Music Moves

Perspectives & Insights from a Local Music Therapist

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Good news everyone! Music Moves is back!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, this summer has shaped up to be quite the busy one – the two months of May and June have just flown by and it occurs to me I have a lot of catching up to do before I post on any of the numerous things that I’ve been up to these past several weeks.  So here’s a list of the cool things I’ve been doing that you can expect to see me posting about in July and August:

Wrapping up the School Year at my Educational placements, and jumping into my Summer roles as Coordinator of the English Language Learners Summer Performing Arts Company (ELL SPA): I was super proud of all my students and staff this school year – even now, halfway through the summer, I am STILL steeped in paperwork recording all the milestones we saw our students blow away!  Awesome to be part of those kinds of positive changes.  This summer we had a record number of students and a number of other “firsts” for this our 3rd go-around with the ELL SPA program.  I look forward to being able to share more here about the populations we worked with there and all that we accomplished.  Until then, however, here’s a cool article that hit the local papers just recently about our group and the MySPA program (our group’s section starts at 5:40 in the video connected with the article).

Renewing my 5 year Board Certification Cycle in Music Therapy: it’s hard to believe I’ve now been practicing for 5 years!  It was a lot of fun to look back over the continuing education documents I’ve accumulated over the years – many great experiences summed up in those little pieces of paper – lots of memories and valuable tools I know I’ll carry with me throughout my practice!

Bellydancing ALL over the State of North Dakota (and beyond!): it has been a monumental year for the Troupe I work with – we hosted our first ever World Bellydance Day workshops, flying in an instructor from Atlanta to teach a series on Turkish style and props like Double Veil and Zills.  We also participated in a national Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign called “Shimmy Mob,” where dancers from around the world all learn the same choreography and perform it on the same predetermined day to raise funds for a local women’s charity of their choice.  Our troupe (which you can see dance in this video), raised funds for the Community Violence Intervention Center, donating proceeds both from the workshops we conducted that same weekend, and the show that night.  Worth ever drop of sweat from that choreography to help keep women in our community safe!  Beyond our World Bellydance Day workshops and performances, the Troupe has been hard at work performing at other events around the state, like the Grand Cities Arts Fest and Sleepy Hollow Summer Theatre Festival, and preparing for more awesome guests to be flying in from Arizona in October and L.A., in July.  It’s gonna be a great year for Bellydance in North Dakota and I’m excited to be part of it all!

Judging a Beauty Pageant in the Southwest corner of the State: It’s from here that I’m actually typing this blog post (or a draft of it at least, cell & internet service in the building where I’m typing is almost non-existent – I like to joke it’s because of how legit this pageant is, but I really just think it’s because we’re pretty far out in the boonies :-)  This is something I’ve never done before and would be unlikely to have the opportunity to do again (this state’s pretty small and you’re not allowed to judge the same contestant twice anywhere, who knew?) so I’m glad I snatched up the opportunity while I could! So far I’ve been very well treated, and it’s exciting to see these young women as emerging professionals on a mission to change the world (or at least their county =p)  Look out, Miss America, we’ve got some smart beauties up here in the tundra!

And last but not least, what else have I been doing this summer?

Preparing for the Role of a Lifetime as Gary Coleman in the Empire Theatre Company’s production of Avenue Q. For any of you who know the show and know me well, it goes without saying that I’m having a blast playing the role of a child star as written for a bootylicious woman of color like myself J For those of you who don’t know the show, think “Sesame Street,” but for grown-ups.  There are some pretty awesome puppets involved, and while I don’t get to be one of them (Gary is played sort of like the “Real People” on Sesame Street, he interacts with the puppets, but isn’t one of them), it is a blast to step outside my usual “therapy repertoire” and sing songs with titles like “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “Schadenfruede.”  Who knows how our little community will react to such a production, but all I ever need for an act like this to be worth my time is a great cast and material that’s enjoyable and challenging to me both as an artist, and as a person, and this production has plenty of all the above! If you’re in the area, the show runs July 30th through August 10th – it’s sure to be a good ol’ rowdy time!

And that about wraps what I’ve been up to (and will likely *be* up to) this summer.  As we cycle back towards the School Year I’ll finish end of year reports from the last academic period and prepare for Kids Camp at the School for the Blind, then my husband and I will be off to see Paul McCartney in Winnepeg for one last vacation before the School Year kicks back into session.  All in all it’s been a good summer, relatively drama and medical-emergency free (knock on wood!) and I look forward to all that the School Year will bring.  Thanks to all of you readers and Twitter friends who’ve kept up with my shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook while waiting for a new blog post – not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for those platforms helping me at least put something new to look at on this page even in the busiest of times!

Wishing you all a merry, musical end to your summers, wherever and whatever that may mean for you!


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