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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK

I grew up as a very different child than most. I was never diagnosed with Autism, but at that
time they really didn’t use that label. I spent much of my early childhood at Easter Seals
because I had severe verbal communication problems, and because of my tumultuous home life
I was an emotional puzzle for my family and teachers to unravel. Thank God, my life was saved
at eight years old when I found music and theater. It was right across the street from my house
at a church in my small blue-collared town in central Pennsylvania. I found a church and a
Sunday School teacher that saved my life. Music, Theater and Writing has followed me
throughout my life into what I do now as a Music Therapist and as a Creative Director for a
Center for Music Therapy – A PLACE TO BE.

Throughout my eleven years of Music Therapy I have worked closely with almost every
diagnosed disability, illness and life challenge. There have been certain clients that changed my
perspective on what someone with a disability is capable of. I also became very close to the
families at our center and learned about their dreams and sorrows that come from having a
differently- abled child. There is one person who altered my outlook, purpose and view on
hope. Here name is Amy Stone. She was my first music therapy client and she has been a
spiritual beacon for me since. She has never allowed her Cerebral Palsy to hold her back from
having a full life of importance and joy.

Take all the experience I’ve attained with the hundreds of clients I have worked with, and then
add that I am a person who believes in miracles - and that is how this story came about. I
wanted to create a realistic tale that would make the reader curios, question their belief-
system, and feel hope. Inside each of us there is the potential to believe in a miracle. And

miracles are happening around us constantly, just sometimes they hide underneath the “every
day.”
This story is about what we believe or what we don’t believe inside of us. What we think of
disabilities, or what we think of God, or what we think of ourselves. Our beliefs can change
greatly when something intercedes; be it tragedy, an unexpected situation, or true love. I hope
for you to leave this book with an expanded perspective about what it means to be someone
living with a disability, and their right to have miracles happen to them.

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