Matheny Muses “express themselves”

The Matheny Muses, an eclectic group of young artists and performers from Matheny’s choir, performed Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” at the 9th annual Express Yourself New Jersey. The event, held November 13 at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, NJ, was sponsored by ArtWorks: The Naomi Cohain Foundation.

The Matheny Muses selected “Just Dance” in order to share their love for singing, dancing and playing music, hoping it would inspire the dancer within everyone. Although the Matheny students are all in wheelchairs, they feel music reminds them not to sit in defeat but to move to the music, making them feel as if they were back on their feet. The Music Therapy program at Matheny uses various types of music to enhance and improve students’ and patients’ cognitive, physical, emotional and social skills, helping them realize their potential in society.

ArtWorks, the event’s sponsor, provides children and young adults suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses, and their siblings, access to creative and performing arts programs that encourage the use of the creative process as a vehicle for healing, communication, self-expression and personal development. Express Yourself is a creative and performing arts exhibition that provides these children and young adults with an open and loving forum to express themselves through the arts. In a safe environment, filled with families, friends, healthcare specialists and ArtWorks supporters, these children sing, dance, recite poetry, play instruments and stand proudly by their works of art.

Above: Music therapist Megan Chappius conducts the Matheny Muses as they perform Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” From left, students Yasin Reddick, Bianca Mathis and Jameir Warren Treadwell; music therapist Greg Perkins; and student Najee Rogers.

Below: Matheny student Bozena Geraghty uses her feet to play the keyboard, assisted by music therapist Alissa West.