Professor nominated for international human rights award

By Payton Clark, Arts Editor

Music has the power to cross boundaries and connect diverse groups of people.

It has the power to bring emotions, to teach and to heal. At the Oasis Summer Music Camp, it does just this.

Assistant professor of music education Dr. Kathy Scherler has been nominated for the International Music Council’s Music Rights Award for her work with musical camps.

Scherler’s creation of the Oasis Summer Music Camp, which uses music to children and young adults to fight domestic violence, qualified her for the international honor.

“I had a desire to use music as a gift of resilience and hope to these students, to bring some beauty into their lives,” Scherler said.

“What I didn’t realize is how much they would teach me through their persevering spirits.”

Scherler said she is thankful for the opportunity to be nominated for the Five Music Rights Award, but is also very optimistic about the summer ahead at the Oasis Summer Music Camp.

“It is an honor to be nominated, and I am very humbled,” Scherler said.

“I am hopeful that this summer’s music camp will again be an oasis for these wonderful children and young adults.”

According to the International Music Council’s official website, the IMC Music Rights Awards are given to programs or projects supporting one or more of the Five Music Rights, the first three of those involving the rights of all children and adults.

“[These rights are] to express themselves musically in all freedom, to learn musical languages and skills, to have access to musical involvement through participation, listening, creation and information,” the IMC stated at http://www.imc-cim.org.

The last two musical rights involve all musical artist.

“[These are] to develop their artistry and communicate through all media with proper facilities and disposal, and to obtain just recognition and fair remuneration for their work,” the IMC stated.

After reading about the Mosaic Shelter in her UNT Alumni Magazine, Scherler contacted the shelter to inquire about creating a summer camp for children and young adults dealing with domestic abuse.

“I founded a Music Camp for students at a shelter for domestic violence and human trafficking victims in Dallas, Texas last summer,” Scherler said. “I contacted the shelter and they were very interested in having a music camp for the students.”

Scherler had the idea to found the music camp after the death of her niece.

“I wanted to honor my niece, Kelly Cosby, who passed away at the age of 25 in November 2015 from melanoma,” Scherler said. “She was a graduate of New York University Law School and worked at a law firm in New York.”

Cosby’s efforts and passion for human rights, explained at http://www.thekellyway.org, were what inspired Scherler to create the camp.

“Her area of interest was advocating for the human rights of human trafficking victims, [and] she passed the bar while taking chemotherapy,” Scherler said. “She was the most amazing example of friendship and a dedicated servant of humanity.”

Through her work with Mosaic Shelter and her experience as an educator, Scherler believes in the power of fair education for all children, and the effects music has.

“All students deserve the opportunity for equitable and accessible music education,” Scherler said.

“In my years of teaching public school music in grades K-12, I witnessed over and over the power of music to encourage, to motivate and to inspire students. Music is a way for us to express our thoughts and opinions and allows us to have a voice.”

Now Scherler’s students are helping participate in the efforts at the music camp.

“What is great is that now my OBU music education students want to become involved,” Scherler said.

“They are contributing lesson plans for use in this summer’s “OASIS Summer Music Camp.”

While work like that of Scherler’s requires taking chances, she wants others to know of the priceless value it holds in the lives of others.

“It is risky to get out of your comfort zone, but it is worth it,” Scherler said.

“When you can bring joy to someone’s life through music or any other art or act of service, you are repaid ten-fold with the reward of fulfillment that comes from connecting with others and meeting their need.”

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