News and Announcements

Me2 Orchestra Launches New Program in Manchester

Me2/Orchestra (“me, too” orchestra) will launch a new symphony orchestra in Manchester, NH this September. Rehearsals will take place on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. beginning on September 25. Rehearsal space is provided by The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, located at 2 Wall Street. There are no auditions and no fees required to participate. To join the new orchestra, simply email info@me2orchestra.org to express interest.

The mission of Me2/Orchestra is to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness through supportive classical music ensembles and inspiring performances. Ensembles consist of musicians living with mental illness and people who support them. Nearly 50% of the orchestras’ members have a diagnosis such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addiction, borderline personality disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. Other musicians may not have a diagnosis themselves but they join Me2/ to use their musical skills to further the organization’s social mission.

“We are so happy to partner with the Me2 Orchestra. Mental illness affects all aspects of people’s lives and music is a wonderful way to build resilience in one’s recovery,” said Rik Cornell, Vice President of Community Relations for The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester.

The Manchester-based ensemble joins a network of orchestras already established by Me2/. The organization was founded in Burlington, Vermont in 2011, where the orchestra now has nearly 50 members. A few years later the organization expanded to Boston, where the orchestra currently consists of 55 musicians. Along the way a smaller, volunteer-run affiliate program also launched in Portland, Oregon. The goal of the organization’s leadership is to empower as many classically trained musicians as possible to make music with a mental health mission.

“We would love to see more orchestras, choruses, and chamber music groups launching across the nation under the Me2/ organizational umbrella,” states Me2/’s Executive Director,
Caroline Whiddon. “The more people making music and fighting the stigma against mental
health diagnoses, the better!”

The new orchestra in Manchester, NH will be led by Me2/’s Music Director and Conductor Ronald Braunstein. Braunstein won the Gold Medal in the Karajan International Conducting Competition in 1979 and has conducted orchestras all over the world, in addition to teaching at the Juilliard School and the Mannes School of Music. He was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than thirty years ago.

For more information, please contact Me2/ at (802) 238-8369 or info@me2orchestra.org.