Beaver Creek Minimum Security Institution

Our Anniversary (#10!!!) Event at Correctional Services Canada and #4 at Beaver Creek. And it has exceeded every expectation on the final day of Restorative Justice Week.

From soon-to-be-paroled Shawn Walker’s institution-made most delicious cake to Mark’s Skazinetsky’s witty introduction of a composer-turned chemist Borodin, to Katrina’s Chitty’s short story about Beethoven’s gift of hearing music while being deaf to Igor Gefter’s fascinating story about co-existing cultures and Jewish Kol Nidrei by a German composer, to our most dedicated supporter, Nancy Kinsman, BCI Warden’s very personal and deeply emotional closing comments (Nancy’s spontaneous speech was delivered with incredible passion and grace and was truly extraordinary) and finally to a profoundly warm, friendly and genuine conversation period with inmates looking distracted, relaxed, happy, open, and friendly.

String Trio, comprised from the TSO musicians created a unique atmosphere of celebration and joy for an attentive, respectful and fully focused audience. Even Dmitri’s opening and closing remarks (as well as his performance as a dedicated doorman throughout the concert) were effective this evening – short and spontaneous.

Chaplain Douglas Parrett was instrumental in organizing this Event and getting the performance hall packed (over 100 inmates showed up and stayed, some stood throughout the 75 minute show). Familiar and new faces – Helen, Paul, Brian, Branka (staff and volunteers). Mixed, yet very unanimous solid crowd, sharing the same values and the same interests – sharing their spiritual warmth with inmates and looking together with them at the stars.

Fantastic, illuminating atmosphere. Powerful, liberating, distracting impact of classical music on ALL present. It felt like there was not one single inmate there – everyone present was carried away by the melodies…. Everyone was absent from prison, which felt like a home on November 24.

This is an excerpt from the inmates letter I received today. It will best express what I am not able to:

….”The idea of bringing classical music to help us console, heal and reform is ingenious. I was in a complete state of serenity. The magical sounds coming from the trio of strings was so soothing and therapeutic to me. I would close my eyes and find myself in a better place. Other times, I would survey the room and be amazed to see the expressions on the faces of other inmates, ones of astonishment, delight and vitality. A gloomy and dark place was now an illuminating place of hope and promise. Needless to say, your efforts were an astounding success, welcomed and appreciated…”

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