Over twenty years ago, an inspiring music instructor, Jim Klages, sparked my love of music. A highly respected cornet soloist in the Washington, D.C. area, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the height of his career. What followed was the loss of nearly everything Jim valued in life: his elite soloist position with the “President’s Own” U.S Marine Band, his house, his financial stability, and his comfortable family life. Not until years later did Jim discover hope for his condition when he met a healer who helped alleviate many of Jim’s symptoms. This marked the beginning of Jim’s return to the art he loved.
Years later, Jim and I reconnected and I learned about his remarkable journey. At first his story of disease and recovery struck me as unbelievable. However, the more I learned about the complexities of Jim’s disease and the way each individual is uniquely impacted by it, the more interested I became in bringing his story to film. As production began and Jim and his wife and caretaker, Carol, shared their experiences with me, the film took on compelling new dimensions; I discovered a story that was as much about a family’s struggle to persevere as a story of chronic illness.
Featuring Wynton Marsalis, MS researchers from the National Institutes of Health, and the current and former directors of "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band® in Washington, D.C.