Nov 3, 2009

Muse(ic) for Freedom

by Cheryl Cooper

Drinking coffee and listening to music are favorite pastimes for Liberty students. Next Saturday, they will have the opportunity to make every drop of coffee count.

On Nov. 7, the Muse Coffee Company will be hosting Muse(ic) for Freedom, a free concert featuring bands from around Lynchburg and Liberty. The title refers to Freedom 4/24, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of sexual exploitation in Southeast
Asia, according to

Liberty seniors Mary Mattar, Ashley Eskridge and Jacob Russo organized the event as a project for their public relations practicum. The students said that while their client is the Muse, they wanted an opportunity to help Freedom 4/24.

“It’s going to be free,” Mattar said. “(But we are) taking donations for Freedom 4/24.”

All three students go to Brentwood Church in Lynchburg. Brentwood is the home church of Christine and Steve Pettit, the father and daughter team who founded Freedom 4/24.

Russo, along with Liberty student Harrison Peaks, is also a member of Ivorwood, one of the bands featured in Muse(ic) for Freedom. Liberty alumnus Josh Spencer will also be playing, as well as the Great Rescue, an alternative rock band from Lynchburg.

“(This event is figuratively) killing two birds with one stone,” Russo said, who has already helped to plan an event for Freedom 4/24 and through his connection with Bryan Wynn, the owner of the Muse.

The Muse in Wyndhurst is a coffee shop that believes each customer should have coffee precisely the way they like it.

“We believe in community more than the dollar,” according to “And want everyone in Lynchburg to take ownership of the Muse and truly inspire those around us.“

The Muse sells both fair trade and organic coffees, and displays local artwork in the coffee shop. They also offer a Coffee and Espresso 101 class for those customers who want to learn more about coffee, according to

Wynn will meet with members of Freedom 4/24 to invent a drink inspired by the organization, according to Russo. The drink will be a permanent part of the menu, and a percentage of its sales will be donated to Freedom 4/24.

It is estimated that more than $27 billion per year is spent on prostitution in Thailand, an industry that employs approximately 300,000 prostitutes, according to Out of the $27 billion, only $300 million is sent home to the prostitutes’ families.

“Right now, women are sacrificing their dignity and self worth in order to provide for themselves and their families,” according to the Freedom 4/24 Web site. “This is an issue of poverty.”

Money donated to Muse(ic) for Freedom will go towards providing these women with education, employment and health care.

“Come (to the concert) if you don’t know much about (Freedom 4/24),” Russo said. “Talk to the girls who go (to Thailand).”

For more information about the Muse, including hours of operation and available coffees, visit For more information about Freedom 4/24 visit

Contact Cheryl Cooper at

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