Majestic. A storm of emotions brought tears to my eyes. Sadness, despair, hopelessness, a wisp of playfulness encased in iron. And, through the pain, and blinking stars, a spark of hope.
I work in this institution as a peer caregiver. …On the day of the performance I brought one of clients with advanced dementia. Most of the time he is unresponsive… it was first live performance that he had been to… at one point he started leaning far forward in his wheelchair as if he was trying his utmost to get closer to the music … That was a proof to me that music most definitely has a profound effect on the dementia brain.” Thank you for giving my client that gift.
I have never imagined or dreamed to be in a concert of this caliber, while incarcerated. My eyes were full of tears, and stars, and I did not want the performance to end.
This opportunity was healing for all the people that attended. As I looked around the gym, I did not see inmates and staff. There was no ‘us and them.’ I simply saw large group of human beings that were all there as equals to enjoy the beautiful performance of a man who is a master of his craft. That realization might have been the greatest gift of all for me that day.
I felt unbelievably blessed by the TSO concert. Like many, I personally love Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and we couldn’t have asked for a better performance. I also appreciated the Q&A time afterwards. It was a way of demonstrating the inmates’ interest, investment and appreciation in/for the concert – all of which was made very clear. I also felt the musicians carried themselves with a sincere humility. I think the inmates felt valued by this.
This is my first time hearing the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and I was absolutely impressed by their performance. I was extremely grateful to be present for this. We had previously encouraged our program participants to attend and I was so glad to see 4 out of 9 that attended. Our participants had nothing but positive feedback [for the] performance and very much appreciated hearing the Orchestra. It was so different and new to them as opposed to their usual rock music. They all commented on how they felt really good and [were] very relaxed afterwards
I absolutely loved the performance. The music made me feel relaxed.
The music made me feel extraordinarily special.
I did made feel like I worth living not judged.
I was stressed out before the performance, but when I left I was relaxed. I loved the passion Andrea showed during her performance, you can see how it touched everyone in the room.
Sometimes this place is so hopeless and doing the life sentence was resigned to dying in here. This music gave me hope and faith in someday getting out of here permanently…
I wish everyone in this world could have an opportunity to hear just a little of your music, I truly believe it could help heal and mend pain and sorrow, and even hate.
I have some rough time recently and today I was relax and I have to say thank because I feel better now and it was my 1st experience. I am French from Q city and I hope you understand what I write, because I am not so good to write in english.
It real touch my heart, because I lost my wife Patsy, on January 8, 2018. This music real make me feel much better, and it could some pain away from me.
The idea of bringing classical music to help us console, heal and reform is INGENIOUS. I was in complete state of serenity…… A gloomy and dark place was now an illuminating place of hope and promise…
I always hope for a better future and your visit made me feel like I am headed in the right direction and dreams can come true….it was a splendid vacation on the other side of the tracks.
…. Your music was like a well of water in a secret place, that pours out freedom and a cool breeze to a troubled soul… It had a healing impact on me and lifted me out of the prison…
I have always liked classical music and today’s performance was profoundly exceptional. It took me on a journey of emotions that I have not felt in a long time. It also gave me hope for the future.
The event, which I now have experienced twice, took me for a journey to freedom. I could feel this freedom inside my body as well as deep into my psyche.
… We all talked about your “consert” for weeks and we all planned to see you. It takes guts and the Ballz of steel to stand up in front of every group of people, but to play beautiful Sonnet in front of hardened criminals and murders and bad bad people… I respect you [more than] any one I met before. I was the guy with the dark sunglasses that ask why you do what you do…
…You see, Dmitri, these inmates are used to (some) people coming in from the outside who want to act like saviours in order to fulfill some egotistical need. We had one clown last year, some ex-football player, who came in and got paid $10,000 from the inmate welfare fund. Credibility is extremely important to inmates, so when you came in on that Friday afternoon for free, with very expensive world class musicians and you began talking, they listened. Was the music beautiful…absolutely… But for me, it was the act of selfless love and compassion that elevated it all to a whole new stratosphere of meaning and beauty….
My favorite song tonight was by Brahms Hungarian Dance No.5, I had goose bumps I felt sadness but also joy. It was my father’s favorite song, every time my father was in the Café he would call the Gypsy wit a violin over to play him that song…when I heard the song I was returned back to my childhood. I had tears in my eyes but I was happy, it inspired me to do everything I can to get out and return to my homeland to pay respects to my father…
Lukas Geniusas’ performance was amazing. The informational exchanges were unique, affording us an opportunity to ask questions and feel a sense of participation instead of just being an audience member. A full week later a group of men sat in the Lifer’s office and discussed what we had experienced; what was for many of us a truly once in a lifetime experience. … 30 minutes in to the conversation I challenged everyone present to think of the last time they had actually done that in a penitentiary setting. Collectively no one could recall having been moved in that manner and then being open and honest enough to share it wit a group of men.
… I’ll probably die here, in Fenbrook Institution…For the purposes of survival, we all blunt our senses and feelings, a great deal. Some more, than others and some with artificial aid (drugs). I’ve been clean for many years. Mostly because the price of a joint is ridiculous. This may be the first time you’ve heard of financially responsible druggie. Anyway, the night of your event here, shook me up significantly.
The beauty of the music, the sight of fingers dancing masterfully across the strings, the richness of the whole environment and the calibre of the experience as a whole was profound. It tore away my emotional armor and left me defenseless. It was hard to leave. I have not felt so raw, and subsequently devoid of meaningful stimulus, since then. I am having to reapply all my emotional buffering. There is a price to pay for the uplift, and it takes time to desensitise once again. Worth it nonetheless.
This visit elevated the psyche of all who attended. Somehow each person feels worth all of a sudden. In the units there’s a feel of calm which I directly link to the concert… Classical music expanded their mind and increased their empathy. I have not seen such professionalism since my last visit to Dresden. Next time…violin?
It was a wonderful experience to have someone perform live and see the emotion expressed through the music. It brought life back into me, I have a long sentence and that connection to the “real” world was wonderful, healing, liberating.
I have a brother who was incarcerated and attended one of your concerts. It was a special moment for him that he still carries in his heart as he navigates life on the “outside”. We both appreciate so much that you have chosen to share your gifts with people who are so often overlooked. It is a more beautiful thing then there are words for. Have a wonderful holiday season.