A Concert for Mental Health… and Hope

Ithaca College’s music students and faculty staged an unforgettable show featuring Broadway hits, old favorites, and even a Handel aria Tuesday evening November 14 in “Music for the Mind: Mental Health Awareness Concert.”

The event in Ford Hall at the Whalen School of Music was the brainchild of Megan Jones, a junior voice student, who was inspired to “do something” after a fellow student and dorm mate attempted suicide earlier this year. The Ithaca College community quickly rallied to the cause.

“Nobody should feel as alone as my dear friend did, and I so strongly believe that music is a perfect way to bring attention, raise awareness, and comfort anyone around to hear it,” Megan told The Sophie Fund.

“Music for the Mind” was a tour de force showcasing IC’s exceptional instrumental, voice, and dance talent in nine musical pieces, including “Make Someone Happy,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Rise Up,” “Lascia Chio Pianga,” “Please Stay,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “You Will be Found.”

“A strength of the Ithaca College community is our care for one another,” Deborah Harper, director of IC’s Center for Counseling, Health and Wellness, said in opening remarks to the audience. “What you are about to experience is one example of care in action. Music uplifts us, soothes us, inspires us, invites us to feel deeply. I would like to thank Megan for bringing her vision—’Music for the Mind’—to life tonight. As we spend the next hour together, I want to invite you to reflect on the value of our connections to life and to the people we hold dear. Open yourself to the music and allow your heart and mind to be moved.”

Before the curtain rose, Megan Jones introduced her friend Lola, who spoke eloquently and powerfully about her experience, and addressed others “who might be struggling right now”:

“This concert is for you. You might be used to being spoken around. For people to slightly touch the subject of your life, and just as quickly to draw back. For people to talk to the helpers instead of the people who need help.

“I am not you. Your symptoms are yours. You are your own person. But also you are not alone. All in all, you aren’t. You are a human in a world full of humans. You are not going crazy. You are suffering from an illness. You are living through it. You’re doing the best you can, and that really is enough. I don’t know you or what you are going through, but I know you can get through it. You’re strong, you’re trying, you’re alive, you’re here.

“Your disorder or illness is not just an excuse. You are more than enough. It may take a while to get out of this funk. It may just be something you deal with forever. But you will overall get better. You will learn to cope better. You will make friends. You will lose friends. It might be hard. You’ll continue to learn and you’ll continue to grow. One day, I truly think, the good days will start to outweigh the bad.

“Remember that people can’t know what you are going through until you tell them. That’s still something I’m trying to learn and get used to. You need to learn to take care of yourself at the end of the day.”

Click here to watch the “Music for the Mind” concert

Photos by Sarah Horbacewicz

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

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“Please Stay,” by Jake Runstad. Performed by the Ithaca College Choir, directed by Janet Galván, professor of performance studies.

 

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“Please Stay,” by Jake Runstad. Performed by the Ithaca College Choir, directed by Janet Galván, professor of performance studies.

 

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“You Will be Found,” from Dear Evan Hansen, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

 

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“Rise Up,” by Andra Day. Performed by Laurel Albinder and IC Voicestream.

 

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“My Oh My,” by Punch Brothers. Performed by Jonah Bobo, John Bourdelais, Tom Brody, Marybeth MacKay, and Nicky Young

 

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“You’ll Never Walk Alone,” from Carousel by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Performed by Deborah Montgomery-Cove, professor of performance studies.

 

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“Finding Hope,” by Ava Maria Safai. Performed by the IC Unbound Dance Company.

 

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“Lascia Chio Pianga,” from Rinaldo, by George Frideric Handel. Performed by Ivy Walz, associate professor of performance studies, with string quartet and dancers.

 

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“Lascia Chio Pianga,” from Rinaldo, by George Frideric Handel. Performed by Ivy Walz, associate professor of performance studies, with string quartet and dancers.

 

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“Make Someone Happy,” by Jule Styne. Performed by Marc Webster, assistant professor of performance studies, (with Megan Jones and Christopher Zemliauskas).

 

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“Make Someone Happy,” by Jule Styne. Performed by Megan Jones, IC voice student, (with Marc Webster and Christopher Zemliauskas).