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Mercyhurst helps local vets spread music, awareness

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Veterans spread healing through music

Research shows that music therapy is effective at reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, verbalization, interpersonal relationships and group cohesiveness. Erie’s Music for Veterans program, which provides local veterans with free music sessions in a friendly, informal setting, is evidence of just that. Now, after years of providing this therapeutic service, the group is raising funds for a recording project in collaboration with vets worldwide.

The project, “Back Home: A Veterans Album,” launches Tuesday, June 14, on the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. It was organized through Mercyhurst University’s Quickstarter initiative, a strategy for conducting successful crowdfunding campaigns that was founded by intelligence studies associate professor Kristan Wheaton and employs university students.

Vinny Stefanelli, director of Music for Veterans, said the project is an outgrowth of a personal love of music as well as great respect for those who have so selflessly dedicated their lives to our country and our freedom.

“Some of the people that come here, this is the only means of emotional support that they have,” Stefanelli said. “Even if they don’t feel up to it that day, they come here and build relationships and ultimately leave feeling better.”

The group is hoping to raise $5,000 to cover the cost of professional recording, production and distribution of the CD. Recording a CD will let members share their musical experience with friends and family members, Stefanelli said. Also, the professional recording will help raise awareness of the group in the Erie community and will serve as an open invitation to other service members to join.

To back the project, go to the group’s Kickstarter site. For more information, contact Stefanelli at 814-873-4500 or via email at Director@Music4Veterans.org .