Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

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Playing For Change – An Inspirational Story To Share

image I share this with you, in the hopes that when you finish reading it, you will want to share it with others and spread the word about this amazing movement.  For those of you who know me or have followed my Blog for any amount of time, you know that I try to use my Blog to bring information to you that is useful, relevant, and can have an impact for you.  I write this post for any and all readers, whether you are an individual, a business, in technology or not, regardless of where you are or what you do, as one that I believe can have an impact, if not for you, then on you.  I know the subject matter had an impact on me.  After reading this, I would ask you to share this with anyone you can that you feel would enjoy this as well because I do believe it is for a very good purpose.

For those who joined us this week @WPC09 in New Orleans, you had the opportunity, and I would say privilege, to have your days start with the amazing sounds of “Playing For Change.”  Now, having a great band kick-off the mornings at any WPC is not in itself anything unusual; however, in this case, it is the incredible story behind the group playing, and what they stand for, that makes it such an impactful and inspiring story.  

In their own words: “Playing For Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.”

The members of “Playing For Change” come from all parts of the world and all walks of life, many of them street musicians, now united through this purpose.  In fact, the name, “Playing For Change,” came from evoking the coins thrown to street musicians as well as the transformation their music inspires.  They now share their music around the world, through the 501 c(3) non-profit Playing For Change Foundation, to perform benefit concerts that build music and art schools in communities that are in need of inspiration and hope. In addition to benefit concerts, the Playing For Change band also performs shows around the world, including #WPC09.  Below are two video clips: The first is the trailer to the “Playing For Change Documentary Film” and the second is a video introduction to Playing For Change, including Mark Johnson, creator of Playing For Change, telling about the origins of Playing For Change:

Playing For Change Documentary Film Trailer

Playing For Change intro with Mark Johnson


One of the genuinely inspiring members of Playing For Change that I had the great privilege to meet and speak with this week is Grandpa Elliott, from right here in New Orleans.  Grandpa Elliott embodies the spirit of Playing For Change.  From his bio: “Grandpa has been a New Orleans street icon for decades. When you think of the French Quarter you think of Grandpa.  Many locals and frequent visitors to the Quarter consider Grandpa the saving grace and passionate force behind the revitalization of the city since Hurricane Katrina.  His voice reminds us all that music can help the soul persevere through many hardships.”  When we first heard Grandpa Elliott sing, “Stand By Me,” the opening day of WPC09, we were speechless (but the applause thundered through the venue!).  What an amazing voice!  Below is a video of Playing For Change performing, “Stand By Me,” with Grandpa Elliott, as well as a picture I took with Grandpa Elliott on the Creole Queen in New Orleans before the Casino Royale Partner Reception:

“Stand By Me” with Grandpa Elliott

Me with Grandpa Elliott

WPC09 (27)
(Click image for full size)

One quote I loved from Grandpa Elliott, when asked about New Orleans, was, “This is my home and I love it very, very deeply.  You’d need a chain, a bulldozer, to tie me and pull me away from here and I don’t think it would.  The bulldozer will burn rubber, because it won’t move.  I won’t go nowhere.”

In speaking with many others here this week who were able to see and hear the story of Playing For Change, they too were inspired by this wonderful cause.  If you too want to know more about Playing For Change and all of the other fantastic members of this musical phenomenon or get involved, there are several ways to do so:


Thanks again to

Playing For Change for joining us at Worldwide Partner Conference 09 and providing such incredible entertainment.  It was a pleasure!

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman – Follow me on clip_image001 clip_image002
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights

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