EmVP: Music therapists spread joy with sidewalk chalk
COLUMBIA - At the entrance to the playground at Cosmo Park in Columbia, you'll find a brightly colored message waiting for visitors. It's some of the lyrics to the song "Summertime" by Janis Joplin.
"You're going to rise up singing," said Kristin Veteto reading off the lyrics on the sidewalk. "You're going to spread your wings, child. And, take to the sky."
Veteto is the owner and a music therapist, too.
"We are spreading the joy in any way that we can," she said. "It's certainly a way to reach people that we wouldn't have been able to before."
Another music therapist with Giving Song, Ellisa Morris, came up with the idea to share the musical messages all over town.
"I thought this would be a hands free way to bring music to people," Morris said. "I think this is a unique way to reach our community and bring unity."
Morris and Veteto said they encourage everyone to get involved in the Rock On Project. They said people can simply share photos on social media when people see the lyrics around town. Or, you can get out chalk yourself and add some color to your driveway. Share your photos using the #RockOnProject.
"We want them to share with friends and family to share the hope, the joy, the message of what the music is saying," Veteto said.
The therapists have gone chalking all over town. They've drawn lyrics downtown, outside senior living facilities and at local parks.
Morris recently finished drawing a line of lyrics from Journey's song "Don't Stop Believing" at the beginning of a local trailhead.
"'Don't Stop Believing' is kind of an encouragement for running or biking...so, I thought it would just be fun here," she said.
As she worked, some trail goers stopped to learn more, including father of three, Casey Buckman.
"I just wanted to see what we were doing and what the cause was. I figured something good was happening," he said. "Let's you know that there's lots of people doing good things in the world and we're all just doing the best we can to keep it going."
Veteto said the Giving Song's mission is to empower, connect and heal the community and their clients through music. She said the Rock On Project aligns with that mission.
"This is just a tangible, visual way that we can do that," she said.
Morris said their work as music therapists has changed as they've made adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of their sessions are now done virtually instead of in-person.
"As musicians we know how to improvise and that's what we've done. Music is just a beautiful tool to reach people even when we can't be there in person," she said.