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Maine's Lily Muscatell records Legacy' to benefit cancer patients

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Lily Muscatell Lily Muscatell

'I'll change the world and make it better before I leave. I know I can't fix everything but I can fix what's in front of me. Cancer can take my life but not my legacy.'  'Legacy' Lily Muscatell

'Lily is a very deep person and has always been able to wrap herself around the feelings and emotions of other people,' says Shianne Priest, music director of Leonard Middle School in Old Town. She is referring to singer-songwriter Lily Muscatell, a junior at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor. 

For the fourth year in a row, Lily has written and recorded a song for charity. 'Legacy' was released on Dec. 18 to benefit Sarah's House of Maine, a cancer hospitality house in Holden set to open in April 2014. The project is a joint effort by Priest's seventh graders from Leonard Middle School, New England School of Communications and Muscatell, a former student of Priest's.  

An 8th grader at Leonard Middle School, Lily wrote and recorded 'Untouchable' to benefit the Elton John Aids Foundation. 'That song raised $800,' Priest told me. 'The following year, her song Stars That Shine' raised $1,600 for Make-A-Wish. Last year, she recorded Home is a Feeling,' which raised $3,100 for The Shaw House in Bangor.' Proceeds from the CD single and iTunes sales of 'Legacy' will benefit a place that was a dream of its namesake, Sarah Robinson, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 24.

'Sarah lived in Old Town, and most of the treatment she needed was in the Boston area,' Priest said. 'When she was there, she discovered these cancer hospitality houses - places where people getting treatment can stay without having to spend night after night in expensive hotels. Sarah realized that we didn't have a place like that in our area. She made it a goal to start a place in Maine where those people could stay during treatment.'  

Sarah Robinson passed away in 2011. 'She never got to see her dream become a reality, but she knew a place had been found and was in the works,' Priest told me.

Lily Muscatell says that the music and lyrics for her new song came quickly. 'I went to the Sarah's House website and saw a video with Sarah's husband and her twin sister, Lindsay. They talked about how much Sarah wanted to make Sarah's House a reality for other people dealing with cancer. I watched the video late at night and started writing the song immediately.'

The subject matter of 'Legacy' is something that has deeply affected Lily Muscatell over the past year. 'Gert Nesin, a teacher at Leonard Middle School, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer,' she said. 'She is one of those people who always looks at the positive side. She has a light in her that you see and say, 'How can someone battling cancer have that smile and still be a light for people?'

The lyrics of 'Legacy,' Lily says, were also drawn from the experience of losing one of the most important people in her life. 'This summer, I experienced the loss of my grandmother to cancer. Even when she was so sick, she was being the encouraging one. She always looked at the best side of life. One thing she used to say was, Even in my darkest hour, there are 10,000 reasons to smile.'' 

'Legacy' was recorded in the studios of the New England School of Communications in Bangor. 'They have been an amazing partner in this every year,' Muscatell said. 'Josh Small, an instructor there, was our producer once again and he is incredible.'  

Upon graduation in 2015, Lily says she is eyeing a move to Nashville to further her musical career. 'Country music is my genre,' she said. Shianne Priest says that she has enjoyed watching Lily's talent blossom. 'I have been so lucky to be able to work with her and help her grow as a musician. Every year, her songs become more advanced in concept and musicality.'

'Legacy' is available now for $3 on CD single at Bull Moose music in Bangor, Old Town/Orono YMCA, Old Town Recreation Department and at Leonard Middle School. It is also available as a digital download on iTunes.  

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