MANCHESTER — Me2/ Orchestra of Burlington performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 at Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC)’s Arkell Pavilion in celebration of United Counseling Service’s 65th anniversary year.
Led by music director and conductor Michael J. Colburn, Me2/ Burlington is an ensemble of Me2/ Orchestra, an organization now based in Boston, Mass., created for people with mental illnesses and those who support them. Over 200 people attended the May 13 concert, which was Me2/ Burlington’s last one slated for the year.
The mission of Me2/ is to erase the stigma of mental illness, including addiction, through supportive classical music rehearsals and inspiring performances. Wherever Me2/ goes, there is a sign that says, “you are now entering a stigma free zone”.
United Counseling Service executive director Lorna Mattern welcomed the audience and spoke to current challenges in Bennington County, including the significant increase in mental health crises. Other speakers throughout the evening included Colburn, Me2/ Burlington managing director Phoenix Crockett, and clarinetist Melanie Brown.
Brown shared her testimony about being diagnosed with a mental illness, joining Me2/ Orchestra, and the importance of talking about mental health in schools. The orchestra performed all five movements of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 and received a standing ovation at the close of the concert. United Counseling Service looks forward to hosting Me2/ Burlington again in the future in support of fighting the stigma often associated with mental illness.
More information about Me2/ Orchestra can be found at me2music.org, including about an upcoming Family Fun Day on May 30 in Burlington. Visit ucsvt.org to learn about United Counseling Service and how it serves Bennington County.
United Counseling Service (UCS) is a private, nonprofit community mental health center that has been an essential part of Bennington County’s integrated health care system since 1958. The organization has been designated as a Center of Excellence by Vermont Care Partners. UCS offers care at 15 different facilities, including two primary outpatient facilities in Bennington and Manchester. For more information, visit ucsvt.org.