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'Hope Grows' CD is a family affair
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Amy (Oppriecht) Schaack, born and raised in Gays Mills, just finished creating a music CD now for sale online and at the Village Greenhouse.

Titled “Hope Grows,” the album features music composed through her work as a music therapist helping adults and children in the cancer center and hospice program at Gundersen Lutheran.

The work has a deeply personal connection. Amy’s father is Kevin Oppriecht, a patient in the program. Both he and her mother Laurie have written songs that appear on the album. Add to that, the appearance of her brother Kraig Oppriecht and two sisters, Bethany Seiser and Kirsten Oppriecht, singing on the album and you could say this is something of a family affair.

Oppriecht has spent three years working on the two-disk album.

“The album features 27 songs about hope, love, appreciation and the will to live that were all co-written by myself and the patient or caregiver,” Oppriecht said. “Songs were created from personal interviews, poems, biographies, support group discussions and even from a dream.  I asked each patient what style of music they wanted their song to be and what instruments they envisioned.”

Featuring songs written in country, rock, folk and pop styles, each song is a reflection of the unique individual who inspired the song, who chose to share their story, their legacy through music. The songs can be sampled and downloaded online at

Oppriecht hopes the music on the CD can provide inspiration for those struggling to cope with difficulties of their own.

Music therapy has been shown to help patients address their physical, emotional, mental and social needs. By creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music, patients are able to focus on what they are able to do, strengthening their motivation to be involved in their treatment and giving themselves and caregivers an outlet in which to express their feelings.

“Music therapy can make the difference between withdrawal and awareness, between isolation and interaction, between chronic pain and comfort, between demoralization and dignity,” according to Barbara Crowe, past president of the National Association for Music Therapy.

Research cited by the NAMT shows that music therapy has a significant effect on a patient’s perception of the effectiveness of treatment, self-reports of pain reduction, relaxation, respiration rate, behaviorally observed and self-reported anxiety levels, and patient choice of anesthesia and amount of analgesic medication.

All proceeds from sales of Oppriecht’s album will go back into the music therapy programming that supports the social and emotional needs of cancer and hospice patients at Gundersen Lutheran.

Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, the Green Bay Packers Foundation and the memorials of Shirley Cox, Audra Bena and Mitch Maxey provided funding that made the CD possible.