DJ and music producer Jared Aaronson ’16 has been passionate about music his whole life. But it wasn’t until he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma during his sophomore year at the College of Charleston that he began to fully appreciate the therapeutic power of music.
Having survived a difficult series of chemotherapy treatments and hospital visits, Aronson recently set out on a national music tour in hopes of bringing comfort to others who are battling cancer.
“It’s really one of the best forms of healing,” says Aaronson. “I’m not saying that I play this music and it’s going to cure cancer, but if I play this music, the people listening who have cancer can be propelled into a higher state of mind through happiness.”
A marketing major and arts management minor, Aaronson spent much of the past year raising money to support his Collective Disparity Audiotherapy Tour through a GoFundMe campaign. The tour kicked off in Miami earlier this month. He and a cadre of friends – most of them from the College – are regaling cancer patients in centers and clinics around the country with his unique brand of music. Accompanying Aaronson on the tour are Connor Burrus ’15, Kenneth Hanson ‘14 and Aubrey Hendrixson ’16, along with Daniel Hill, who attended the University of South Carolina.
Aaronson says that his influences include a wide variety of musicians and musical styles. He often melds various tunes with his own, creating unique tracks for his audiences. “I pretty much do live beat box looping and synthesizers, so it’s essentially electronic,” he explains, “but I also love to incorporate vocalists or instrumentalists when I can.”
Aaronson’s passion for music has been a constant since childhood. “Growing up, I was downloading music as soon as that became possible.” While at the College, Aaronson broadened his abilities by performing as a member of the student acapella group The Chucktown Trippintones. It was a performance with that group that indirectly led to the current tour.
“I volunteered with the Trippintones to perform for some of the kids at the Hollings Cancer Center near the College. We did that show and sometime later, the hospital called and asked us to return for another show. Unfortunately, the group wasn’t available, but I said that I could come and perform as a DJ for the kids. I did that, and got such positive feedback. That’s when it me that I should do more of those performances for cancer patients.”
Aaronson’s tour will take the Collective Disparity team as far west as Seattle and Los Angeles. “We’re stopping in 28 different places along the way,” he explains. “We have also booked three ecstatic dances, which are open to the public and are essentially substance-free dance parties where talking and cell phone use is discouraged.”