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TOM SWEITZER

Tom Sweitzer – MTT, MT-BC – Tom is Co-Founder, Creative Director and Head of
Music Therapy at A Place to Be, a non-profit organization serving over 400 families
weekly, offering Music Therapy. Tom holds a B.F.A. in Music Theater, a Graduate
Certificate in Music Therapy from Shenandoah University and a master’s in music
therapy from Berklee College of Music. Tom has created several therapeutic musical
productions that focus on acceptance, diversity and empathy that tours the schools.
His Rock Opera, A Will to Survive, performed at the Terrace Theater at The Kennedy
Center. He is currently collaborating with Wolf Trap, writing and directing their first
inclusive and disability focused production for the children’s theater and education
department. He is an adjunct professor at Shenandoah University and consults as a
Music Therapist within the Loudoun County area and across the country. He is a
member of the American Music Therapy Association.

Tom received the title Loudoun County Humanitarian of the Year in 2014 and in that
same year was invited as a guest to the White House for his work with disabilities. A
Place to Be and Tom was awarded “Best Music Therapy Provider of the Year” by the
American Music Therapy Association in June 2017. That same year he was honored
to be a guest at the “Sound Health” conference hosted by The National Institute of
Health along with renowned Opera star, Renee Fleming and NIH Director, Dr.
Francis Collins. His choir, “Different Strokes for Different Folks,” a group comprised
of stroke survivors through Inova Hospital sang alongside Renee Fleming. He spoke
with Mrs. Fleming on Music and the Mind at Tanglewood. He also directed the
Documentary, “Just Like Will,” which has won several awards both nationally and
internationally. Tom is a subject of a new documentary, “Music Got Me Here,” along
with one of his heroes, Forrest Allen, a young man with Traumatic Brain Injury who
found his voice and courage again through Music Therapy. The movie will be on
main streaming services this Fall 2020. He has signed a contract with MGM studios
for the making of a movie based on the Documentary. Tom works closely with
producer, HillTopper productions and most recently toured his one-man show,
“Meatballs and Music,” a 90-minute play based on his child-hood. As a COVID
survivor, Tom felt he needed to create something for young children to process the

pandemic. He created “The Land of Music,” an animated series educating and
bringing hope to young children during this time of uncertainty. The show can be
found of the YouTube channel- A PLACE TO BE FAMILY. Tom is dedicated in
growing A Place to Be and its mission to help people face, navigate and overcome
life’s challenges through Music Therapy

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MY COVID STORY

To say that having had COVID changed my life, would be an understatement. Not only has life
changed because of actually suffering through a medium bout of it, but the world has changed
since March of 2020 and for that I am sad and grateful I feel we were given all of this to help
awaken our souls, heighten gratitude and disconnect us so profoundly that we will connect on a
new level on the other side.

In June of 2020, I invited 5 family members over (with Masks) Truth be told, we hugged with
them on and we ate outside and tried to stay distant and then went inside. One by one
throughout the next week, everyone who was there got COVID. I was the only want to be
attacked by its fangs so horribly. From a fever, chills, to exhaustion a few days went by and then
it landed in my lungs. Days later went to the hospital and had major Pneumonia. My lungs were
filling up fast. I spent less than a week in the hospital but was saved by the drug Remdesivir, lot
of oxygen and steroids. Went home with Oxygen and slowly recovered over 3-4 weeks –
exercise, breathing exercises and of course, Music Therapy. I am mostly recovered, but after 3
months of brain fog, I can clearly say that now I have neurological complications that are
unexplainable. MRI and CT scan showed no damage. After talking to many survivors that is not
uncommon. I lose words, thoughts, my short-term memory has diminished, so much it scares
me greatly. But I am working through it and thank God I am alive.

I found the Facebook group Coronavirus Survivor Corps, and that is where my idea of providing
Music Therapy to other survivors came from. The thousands that are on that page have had
their lives change, much more than me. It is a place of resource, inspiration and validation.
Since the first night of Music Therapy for COVID I have loved meeting other survivors and look
forward to sharing what I can about the power of Music Therapy. The two most profound
places Music Therapy can help is emotionally and also in the health of lungs as they repair and
become healthy again. I plan throughout 2021 to keep the Music Therapy group for Covid
Survivors going

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