Making CD goal of grass-roots project for Chaney VPA students

By Amanda Tonoli


Visual and Performing Arts students at Chaney Campus find freedom to express themselves in a new musical composition and recording class.

Tracy Schuler Vivo, VPA coordinator, said the idea for the class came when she was looking for ways to use everyone’s artistic talents – both students and teachers.

“We just have so many great, talented people here,” she said.

The “grass-roots project,” said Schuler Vivo, contains 10 students of varying musical interests including instrumental and vocal skills. Together, the students feed off one another and have successfully completed six tracks of music.

The goal is to make a CD.

Instructors polish the skills students bring with them and help teach them additional ones, as well, said fellow instructor Sonny Cashbaugh.

Sophomore student Amya Franziskakis, 16, came into the VPA program with the talent of singing and creating her own pieces.

She recently completed an original piece titled “Songbird.”

“I’ve been singing since when I was in diapers. And as I grew up and got more into music and my voice. I started to write music,” she said. “It helps me express a feeling I couldn’t express if I was speaking to someone. I kind of just get lost in it.”

Vivo embraced Amya’s musical passion and connected her to another avenue to perfect – playing the piano.

“Without Miss Vivo, I wouldn’t have progressed so much with piano,” she said. “It’s been hard, but I like learning. Music is basically half of my heart.”

Cashbaugh said because students write their own songs, a certain level of maturity blossoms by allowing them to express themselves.

“This could help a teacher learn what’s going on in the lives of our students, because some of it is so personal,” he said. “It’s good to see what’s going on in their hearts.”

Senior student Deja Ferrar, 17, said working in music helped her express her feelings of discomfort about moving from Asthabula and going to a new school.

Not only was she able to get more comfortable, she was able to bond with other students quicker and better due to like interests.

“Just making songs and collaborating with one another – we come together in sync,” she said. “We have more things in common. ...I believe that this place actually teaches you stuff.”

Schuler Vivo said she is happy the class can provide students with a “real-life perspective as to what it would be like to go into music.”

She most enjoys being able to watch students thrive and showcase their talents.

For information about VPA or the music production class, contact Schuler Vivo at 330-744-8830 or

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