Vermont orchestra battling mental illness stigma turns 10 – Boston News, Weather, Sports

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A classical music organization started in Vermont for musicians with mental illnesses and the people who support them celebrates its 10th anniversary with a free performance in Boston on Sunday.

Me2/ is an orchestra of non-auditioned musicians, half of whom live with diagnosed mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder, among others, the Burlington Free reported. Press. He also marked his first 10 years with a free performance at the University of Vermont Recital Hall last week.

Musical director/bandleader Ronald Braunstein, who lives with bipolar disorder, and executive director Caroline Whiddon formed Me2/ in September 2011, months after Braunstein was fired by the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association.

“I have decided that I no longer want to be vulnerable to stigma and discrimination in my field,” Braunstein said in a statement. “At that point, I decided the only people I wanted to work with were people like me — people living with mental illness and those who would support me even if I wasn’t having a good day.”

Me2/ now includes musical ensembles from New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon and Massachusetts, the newspaper reported.

Nearly 100 of its regional musicians will perform a concert titled “Stigma-Free at Symphony Hall” at 3 p.m. Sunday at Boston Symphony Hall.

The hour-long event includes testimonials from musicians living well with mental illness, according to Symphony Hall. Members of the public can also take part in a question and answer session.

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