Recital puts spotlight on mental illness

BY STACI WILSON

Members of the community are coming together with music to focus attention on mental health education and suicide prevention.

Caleb Park, of Great Bend, is the organizer of a benefit recital, slated to be held Sunday, Jan. 5, 7 p.m. at the Great Bend Alliance Church, Randolph St., Great Bend.

Park said, “I think the need for mental illness education in Susquehanna County is dire. The recent tragedies in our local schools show that young people feel they have nowhere and no one to turn to.”

“The purpose of this event is to show that is not the case,” Park continued. “There are people who will help them through their situation.”
Admission to the recital is free but donations collected will benefit To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

TWLOHA spokesperson Rachel Miller said the efforts help bring the organization’s message of hope and awareness to a larger audience, “Events like this one aim to get people and their communities involved in raising awareness and funds for TWLOHA.”

Miller added that benefit concerts help to “bring these issues to light in the local area. Benefit organizers help to break the stigma associated with mental health issues and show people they are not alone.”

The recital features Park and other local vocalists performing classical and Broadway show songs.

Performers include: Theresa Whitehead (Soprano), Amanda Rispoli (Soprano), Madison Button (Soprano), Eli Carlin (Tenor), Caleb Park (Baritone) and Andrew Granick (Tenor). Granick will also serve as the recital’s host.

Selections to be performed include “Will I?” from Rent; “Endless Pleasure” from Semele by Handel; and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Miserables.

“Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal will also be presented.

Park explained Next to Normal is a show about mental illness, making the piece very relevant to the benefit cause; another piece “Lost in Darkness” from Jekyll and Hyde also deals with mental illness.

Refreshments will be available during the intermission and following the recital.

For information about TWLOHA, visit twloha.com.