Below are links to some organizations and publications that may be of interest to ME2/orchestra members and fans (just click on the logos to visit their websites):
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I have to be diagnosed with a mental health issue in order to join ME2/orchestra?
No, although we are definitely reaching out to many people in the mental health community in hopes of serving individuals who are struggling with mental illnesses. Not every member of ME2/ has an illness themselves, but everyone has a story to tell – about a family member, friend, or colleague who has struggled to maintain good mental health.
Is there an audition or interview for ME2/orchestra?
No. Although ME2/strings is a fully professional, auditioned orchestra, there is no audition to join ME2/orchestra. All interested musicians have to do is show up. Well, we’d prefer that they sign up via our website first, just so we know who is coming, but that’s the extent of it. Most of the individuals who have registered have provided us with enough information so that we have a general idea of their playing level and can go into our first rehearsals knowing what to expect.
Does ME2/orchestra give concerts?
Yes! In the words of one of the ME2/ members, “If we’re going to fulfill our mission of fighting stigma, then we have to perform as much as possible.” During our first season we gave a couple of brief, informal performances in our rehearsal space. These performance were free and open to the public. We also gave a “side-by-side” concert with some members of ME2/strings at the UVM Recital Hall in May 2012. In June 2012, ME2/orchestra performed at the *NAMI – VT annual conference in our state’s capital. (*National Association for Mental Illness, Vermont chapter)
Are you accepting very young players?
We are welcoming all ages. For players under the age of 13, we ask that they meet with our staff first and sit-in on a rehearsal to determine whether or not the orchestra will be a positive experience for them both musically and socially.
Does ME2/ provide mental health counseling?
No, we just bring together people who are concerned about maintaining good mental health and share a love of music. We can point people in the right direction if they are in a crisis situation, but we are not health care providers. In fact, we’re patients ourselves. We do have a licensed psychologist serving on our Board of Directors, and have recently formed a partnership with the Vermont Association for Mental Health.
How is ME2/orchestra different from any other orchestra?
We’ve searched high & low, but there is no other orchestra in the country that brings people together under the theme of mental health. To an observer, ME2/orchestra looks like any other community orchestra. The primary difference is that we openly acknowledge the fact that everyone in the room has different needs and we’re there to support each other.