Music therapy program hosts year-end performances


Sound Connections Music Therapy program held its year-end school performances May 17-22. More than 400 students in St. Johns County School District’s Access and Florida Head Start classrooms took part.

Board certified music therapist Candice Sirak led performances and performed specially designed therapeutic songs and guitar compositions with a wide variety of musical items and interactive touch boards for students. Ocean Palms Elementary School hosted a virtual performance and First Coast Technical College held a performance as part of the school’s end-of-year festivities.

First Coast Cultural Center and its Sound Connections Music Therapy program for children with disabilities serves public schools in St. Johns County, including First Coast Technical College, Ocean Palms Elementary, Osceola Elementary School, PVPV Elementary School, The Webster School and Valley Ridge Academy.

Sound Connections supports Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program specialists, teachers, students, parents and school personnel who are assigned to specific classrooms with program development and training with an interactive music curriculum and assistive technology for children with autism spectrum disorder, behavior challenges, speech and language impairments, traumatic brain injury and visual impairment, among others.

The program is offered at no charge to parents or schools and is fully funded by local donors and philanthropists for children in preschool to fifth grade including Title 1 schools for low-income families. Contributions and matching grants are provided by the Persbacker-Wyman Family Foundation, DuBow Family Foundation, The Lazzara Family Foundation, and others.

“Each year, First Coast Cultural Center raises a minimum of $120,000 to support the program in local schools. We continue to campaign to serve Title I schools in St. Augustine and schools in northern St. Johns County,” said Donna Guzzo, First Coast Cultural Center president and CEO.

For more information, contact Sirak at 904-280-0614 ext.1206 or email Or go to