The Power of Music


Written by Lisa Cerullo

I have read that music is the kinetic energy that connects earth with the heavens. Any form of music, whether it be a spiritual hymn, an operatic sonata, a baby’s lullaby, or the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibration”, can resonate our thoughts and feelings of love and reach out to our angels that have left their life on earth.

This has been the mantra that I live with ever since my son Vail left his life on earth for the heavens at the young age of twenty years. Vail had an absolutely heavenly voice. His pitch was always on pitch. His melody was always sweet. In addition to being a singer, he played guitar and piano and even blew the horn of a saxophone at one time. On June 18, 2012, Vail was in a tragic accident while he was riding his motorcycle in Boston, Massachusetts. His friends from Berklee College, Emerson College, and other colleges across the United States attended his memorial service in Pennsylvania. At the service, his friends played the guitar and piano and sang songs that Vail had sung for performances in high school and college. At the end of the service, Michael Buble’s Home was sung by Vail’s friends while two white doves soared to the heavens.

It has been more than a year since my son died. At times, it has been difficult for me to listen to certain songs, but now I find joy in listening to his memorable songs. I have learned to appreciate the way music can connect human beings. The connection is real, knows no discrimination, and allows individuals to share their hidden talents that may blossom into personal successes.

I believe that Vail has given us this gift of recognizing the many virtues of music. It gives me great pride to contribute funds to build a community library with a music department for the residents of Chacraseca, Nicaragua in honor of Vail.

The community of Chacraseca has been selected for many reasons. Last spring, my husband and I had the privilege to tour the community and surrounding areas of Chacraseca with Michael Cipoletti. Michael introduced us to children of the community in elementary schools. In one of the English classes that we visited, children were singing a song about cats and dogs in English. The children were full of life as their voices became louder and louder. Their happiness was contagious. Their singing was loud enough to reach the heavens and put a smile on Vail’s face. Indeed, I saw Vail’s smile at that moment! When the children finished singing, the teacher instructed the children to introduce themselves to us in English. The enthusiasm and sincerity of the welcome of the young, bright-eyed children reflected their gratitude to us for allowing the human exchange.

The last day of our visit to Chacraseca, we were the guests of honor at a town meeting. The meeting gave us the opportunity to meet some of the older students from Chacraseca that had been recipients of academic scholarships in past years. Several students presented their reasons for believing that a community library would be beneficial to Chacraseca. Every student was genuinely grateful for the opportunity to have a library in the center of their community. Such a library would allow them to study by using books and computers that would be available at the local library and obviate the need to travel to León to use the university library. Familial support of students demonstrated at the meeting and throughout our visit was heartwarming. At the meeting, parents expressed appreciation of the way a library in Chacraseca would complement the education of not only younger children, but also the community’s adult population. The library could serve as the educational center of Chacraseca and offer educational classes taught by library staff and other professionals from both within and outside of the community.

The dedication of the citizens of Chacraseca to their community was humbling. Most blue and white-collar workers who were raised in Chacraseca and graduated from college have returned to live in Chacraseca to continue the growth and legacy of the community. Every generation demonstrated unwavering pride in and love for their community

On a personal note, I am a therapist for individuals with substance abuse and mental health disorders and currently studying for my doctorate in social work at Widener University in Pennsylvania. As a professional who is educated to be an advocate for people that live in marginal conditions, I am confident that I can make a difference in the lives of the people of Chacraseca and enrich the educational and musical talents of the community.

I thank the community of Chacraseca for allowing the legacy from my son Vail to build the library and to sustain the success of the library for years to come. I envision my children and future grandchildren and great grandchildren continuing the project and assisting with further development in the community.

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