’s when Trevor fell and dropped four floors to the street.

In what can only be described as a miracle, Trevor survived, notwithstanding significant injuries to his back and neck. After being taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, it was determined that he had suffered a stroke which was the precursor to his dizzy spell and numbing. In the weeks and months following the stroke and the accident, internal family problems arose. In Trevor’s words, “I became very depressed.” Following the treatment for his spinal injury at Mt. Sinai, Trevor transferred to Beth Abraham Center for extensive rehabilitation, eventually relocating to the Bronx.

Unfortunately, the change in atmosphere did not change Trevor’s attitude and he would just lie in bed in his harness feeling depressed, refusing all attempts from the staff to get him energized and motivated in order to get better. He spent his days thinking about his problems, physical and emotional issues, and nothing anyone could say or do could cheer him up.

Until one day, Lucy Butler, a therapist, walked into his room and started singing to him. At last, something inside of Trevor clicked and slowly he began a long and arduous return to his old, vibrant self. He would spend a lot of time looking out the window onto Allerton Avenue and, one morning, Lucy asked Trevor to tell her what he saw. This simple question revived Trevor with life, something he hadn’t appreciated in over a year and he broke out into song. “Sitting at the Window” was his first original song he had written, but he didn’t stop there. From that moment on, Trevor turned anything he felt into a beautiful melody.

Trevor Gibbons became a singer and songwriter, all from his room at Beth Abraham’s rehabilitation center. One fateful day in 2005, Trevor was asked to sing live at Lincoln Center at the Music Has Power awards. And with some help from his therapists at Beth Abraham Center, he was able to get up on stage and sing for thousands of people. He was flying high and truly showed the power of music therapy and the impact it can have on someone’s life. When he got back to Beth Abraham that night, he could hardly sleep. As was now his custom, he channeled all of that energy into his music and wrote a number of songs describing the evening. For Trevor Gibbons, music production isn’t a lengthy process, it’s his key to enjoying and appreciating life.

Trevor loves to share this key to recovery with everyone around him. After being discharged from Beth Abraham, Trevor returned, and continues to return, day after day to give back to the community and the institutions that saved his life physically and psychologically. He is a committed volunteer at Mount Sinai Hospital and at Beth Abraham Center. Trevor goes around to all of the residents and talks to them, giving them hope and shares the gift of music with all of them. Trevor Gibbons is truly an inspiration to all.

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