Concert raises funds for addiction recovery

Event featured speakers and BW musicians

The Conservatory of Music reached out to the greater community on Sunday, Jan. 28 through the “We Do Recover” benefit concert in collaboration with the Safe Passages addiction recovery initiative.

“We Do Recover” enjoyed its second performance in what BW Conservatory faculty member and program director Mary Dobrea-Grindahl hopes to be an ongoing annual series.

Last year’s concert raised over $2,000 for Safe Passages.

This year’s concert featured performances from several musical groups inside and out of the BW conservatory community, including a BW musical theater department performance of “Let the Sun Shine in” from the 1967 musical “Hair,” an original song by Conservatory student Sean Dillon titled “Caffeine Junkies,” performances by popular cover duo “Babies in Black,” the women’s Acapella group“Fem Valore,” and finally a rendition of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” as has become tradition for the “We Do Recover” concert series, sung by conservatory student Caroline Prescott.

The concert series features speakers on the topic of addiction recovery interspersed within musical performances. Last year Nicole Walmsley delivered an inspiring story of perseverance and prevailing addiction.

Once a struggling heroin addict withing inches of losing life, she has now come clean and holds the position of Outreach Manager and Law Enforcement Liaison for the recovery organization Recovery Unplugged, an organization whose rehabilitation is founded on music therapy techniques.

This year’s event featured keynote speaker Rob Brandt and Bedford Police Liaison Sara Lloyd. Brandt is the website founder of and organization founder of the corresponding “Robby’s Voice”, which he founded in memoriam of his late son whose life was lost as a result of heroin addiction.

The organization is committed to promoting awareness and education surrounding drug addiction. In the “We Do Recover” concert, Brandt told the moving story of his son’s mission to come clean and help addicts overcome their addictions.

Safe Passages is a partnership with local police departments and the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Program (PAARI), whose mission is to facilitate the entry of heroin/opiate addicts into treatment.

The concept behind the program combats addiction in a non-criminal punishment focused approach and to provide help and treatment to those suffering from addiction. Dobrea-Grindahl discovered Safe Passages through a Berea Police radio feature, and was inspired by their positive impact on the community to design a collaborative program enabling the conservatory community to become a part of the effort.

“Opioid overdose in the country is currently at an uncontrollable level,” said Dobrea-Grindahl. “Every kind of person, no matter their economic status, age, or gender can be affected.”

Young athletes are often the victims of drug addiction after being medicated for injuries, or as in the case of Brandt, addiction can be the result of something as commonplace as medication issued to patients having their wisdom teeth removed.

Dobrea-Grindahl described her personal conviction on the importance of this issue due to the the wide ripple effect of opioid addiction.

Foster care programs become overloaded in communities full of parents struggling with addiction, as their medical condition deteriorates to a point where they can no longer care for their children.

Tax lobbies compile to insurmountable sizes to fund NARCAN and other important narcotic overdose treatments.

“The amazing thing is that anybody can walk [into the Berea police station] and say ‘I’m an addict,’” said Dobrea-Grindahl, “and they can receive treatment from a nonjudgmental source. What these people need is money, clothes, and help financing outstanding warrants.”