Thursday, September 9, 2010


Just when I begin losing confidence in our young 'uns, I run into someone truly inspiring. Corynn is a Pearl City native who is learning to use her musical skills to help other people.

Corynn plays the piano, cello and sings. When she entered Indiana University in 1996, her course of study was in vocal performance. Needless to say, I would be embarrassed to sing or play the piano in her presence. She would likely giggle. Or maybe just plain laugh out loud. I would do the same, quite frankly, given similar circumstances.

I observed Corynn at the Hiolani Center which is a part of Kahala Nui  the other day. She was assisting Yoshimi, a musical therapist with Sounding Joy Therapy, Inc. What they do is, through a universal language like music, get the elderly to interact by banging on tambourines, bells and other percussion instruments. It engages the patient's physical, emotional and mental processes. I was very impressed.

I watched as they held the instruments out and made the patient reach out a little further each time for physical exercise. It also engaged the patient mentally because they have to recognize that they have to hit the instrument. At the same time, the patients emotionally embrace the music and their fellow patients by interacting with each other through the music.

Corynn has been a flight attendant for about 10 years. She is currently with Hawaiian Airlines, but was with Aloha when they closed their doors. That's when she decided to think about returning to school to secure a better future for herself. But she wasn't sure as to what she wanted to do for a career. It dawned on her that she enjoyed helping others as she had volunteered at her son's school for various projects. She also realized that she maintained her passion for music.

So, she took action and enrolled at Honolulu Community College in their Human Services program. Part of the requirements for obtaining her degree was to have 6 credit hours of practicum experience. She feels very fortunate to be able to volunteer at Sounding Joy Therapy because it offers her the ability to have hands-on experience with helping people, utilizing her musical skills and fulfilling her practicum requirements. While her participation is minimal at this time, she is able to do hands-on work with the patients and provide encouragement during the sessions.

Sounding Joy has a Gala to be presented  on September 12. An organization such as this needs to rely on fundraisers to continue to operate. Also, please browse through the webpage to see the work they do in using music as therapy.

Corynn's progress at school is at a slower pace because she works fulltime and can only takes classes that fit in with her flight schedule. She is in her third semester in her practicum work with Sounding Joy. Last semester, she was able to assist Sounding Joy therapists at Campbell High School and worked with students with mental or physical disabilities.

Meeting Corynn gave me some hope as a geezer that there are talented and caring young people going into the field of caring for those who cannot take care of themselves. An amazing person who will do well in her chosen career.

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