BOSTON (CBS) – A holiday concert in the most unlikely of places, and it’s a unique kind of joy a group of Massachusetts classical musicians bring with them. They call themselves Shelter Music Boston, and as we found out, bringing music to people who are struggling can make a difference.
It’s a special time at the Dimock Center in Roxbury as the sound of classical music brightens the night. The women living in the shelter at the Dimock Center are being treated for problems with substance use, so this is an uplifting break for them.
“The holidays are coming around and a lot of us are going through a lot of issues right now,” says Rebecca Savickas, one of about 30 women attending the concert in a small activity room. “I thought it was very calming, soothing, kind of magical.”
The professional musicians from Shelter Music Boston perform every month at shelters in the Boston area, playing in unconventional venues to people who may have little access to the arts.
“It’s a huge respite because many of these women, on a day to day basis, are thinking about their stresses, their worries, their concerns,” says Dr. Mark Libon who leads substance use programs at the Dimock Center.
Shelter Music performed its first concert seven years ago. “We know the concerts transform our audience. People feel hopeful, people feel relaxed, people feel that someone is taking them seriously and looking them in the eye with high quality interaction,” says Julie Leven, the founder of Shelter Music Boston.
“It brought a little bit of light into a dark situation in my life,” says Leland Hauser, a resident in the program.
The musicians get as much as they give. “It makes me feel that being a musician is way more important than I sometimes feel playing Symphony Hall,” says Rebecca Strauss who plays violin.
The musicians cap off their performance with a Christmas carol singalong. And with that the residents head into the holidays with a special gift.
“Hearing it just sent me back to a place of total bliss,” says Janaya Hamilton-McSpadden.
“It’s another form of therapy. I’m so grateful they take time out of their busy lives to come here for us. It’s wonderful,” adds Bonnie Fritschy.
Since it started in 2010, Shelter Music Boston has played hundreds of concerts, and inspired thousands of lives.