LYNX elevates its Amplify Series with new anthologyOp-Ed
What started as a small initiative to share the voices and stories of the nonspeaking autistic community** evolved into concerts around the US, an album and anthology, and close relationships with a community that changed the way LYNX’s members saw the world.
Through the Amplify Series, formerly Autism Advocacy Series, LYNX collects poetry and prose written by autistic individuals who are primarily nonspeaking, and commission composers to set their words as song. These youth communicate by spelling words on a letterboard, iPad, or keyboard. Their rich inner lives often go unnoticed or unacknowledged by those not directly connected to the autism or the letterboarding community.
The Amplify Series began in 2016 with a group of youth from Cincinnati, OH. Through special education teacher and Rapid Prompting Method provider, Katie Masotti, sister of LYNX’s co-founder Megan Moore, LYNX’s founding team got to know the inaugural group of writers. These young men, Ryan Harris, Rithik Sinhasan, Sameer Dahar, and Rahul Sivaruban, and their families worked with LYNX on the creation and format of this first project. It has always been of utmost importance to LYNX that the Amplify Series is a true collaboration, and that it honors each participating voice—that of the poet, the composer, the singer, and the pianist—distinctly.
To date, LYNX has worked with fifteen young writers and fifteen composers on new commissions which range in topic from experiences as a person with autism to climate change to favorite foods. The range of song topics is itself a commentary—poems written by autistic individuals need not be about autism.
In collaboration with the autism community, LYNX has presented these concerts for the last four years in Cincinnati, OH and Chicago, IL. But these songs and the voices within them have the potential to reach many more individuals.
Through NewMusicShelf publishing, LYNX has curated a collection of songs which feature at least one song from every poet and composer who was commissioned for the Amplify Series between 2017 and 2020. LYNX’s hope is that this anthology is a starting place for musicians to discover and learn this music. While it contains some of the LYNX team’s favorite selections, the anthology is by no means comprehensive. The goal of the anthology is for singers and pianists to find songs that resonate with them while also discovering new composers.
In conjunction with the anthology, LYNX is releasing the album, beautiful small things, on the ArtistShare label in March 2022. This album features each of the songs on the anthology, and is an invaluable resource to those looking to learn this music.
We hope this album captures the energy, joy, and power of this music and these texts. And more than anything, we hope this album inspires you to listen to the words of these youth with deliberation, intention, and an open mind. The album and anthology are available for pre-order; help us share these incredible voices.
“Having my words made into a song gives me hope that people will learn that making assumptions about nonspeaking individuals is wrong. We are smart and have a lot to add to the conversation if people choose to listen.” -Luke Burke, Amplify Series writer, 2018-19.