“For Once In My Life”
A Story About the Greatness Within Each of Us
A documentary film featuring the Spirit of Goodwill Band
“The Goodwill Band is a triumph of the spirit, a celebration of overcoming the odds, and a chance to rock out with the happiest musicians on the planet.”
—The Miami Herald
“The sounds that emanate from the band are enough to bring an audience to its feet and tears to the eyes.”
—The (Ft. Lauderdale)Sun–Sentinel
For Once In My Life is a documentary that celebrates the greatness living within each of us, and the music that brings us all together.
The 29 members of the Spirit of Goodwill Band face varying mental and physical abilities, such as Autism, Down Syndrome, and blindness. Music is their shared joy—it transcends age, gender, race, physical and mental abilities, and socio-economics.
For Once in My Life focuses on the 12-weeks leading up to the band's performance at the 2008 U.S. Mayor's Convention, held at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center in Miami.
In 2007, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz invited the Spirit of Goodwill Band to be key performers at the convention, for an audience of over 1000 people, made up of Mayors from 440 U.S. cities, their families and the city's special guests.
Emilio Estefan supported the band and this documentary by providing access to his music and his artists.
The bandmembers face the challenges shared by all performers—individually learning to play and sing new music, while coming together as a band.
And as with all performers, they struggle individually and as a group as they prepare for this one key performance. They also face family members who didn't always embrace their differences, and the support and heartbreak that brought them to where they are today:
• Terry, the blind lead singer and saxophone player, who never fully recovered after being dropped when he was only 14-months old is one of the most inspiring, positive individuals you'll meet.
• Christian, who has autism and is blind, is a genius pianist—a virtuoso performer.
• Nancy is a soprano who is runs her own household. She is the main caregiver of, and breadwinner for, her two older siblings who, like Nancy, have different mental abilities.
• Sam, the drummer, did not thrive in his mother's womb, as she tried to conceal her pregnancy. His aunt raised him, and helped him develop beyond the mental and physical issues he struggled with as a child. The band has helped him to grow socially. He's recently proposed to one of the vocalists, Patricia, and together they have dreams of a life together and having a family.
The stories of the other bandmembers are steeped in heartaches and triumphs, made stronger by the families and friends, and the Spirit of Goodwill Band, which have become their greatest champions and adoring fans.
History of the Band
The band was conceived and began playing music in 1996, within the walls of Goodwill Industries of South Florida, where all members are employed. They started with one piano and have grown into an orchestra with voice, percussions, keyboards and a brass section.
In 2003, the band recorded their first CD—accomplished by time in a local studio that was donated to them.
The band entertains audiences with concerts at veteran's homes, civic commitments and nursing homes. More recently, with an updated repertoire, the band played for a sold out crowd at the University of Miami in 2008 and recorded a new CD, and soundtrack for the film.
In late 2007, a small group of filmmakers collaborated with Goodwill’s President & CEO, the music director and other Goodwill executives, to launch a film that would be seen across America.
By April, news was received that Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and Emilio Estefan were coming to hear the band and it ended up in a great jam session which was taped, as well as more serious footage as they toured the facility where the band members work at Goodwill. From there, production took off as Mr. Estefan gave the film support with access to his music and his artists and Mayor Diaz invited the band to play at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center for the U.S. Mayor's Convention as key performers in June 2008.
For more information contact:
Lourdes Little • 305/326-4181 or visit