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A Notre Dame College performing arts faculty member has been selected for a fourth year to facilitate grant-funded therapeutic music workshops with at-risk youth.

Thomas Lempner, M.M., a music therapist and adjunct instructor in saxophone at the College, once again is mentoring children in music composition, helping the youth facing challenges in and outside of school to express themselves and build self-esteem by writing and singing their own original songs.

This winter Lempner worked for three months with fifth-graders at Garfield Elementary School in Medina, Ohio, for the fourth annual Songwriting for At-Risk Youth Assembly. He is expected to continue with another music mentoring engagement at Claggett Middle School in Medina during the spring 2020 semester.

Lempner teaches the students, who have no formal musical training, as individuals and in groups. The youth learn to compose their own music and lyrics using instruments and computers.

The five fifth-graders Lempner guided at Garfield Elementary produced tunes based on the theme “Harmony in the Hive” and performed the songs live at a school assembly, accompanied by Lempner. The students sang about peace, friendship, belonging, helping others and words of affirmation, among other accords.

About the Faculty Member

As a music therapist, Lempner has a decade of experience with urban youth in Cleveland who have severe emotional disturbances, including work at the Prentiss Autism Center. In addition to crisis intervention, re-education and sanctuary therapeutic models, he is trained in applied behavioral analysis from the Cleveland Clinic and completed the Child Trauma Academy.

Lempner earned a Masters of Music degree at Kent State University, where he was awarded the Walter Watson Jazz Award and Outstanding Soloist at Elmhurst Jazz Festival and won the Graduate Student Soloists Competition. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and music performance at the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, a diploma from the Armed Forces School of Music and is a U.S. Army Veteran with various awards and decorations.

The saxophonist has premiered many solo and chamber works of local composers, and his performances include several live broadcasts on area radio and television.

About the Grant Program

The Songwriting for At-Risk Youth showcase in December was sponsored by the Ohio Regional Music Arts Cultural Outreach (ORMACO) and funded with a grant from The Willard Stephenson Foundation. ORMACO has conducted about 80 outreach programs across Northeast Ohio counties including Summit, Stark, Wayne, Lorain, and Guernsey, as well as Medina County.

Additional information about performing arts faculty and programs at Notre Dame is available online at

January 2020

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or