Music Students Share Talents

September 24th, 2010 | SMWC

Jennifer Pinson and two Jamaican students
Jennifer Pinson and two Jamaican students

During summer of 2010, music therapy majors from Saint Mary of-the-Woods College (SMWC) students used their time and talents to help others. Students applied their musical talents to serve children with disabilities in schools all around the world.

Seniors Jennifer Pinson and Jena Jones applied their music talents in rural Jamaica for 10 days in May. Pinson and Jones worked with disadvantaged children in schools. These students gave the children something to look forward to every day.

“We really used our musical talent to help energize the kids,” said Penson.

Pinson and Jones also worked with children with hearing disorders. By using specific instruments, the children could feel vibrations and hear certain pitches. The two students admit the mission trip was an eye-opening experience and they were honored to have been part of it. Jones comments on the experience, “Incredible isn’t even the right word…the whole thing just leaves you speechless.”

Cathleen Flynn
Cathleen Flynn applies face paint to an attendee of the Children's Festival

Sophomore Cathleen Flynn was selected through national auditions to sing with the Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorus and spent a week at the festival. In its fourth season, the festival is dedicated to showcasing regional talent as well as featuring important international concert artists.

In addition, Flynn spent two weeks in Kosovo experiencing Albanian culture. She and Nora Dalipi, a student native to Kosovo, volunteered at the Play For All Children’s Festival in Prestina. They facilitated group games and songs for children ages 6-13.

“I still appreciate the experience,” Flynn says. “I loved working with the kids.” She admits she does not speak Albanian. However, Dalipi translated for her. Flynn adds. “The experience also provided an opportunity for them to practice their English with me.”

Senior, music education major, Jessie Uchytil was selected as a member of the Indiana National Guard 38th Infantry Band of Indianapolis. The band performs several concerts a year in Indiana and occasionally in other states. Uchytil says the experience was amazing, “I felt right at home as soon as I started to do my drill weekends with them.”  Uchytil explained the band unit is very diverse in age and occupations. “I could not ask for a better unit to serve my military career with,” she added.

Nicole Gilberti and Nicole Wieg, juniors, spent the summer working at Camp Lee Mar in Pennsylvania. The camp is specifically designed for children with special needs. Wieg worked as the music and movement coordinator. She taught between three and six music classes per day.  She also created lesson plans, took notes on development of the camp participants and assisted other counselors with the children.

“As a Woodsie, I feel like I brought the confidence that is a Woods Woman,” Wieg said. “That confidence and talent helped me bring different groups together and gave new voices and means of expression to children who rarely have that experience outside of the camp.”

These students, who spent their summer sharing their musical expertise, have played a role in helping other communities. The students provided encouragement to others and received a learning experience in return. Wieg said, “I definitely learned that no challenge is impossible and that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought.”

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