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Since 2003 WXXI and the Al Sigl Community of Agencies have worked together with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community to help break the ingrained stereotypes about individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. The year-round project called MOVE TO INCLUDE, is designed to motivate individuals to take action and include more people with disabilities in the workplace, in schools, neighborhoods and in all aspects of society. Dialogue on Disability, a week-long spotlight initiative takes place every January, and is supported by the Fred L. Emerson Foundation with additional support from The Golisano Foundation.

LYNX Amplify: where the words of autism and music meet

LYNX Amplify Project
https://www.lynxproject.org/buy-the-amplify-album

“Autistic children really want to be heard and speak for themselves. Being autistic somewhat conditions me to being passed over when someone asks a question and they look at my mom for the answer. I want people to take the time to communicate with autistic people and actually hear us for we have a lot to say.” - Rithik Sinhasan, Amplify Series Advisory Council member.

LYNX, also known as the Lynx Project, is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that amplifies diverse voices through new song commissions, inclusive concerts, and educational programming.

LYNX Project Amplify Series (formerly Autism Advocacy Series), is a project that sets the words written by youth ages 8-20 who have autism and are primarily nonspeaking, and commissions composers to set them to music for voice and piano. The writers submit poetry and prose to LYNX for consideration by each season’s selected composers. The composers choose which texts speak most to them and they set these to music.

Executive Director Caitleen Kahn talks about Lynx Amplify

Started in 2016, the Amplify Series has grown into a multi-year project that has shared the voices and artistry of dozens of youth, composers, and performers. LYNX has produced more than 30 recitals and events in six states, and has commissioned over three hours of new music.

In March 2022, LYNX Amplify Series will release their first recording project via digital download, CD, and sheet music anthology, which includes access to the creative process behind the making of the recording. Listen to the title track, beautiful small things, words by Ryan Harris, music by Emily Cooley, performed by mezzo soprano Megan Moore and pianist Nathaniel LaNasa.

"beautiful small things" words by Ryan Harris, music by Emily Cooley

In addition to performance initiatives, LYNX is passionate about music education opportunities for youth, through its Composition of a City program, where classical and hip hop artists co-teach a songwriting curriculum for teens on the South Side of Chicago.

LYNX's Executive Director is Eastman School of Music graduate Caitleen Kahn ('15E MM) who co-founded LYNX with Eastman alumni Megan Moore ‘15E, Steven Humes ‘15E (MM), and Florence Mak ‘17E (DMA) in 2015. Learn more about the LYNX Amplify Series.