New Note Orchestra is looking to raise £3,000 to cover the costs of four concerts during December 2017. Anything above £3,000 will go towards our spring/summer season in 2018.
Who are we?
New Note Orchestra, based in Brighton, was set up in 2015 and has been created to help people stay sober from drug and alcohol addiction. It is the first and only recovery orchestra in the world.
We have three aims:
- To produce new and original music of high artistic value. This is created entirely by our musicians
- To help people maintain and sustain their recovery from drugs and alcohol addiction
- To reduce the stigmas around alcoholism and addiction in our communities
(Picture: wind section of New Note Orchestra)
Who do we help?
Members of the orchestra are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. All our orchestra members have either been homeless or vulnerably housed. Many have faced multiple challenges in their lives from mental illness, poor physical health and prison. All are united in their quest for a better life by using music as a lifeline out of addiction.
(Picture: Roger on guitar. Roger is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic who spent some time being homeless. He has completely turned his life around. He now hosts open mic nights, is involved in three other music organisations and volunteers within drug and alcohol services. He uses his recovery and experience to inspire others to get sober.)
How you can help.
Please give a pledge to New Note Orchestra. A small amount goes a long way.
Addiction and alcoholism ravages communities, breaks up families and destroys lives. Helping people to maintain recovery from drugs and alcohol addiction benefits us all. Using music reduces the risk of mental illness, homelessness and isolation for our players.
What do we intend to do with your money?
We need to raise money to put on four public performances at Christmas time. The money will be spent on transport costs, new music stands, feeding the orchestra members during the rehearsals and performances. Some of the money will go on the staff who help facilitate the orchestra.
1st Concert - 25th November 2017. We have been invited to take part in the Cinecity Film Festival
2nd Concert - 3rd December 2017. We will be putting on a public performance at St Luke's Church, Brighton.
3rd Concert - 10th December 2017. We have been invited to perform at The Depot, an art house cinema in Lewes.
4th Concert - TBC (sometime during Dec 2017) The Carpenters Arms, a homeless project which feeds up to 100 people. We believe it’s important that all members of our community have opportunities to engage with music and art. Many people in the orchestra have experienced homelessness. Performing a concert for this vulnerable group brings added meaning to our concert schedule.
(New Note Orchestra concerts are big community events. We always draw in a crowd. We sell our tickets at a reduced rate to make sure that people on low incomes can come and enjoy live music.)
How does New Note Orchestra work?
We meet every week to jam, improvise and write our own music. Anyone can join, we have everyone from complete beginners who can’t read music, through to accomplished amateurs. Improvisation is at the heart of everything we do and means we can be inclusive. The sessions are run by a qualified conductor and group facilitator. Every few months we perform our newly written music for the public where our shows create a focal point for the whole community. Our participants are a positive advert for recovery and demonstrate what can be achieved when people are sober.
How does playing and composing music help people stay sober?
Working as a group to create our own music gives our players new skills and a sense of achievement. It helps to improve their mental capacity including concentration and critical listening skills. This leads to increases in confidence and self esteem. They experience fun and enjoyment, which lifts their moods and increases well being. Coming together and being part of a group helps them to reduce loneliness. Having structure and focus greatly reduces mental anxiety and stress.
Serotonin levels within the brain can affect mood and social behaviour. For many people in recovery their serotonin levels can be dangerously low which can contribute to depression and suicide attempts. The performances increase serotonin levels for our musicians.
Being in the orchestra has reduced the shame around their drug and alcohol addictions and helped reshape their identities from being an ‘addict’ into becoming a ‘musician’. Our musicians take pride in being part of an orchestra. It’s a catalyst for conversations about their personal recovery journeys. Discussing their contribution and successes within NNO has helped to repair fractured relationships with friends and family.
Overall, our musicians realise their ambitions. They develop drive and purpose and experience hope and aspirations for the future.
(Picture: Dan using a piece of percussion to play his bass whilst composing our new piece )
Dan, a bassist in NNO has been a regular member since it started. He describes how NNO has impacted on his life and sobriety.
“I’ve been in hospital three times as a direct result of continued heavy alcohol consumption. I was warned by Doctors that if I carried on drinking I would be dead before my 40th birthday. I used to drink two litres of Vodka a day. I'd do my best to drink a bottle while at work mixed into a big lucozade bottle placed on my desk in full view, in front of about 15 - 20 students. I'm a teacher.
I knew I couldn't continue functioning any more and I knew I couldn't change the predicament I was in by myself. Thats where New Note comes in . . .
For me New Note has rekindled my self esteem, which in turn has developed my confidence. The confidence to play and create music. The confidence to be curious and express ideas. The confidence to simply socialise. The confidence to be in my own skin. Be myself. Addiction beat me up and left me isolated and alone.
New Note stopped me isolating myself by giving me the motivation to get out the house. And in turn it’s increased my health by reducing my social anxiety, depression, loneliness, the feeling of being a failure and feeling unwanted. It’s encouraged personal growth by meeting new people, helping each other and in the process making new friends and networks with similar people, in a similar situation with similar goals. The benefit of this is infinite on my vibrance and self esteem.
At moments when I was at my lowest and most in need of help, I had to somehow find my desire, nurture my confidence and reconnect with life. New Note Orchestra does all that and so much more.
Christmas is a particularly tough time for people in recovery. Feelings of sadness, shame and isolation can make it particularly tender and we are constantly reminded of the accepted and expected excess of food and drink.
Our concerts give us a focus and are a welcome distraction for us in recovery. Each concert will be a chance for the orchestra to showcase how people in recovery can celebrate and enjoy Christmas. Collaborating with others, even in the mists of tricky times, will help us create new healthy memories for the future. We will also be creating a bright image for others who also find Christmas a tricky time."
In June 2016 Dan was appointed as a trustee of New Note Projects, the registered charity behind NNO. All our participants are a positive advert for recovery and show what can be achieved when sober.
(Picture: Conall Gleeson is a gifted conductor who is dedicated to making New Note Orchestra stand out)
What are we doing now?
We have been collaborating with artist and composer Conall Gleeson to create a unique 30 minute score titled ‘Solace’. Alongside this new score, Angus Cameron a Lewes based film director, has created an evocative film using archive from Screen South East. He has interwoven the archive with thoughts from the orchestra members about how they find solace. The orchestra will provide a live soundtrack to the film and will explore what it means to achieve solace and whether its all about the quest to find it.
Please give a pledge to New Note Orchestra.
Please help support our four concerts this Christmas.
Thank you from everyone in New Note Orchestra and we really hope to see you at one of our concerts very soon.