D-MAN Foundation to host benefit this weekend



Just because your body is shattered doesn’t mean your dreams have to be. There still can be music in your soul.

That’s the driving principle behind the D-MAN Music Therapy Studio in Berkley, a barrier-free, fully accessible recording studio believed to be the only one of its kind in America. Using adaptive audio technology, wheelchair-bound persons and those with severe disabilities are able to record and produce their own songs without the aid of their hands or feet.

To support the studio and the charitable activities of the D-MAN Foundation, the organization is holding its fifth annual “Hollywood Night” benefit Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Lafayette Grande Banquet Facility, 1 Lafayette in downtown Pontiac.

This year’s theme revolves around The Great Gatsby: guests are encouraged to wear their best 1920s style, Prohibition-era fashions. Doors open at 8 p.m.; showtime is at 9.

The recording studio and the D-MAN (Danny’s Miracle Angel Network) Foundation are the brainchild of Ziad Kassab and his musician brother, Calvin, borne from their experience with their younger brother, Danny. Critically injured in an automobile accident at the age of seven, Danny lived as a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. He desperately wanted to record a rap song, but his breathing patterns made it difficult. Calvin brought him into a studio, recorded his performance, then edited out the pauses in his breaths.

“He said, ‘Wow, that’s I would sound like if I could breathe on my own,’” Ziad recalls. “And three months later, he died.” He was 24.

The Foundation also conducts such programs as its Assisted Travel Mission, which funds and organizes outings and even vacations for the disabled. Earlier this month the Mission provided a $2,000 grant for the family of a wheelchair- and ventilator-dependent six-year-old girl so they could take her on a Disneyland vacation.

Ziad says one of the studio’s clients, Jesse Sparkman, has recorded a complete CD entitled Life Without Limits under his performing name, “Little Sparks.” “And this year is the first time the clients who have been recording in the studio will actually perform at the event, which is very exciting for us,” he says.

Tickets start at $150. To purchase tickets or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, go to www.mydman.org.