Non-profit harvests the power of sound to make experiences more accessible

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 4:27 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A church just a few blocks outside the heart of downtown Roanoke brings a different type of ministry to the people who walk through its doors.

Instead of hymns, rock music rings out through 5 Points Music Sanctuary.

“The power of sound is about more than what we hear. It’s about what we see, about what we feel, about what we share collectively in the moment that we have,” Founder Tyler Godsey said.

Godsey has been working to harvest that power through his non-profit 5 Points Music Foundation since 2017.

“What we try to do is create opportunities for people to not only become aware of their world and surroundings but also think about how their surroundings impact the people around them,” he said.

The foundation takes events like concerts and finds ways to make them more accessible.

“The venue serves as the testing ground for a lot of these opportunities and ideas,” he said.

For Godsey this mission is personal. He and both of his children are deaf, and although their perspective is different, there is a shared feeling at events like concerts.

“I remember the feeling of wanting to make sure my children had that same experience because it’s shaped me in ways that I can’t always describe,” Godsey said.

That’s why the non-profit offers tools like their Sound Paks that vibrate and allow people to intimately listen to the music on stage through a headset.

“There’s a variety of benefits to this, not just about getting better sound quality. The other benefits include people who might have sensory issues who might feel overwhelmed by all the noise and the headphones allow them to incapsulate themselves,” Godsey said.

While the concerts help tell their mission, Godsey hopes their events spark conversations outside of the sanctuary. Where people consider hearing protection, bands think about their decibel levels, and we all think about ways to make our worlds more accommodating.

“Here we find those small common elements that bring us together while we deal with the various challenges that serve as division outside of these four walls,” Godsey said.

Because the mission inside this old church does not focus on the challenges, instead it looks at unique ways to empower everyone who steps inside.