Melodic Connections, a music therapy studio founded by alumna Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh, needs help painting its new studio space after a storm ravaged its previous location. Join University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music alumni and friends for a day of service at the new studio, located at 6940 Plainfield Road, on Saturday, April 8.

The CCM Gives Back volunteer event is organized by the UC Alumni Association, which will provide a pizza lunch for all participants. Volunteers will meet at Melodic Connections on Plainfield Road from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday to paint the new studio space. Please RSVP online at alumni.uc.edu/CCMgivesback.

Damaged instruments after the flash flood. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

Damaged instruments after the flash flood. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

Flash flooding caused by a storm devastated the original Melodic Connections studio on August 28. The studio, which provides music therapy services to people of all ages and abilities, was destroyed along with instruments, furniture and equipment.

“We lost everything,” said Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh, who graduated from UC with an MM in Oboe Performance in 2002 and an MEd in Special Education in 2002.

Vans floated in four feet of water in the Melodic Connections parking lot. The piano was knocked on its back when water flowed through the studio. Instruments and sound equipment, which were stored on the ground level of the studio, were destroyed along with years of teaching materials. Music therapists poured water out of handmade ukuleles, which had been recently donated from Hawaii.

“Our music therapists were heartbroken,” Nuseibeh said. “The students were calling, offering support and wondering when they would be able to return to their music home. We couldn’t answer. We didn’t know.”

The organization rallied after the storm, with tremendous support from the Greater Cincinnati community. Calls of support, instruments and monetary donations were made to help revitalize Melodic Connections.

“In our darkest moments, we found that our beloved city and community wouldn’t let us stop making music,” Nuseibeh said.

With its original studio in shambles, Melodic Connections had to find a new space for its programs. Now the organization is working to move to its new location so it can continue offering music therapy services to Greater Cincinnati.

Nuseibeh founded Melodic Connections in 2008 after she worked with an autistic student who struggled to communicate with others. She realized that he behaved differently in music class and introduced him to piano. Music gave him a new way of communicating with others. He sang commercial jingles to students in the hallway — his way of saying “hi.” He even sang the Beatles’ Get Back to his teachers to let them know when they were standing too close.

In high school he began taking lessons through CCM’s Preparatory and Community Engagement Program. Now as a young man in his 20s, he is part of the Melodic Connections studio.

“Music has given him a means through which to communicate his beautiful thoughts with the world,” Nuseibeh said.

Melodic Connections offers this opportunity to people of all ages and abilities throughout Greater Cincinnati. Offerings include Adult Programs, Afternoon Classes, Summer Camps and Music in the Schools.

CCMpower provided funding for the Music in the Schools program, which brings music therapy-based learning into 24 area special education classrooms. These programs will still be offered through the new Melodic Connections studio on Plainfield Road.

“This new building will signify a beautiful new Melodic Connections,” Nuseibeh said. “So many more people know now who we are and what we do, so this space will now represent our weaving into the fabric of the Cincinnati music community. It will be a place to build skills so that we can be a part of the rich music culture in this city.”

Melodic Connections students in class. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

Melodic Connections students in class. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

The new Melodic Connections studio is taking shape but still needs some work before it opens its doors. Volunteers at the CCM Gives Back event will help paint the walls of this new space, which will soon be filled with music.

Volunteers will meet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at Melodic Connections, located at 6940 Plainfield Road. If you plan to participate, please RSVP online at alumni.uc.edu/CCMgivesback.

“I am proud of the education I received from CCM,” Nuseibeh said. “In addition to the high standards and beautiful music I was able to create with others in ensemble there, it also created within me a resiliency, grit and determination to achieve great things through music. I know there are other alum that feel the same way and I am truly looking forward to joining them in community on April 8.”

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