Me2/Orchestra Joins MonumentalMoments
We may be living in unprecedented times, but music remains a way to connect during crisis. Research has shown that music has the potential to help those with mental illness. Neurocrine Biosciences has partnered with Me2/Orchestra to hold a live virtual performance of an original musical score as part of Monumental Moments™, inspired by the experiences of the orchestra’s members.
WATCH THE VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE:
“The chance to be part of Monumental Moments™ is very special to us, because we’ve both struggled with our mental health conditions and together have found music to be an artistic medium that brings people together. The creation of this score has allowed us to channel our feelings and emotions, and to inspire and connect with the broad community of people who are feeling the impact of this extraordinary year.”
– Ronald Braunstein and Caroline Whiddon, Me2/Orchestra Founders
Me2/Orchestra is the world’s only known classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses, and the people who support them. The organization currently hosts two full orchestras in Burlington, VT, and Boston, MA; an affiliate program in Portland, OR; and a flute ensemble in Boston, MA. Currently, the organization has more than 100 members.
They perform in concert halls as well as nontraditional venues, including hospitals, prisons, and rehabilitation centers. Its mission is to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness through supportive rehearsals and inspiring performances.
Ronald Braunstein is an American orchestra conductor. He is currently the Music Director and Conductor of Me2/Orchestra, the world’s only known classical music organization created for individuals living with mental illnesses, and the people who support them. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and orchestra cofounder, Caroline.
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ronald decided to create his own ensemble for people living with mental illness, and those who fight stigma surrounding mental illness. The flagship ensemble, Me2/Burlington, was launched in the fall of 2011 in Burlington, VT.
Three years later, the organization grew to include an orchestra that soon became its central hub. Ronald serves as Music Director and Conductor of both orchestras. The organization has since expanded with additional orchestras throughout the Northeast.
As the Executive Director and cofounder of Me2/Orchestra, Caroline Whiddon is classically trained in French Horn, but did not play for eighteen years due to panic attacks, depression, and anxiety, which cut short her classical performance career.
When Ronald came to Caroline with the idea of starting an orchestra for those with bipolar disorder, Caroline suggested broadening the profile, and this classical music organization was born. Me2/Orchestra serves as a model for people with and without mental illnesses to work together in an environment where acceptance is an expectation, patience is encouraged, and support for each other is a priority.
Paul Swartzel is an award-winning artist who collaborated with Me2/Orchestra to compose the orchestral score for Monumental Moments™. The score was inspired by the Me2/Orchestra musicians’ experiences and stories about life during the pandemic, and emphasizes moments of discovery, perseverance, and joy. Paul has degrees from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and Duke. His honors include two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Paul lives in Potsdam, NY, and has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.