LU student promotes music therapy project

Published 12:08 pm Thursday, March 24, 2016

Longwood University sophomore Madison Lowry recently received a grant from Longwood’s Parents Council to bring the Same Sky Project to the university.

“This dynamic performance highlights empathy and awareness, has received national attention and acclaim and has been seen live by over 25,000 students in the Loudoun County Public School system alone,” Lowry said.

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She said the play is cast by individuals at A Place to Be, an organization that promotes music therapy to any person with a special need or disability.

“Whether an individual has cancer, autism, MS (multiple sclerosis), down syndrome, or even has been severely bullied and cannot find a place to fit in with their peers, no one is turned away,” said Lowry. 

“A Place To Be is therapeutic through the arts, and those involved learn how to play instruments, sing, dance and more. Moreover, one of their biggest aspects is putting on plays. Within the last five years they have started performing The Same Sky Project,” Lowry said.

She said her family has been actively involved with the non-

profit organization.

“My younger brother was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and when my family and I moved to Virginia, my brother began working with Tom Swietzer, a music therapist from our area,” Lowry said.

Ultimately, Swietzer went on to form A Place to Be.

“From the beginning, my family has been an enormous advocate for A Place To Be and my father has recently taken on the task to become president of their board …,” she said.

Lowry said she has spent the last two years trying to figure out a way to share the message of The Same Sky Project with Longwood and the Farmville communities.

She said she was first made aware of the grant process after becoming a peer mentor at  Longwood.

“I knew it would be a long shot as I presented my proposal as an individual Longwood student and not through any particular organization or academic department on campus,” Lowry said. “However, last semester I was fortunate enough to have received a grant from the Longwood Parents Council to bring The Same Sky Project to Longwood.”

According to Longwood, $2,000 in grant money was awarded from Longwood’s Parents Council for the project. The money will help to provide transportation, marketing and venue fees for the project.

“She is an inspiring citizen leader who continues to give her time, energy and passion to helping bring awareness to the Longwood and surrounding community regarding individuals with disabilities,” said Longwood’s Disability Resources Program Coordinator Cameron Patterson.

Lowry, who is from Leesburg, said the project is reflective of Longwood’s diversity and inclusion theme, which promotes the message that “everyone lives under the same sky.”

The production will be performed on April 2 in Jarman Auditorium at 3 p.m. There is no admission charge for the show, and a brief question-and-answer session will follow the 40-minute performance.