Cancer survivor records song for music therapy

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Maryville University’s Kids Rock Cancer music therapy program has been sending music therapists into area hospitals for 10 years. On Friday, a young singer-songwriter who is in remission was in a recording studio singing about her experience.

Hailey Spear isn’t your typical singer-songwriter.

“So today we’re recording Hailey,” said Carl Nappa, record producer at St. Louis Recording Club. “She’s singing one of her original songs and we’ve opened up the studio to have her come in and record a version of her song.”

Some of these studio musicians aren’t your typical studio musicians — they’re also music therapists.

It was a broken leg that resulted in a cancer diagnosis of osteosarcoma. Hailey was 17 when she learned the news.

“I had two different types of chemotherapy and then they tried to shrink the tumor but it wound up growing,” Hailey said. “I then went into surgery not knowing if I was going to have it amputated or have a leg when I came out of surgery.”

The experience gave her a new outlook and music therapy inspired to write a song — ‘Brand New Eyes.’

“Making music for everybody, I think, she’s getting the opportunity to express herself and to other people and now they get to hear her voice,” said John Rogliano, a mix engineer at St. Louis Recording Club.

“It’s amazing how music can change people’s lives and heal the soul, all the things you hear about, it’s all true,” Nappa said.

“When kids get these diagnoses, their lives get turned upside down,” said Tracie Sandheinrich, Kids Rock Cancer senior music therapist. “A lot of choice gets taken away from them. Therapeutic songwriting brings back that opportunity for choice.”

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