Michael Shirtz

By Sheri Trusty, Port Clinton News Herald

LAKESIDE — Musicians and educators Dr. Deforia Lane and Michael Shirtz will host a workshop at Lakeside Chautauqua which will help participants recognize and implement the power of music to heal and inspire themselves and those around them. “Finding Your Way Chautauqua Workshop” will be held Sept. 23-24. The event is open to anyone age 14 and up, regardless of musical ability.

Through a series of sessions, Lane and Shirtz will use stories and hands-on exercises to bring the elements of music therapy and artistic creativity down to street-level practical application. They will teach attendees to use their unique creative talents to ease their own physical and mental stress and impact and better connect with the people in their personal and professional lives.

Lane has an extensive background in music therapy. She is the Associate Director of the Seidman Cancer Center and Director of Music Therapy at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Seidman Cancer Center and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Shirtz is a singer, producer, composer, conductor, vocal coach and music director for educational, repertory theatre, collegiate, and pops music productions. He is a former assistant professor and dean at Terra State Community College and now teaches at Heidelberg University in Tiffin.

Dr. Deforia Lane

Lane connected with Shirtz through his work as director/producer for singer and Broadway actress Maureen McGovern, when Lane and McGovern were collaborating on a project. Lane and Shirtz began discussing the influence music has on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, and through those discussions, they were inspired to create “Finding Your Way.”

Because music has far-reaching power, the workshop can benefit anyone. Musicians and creatives of any genre can learn to utilize their artistic skills in powerfully, beneficial ways. Healthcare workers can discover how creativity can be a tool to help their patients and themselves. Teachers will leave with new methods of inspiring and aiding their students. Parents and grandparents can learn how to use creativity to better connect with young family members and help them navigate through the obstacles of life. Employers and employees can learn techniques to relieve stress in the workplace.

During the workshop, Lane will share personal stories of the influence of music in her personal life and in the lives of those around here.

“I have spent 40 years working with people from diverse backgrounds and illnesses and diagnoses, and for the last 35 years, I’ve been in a teaching hospital in Cleveland literally working bedside with patients, staff and families,” Lane said. “Music can affect us in so many ways we are not aware of.”

Lane said that working with Shirtz through the workshop expands their audience, allowing them to empower more people with the knowledge and tools to influence the world with music.

“It’s just a beautiful gift – this thing we call music. It adds to the human life in so many ways,” Lane said.

“Finding Your Way” does not focus on music alone but also encompasses other creative genres such as creative writing, painting, poetry and drawing.

“You don’t have to be a musician to attend this,” Shirtz said. “It doesn’t matter if you have no musical talent or you’re very talented. We use music as the base, but the workshop is about creativity.”

Lane and Shirtz will teach the sessions, but they will also create an atmosphere where the attendees’ talents will inspire the group.

“People will be teachers themselves. I know they’re coming to learn, but I guarantee they will teach others just by being present,” Lane said. “Come to take and give as well.”

Cost to enroll in “Finding Your Way Chautauqua Workshop” is $175 per person. Deadline to register is Sept. 20. Workshop schedule and registration information, as well as full bios on Lane and Shirtz, can be found at www.lakesideohio.com/events/finding-your-way.