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Musicians focus on talent, not condition

Oct 14 2012
Ben Beaudet teaches a guitar group made of up people with mental illness taking advantage of music program. For Good Neighbours item on the program and an upcoming fundraising event. 

Ben Beaudet teaches a guitar group made of up people with mental illness taking advantage of music program. For Good Neighbours item on the program and an upcoming fundraising event.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury , Times Colonist

The Friends of Music Society knows the power of harmony and creativity.
Since 1989, the charitable group has been offering music programs for people with mental illness. The aim is to help them socialize, make them feel accepted and encourage them to focus on their abilities rather than their conditions.
The society has helped many people over the years, and the number of programs has steadily increased, said executive director Amy Reiswig.
“What kind of makes us different is that we have musicians from the community playing and rehearsing with musicians with mental illness,” she said. “So when our ensembles perform, everyone is a musician first.”
People involved in the programs are able to use music to put their health issues aside, Reiswig said. Regular membership surveys prove the value of the music.
“We get quotes from people saying things like, ‘Music gives me a reason to face the day,’ ” she said.
All of the programs are centred in the theatre at Eric Martin Pavilion. There are six bands covering a number of genres, along with the opportunity to take part in guitar lessons, percussion sessions and a ukulele group.
The society hosts about 60 concerts at Eric Martin and sites around the community each year, and has a regular schedule of events for group-home residents.
Reiswig said the society is open to anybody with an interest.
To help keep its efforts going strong, the Friends of Music Society is holding an Oct. 20 fundraising concert called Banding Together. Joining in will be the noted jazz duo of Maureen Washington and Dan Cook, rockabillly band the Jukebox Jezebels, Crikeymor, the Jug Bandits and Pistols West.
The concert, along with a silent auction, takes place at the Pro Patria Legion (411 Gorge Rd. E.), from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door, from the Friends of Music Society (2328 Trent St.) or Larsen Music (1833 Cook St.).
Call 250-592-5114 or email fom@pacificcoast.net for more details.
On the web: friendsofmusic.ca.

Something special behind tweed curtain

Make way for An Oak Bay Soiree.
Businesses in the Oak Bay Village are joining forces at the Oct. 21 event to showcase the uniqueness of their municipality while also supporting the Canadian Cancer Society. The mix-and-mingle gathering runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Penny Farthing Pub, and features a number of appetizer stations designed to capture the essence of autumn.
The food runs the gamut from the first chanterelle mushrooms of the season to an oyster station run by Penny Farthing chef Jeff Keenliside.
Live and silent auctions will feature items that are only offered behind the Tweed Curtain. They include a chance to compete in the 2013 Oak Bay Tea Party Floating Teacup Race against Mayor Nils Jensen and the opportunity to plug in the cord that starts this year’s Oak Bay Light Up at Christmastime.
Also on the auction block will be an opportunity to have the image of your face carved into a pumpkin by local “pumpkin artist” John Vickers, and a 12-person Harbour Ferries tour with former Oak Bay mayor Chris Causton at the helm. A full list of auction items can be found at visitoakbayvillage.ca.
Serving as auctioneer will be longtime Oak Bay Tea Party chairman Bill Murphy-Dyson.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the Penny Farthing, Side Street Studio and Athlone Travel, all on Oak Bay Avenue.

Generous dentistsgive reason to smile

Dentistry from the Heart was another big success this year, thanks to the efforts of dentists C. Ross Crapo, Nathan Muirhead and Ngan Huynh.
Fifty-nine people helped at the recent event, where more than $26,000 in dental work was performed for free — up from about $21,000 in 2011 and $19,000 in 2010.
The Dentistry from the Heart program is embraced each year at hundreds of dental offices in Canada and the United States.
Many of the people attending are homeless, from shelters or on a limited income and unable to pay for dental work, said Crapo staffer Leona Laplante. Some are in pain or have unsightly teeth that affect their self-esteem.
“We get a very broad range of people,” Laplante said.
Sometimes the word is spread through social agencies.
“We just let them know we do it every September, we have no intention of stopping.”

Early birds throw dinner and dance

The Victoria A.M. Association — so named because its meetings are held in the morning — marks its 28th anniversary, as well as the city’s 150th, with a dinner and dance on Oct. 26.
The tourism-focused, non-profit group contributes to the city in many ways, such as donning Victorian-era costumes to welcome cruise-ship passengers at Ogden Point. Association volunteers helped to liven up more than 200 cruise-ship stops during the 2012 cruising season.
The annual dinner and dance is a fundraiser to help with preparations for greeting next year’s lineup of cruise ships, as well as an event to recognize volunteers and other supporters. Both live and silent auctions will be held.
Guests are encouraged to dress in a Victorian theme with a twist, what organizers are calling “historical, hysterical or even slightly risqué apparel with a touch of class.” Fascinators and top hats are welcome.
Live music will be provided by Queenie and the Groove Kings.
The party will be held at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel from 6 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $80 apiece (plus a $5.79 service fee if purchasing online). Go to victoriaam.com or call 250-381-1611.

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