This guest blog post is by Garry Kvistad, founder and owner of Woodstock Chimes. The video above was produced by Woodstock Chimes and tells the story of a boy who inspired a fundraising campaign for autism research.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a lot of people throughout my life. I’ve been on a panel with Hillary Clinton. I’ve played music with The Temptations. I’ve won a GRAMMY® Award, and I’ve built an international company from the ground up…
But no individual or event has ever moved me or challenged me quite like Tyler has.
I met Tyler two years ago. His dad, Sean Doi, contacted our team and told us about Tyler’s incredible passion for windchimes. I was curious about his story and invited the entire Doi family to visit New York and to tour our more than 100,000 square foot warehouse.
That visit was nothing short of amazing.
Tyler, who happens to be living with autism, captured me the first moment I met him. He ran to me and gave me the biggest hug. He knew Woodstock Chimes so well that he knew me. He knew who I was, what I did. And he knew our chimes too. As the Dois and I toured our facility - including our chime testing area, which has hundreds of chimes, and my music studio, which has thousands of instruments - Tyler was mesmerized. He was constantly looking. Up, around, everywhere. I could see his focus as he took it all in: the sounds, the movements. He was captivated.
I learned during Tyler’s visit that he has an incredible musical acuity, one that rivals my own. Tyler can identify each of our chimes by name simply by hearing them. It’s a stunning and magical trait.
Tyler and his family have been back to visit us many times, since that initial visit, and he continues to research, study and examine each of our windchimes. He actually owns nearly 100 Woodstock Chimes, which are displayed in his bedroom and throughout his home.
Each of these things – and more – inspired us to create Chimes for Autism: Tyler’s Story.
Chimes for Autism: Tyler’s Story is an 8-minute video sharing Tyler’s remarkable story and Woodstock Chimes’ commitment to the autism community. In early 2014, our team created “Woodstock Chimes for Autism” to honor Tyler and all those living with autism. The chime was also created to give back, which is something Woodstock Chimes is very passionate about. In fact, 100% of the after-tax profits of this windchime will benefit autism treatment programs and research across the country.
I’ve learned a lot about autism in my interactions with Tyler. I’ve learned that passion and enthusiasm are powerful. I’ve learned that seeing the world through another’s eyes is life-changing. But mostly, I’ve learned this: each one of us contributes uniquely to this big world of ours, and that is a good gift.
Please join us in sharing Tyler’s story with the world. Share this video using #TylersStory or #ChimesforAutism. Let’s show the world we’re not so different after all.