Under blue skies on a crisp, cool Monday afternoon (Dec. 20), Christmas songs filled Green Timbers Park as people in recovery sang the praises of a music therapy program in Surrey.
Guitar in hand, music therapist Felicia Wall led Phoenix Society residents through some holiday favourites.
The singers are all involved in the organization’s music therapy program, which for six years has included experiential emotional processing, weekly music jams, holiday parties and more.
Video of the lakeside choir is posted to Phoenix’s Facebook page, along with interviews of those involved in music therapy.
“Christmas can be a tough time of year for lots of people, but especially for people with addictions and in recovery because they’re here at the centre and not with their families and friends and at home,” Wall noted.
“It’s such a beautiful day and we wanted to come and just sing, and it wasn’t about sounding great or not sounding great, it was just about being here and doing it,” she added.
Shea Roddie, a musician and poet, is about to end his 90-day treatment program at Phoenix.
“I was amazed when I came to Phoenix that they offered music therapy and art therapy as a form of expression and getting in touch with some feelings that are difficult to look at sometimes,” Roddie said.
“They have a wonderful program,” he continued. “I’m a musician myself, also a poet and lyricist, and I’ve been involved in music for a long time. I kind of got away from it a lot, and when I was in the depths of my addiction, I was afforded an opportunity to explore some of those things again and to get reacquainted with something I’m very passionate about, something that I love, and it’s given me an opportunity to make a lot of strides in my recovery.”
Early in 2021, Wall has helped produce “The Phoenix Album Project: Hear Our Voices,” an album of songs performed by 14 resident musicians who live at Phoenix Society. The project took about six months to complete, and involved a lot of hard work to perform and record the eclectic collection of music – some originals, covers, country, rap, poetry and more.
Seeds for the 15-song album were planted from Wall’s work with residents during weekly music jams, lessons and therapy sessions at the Phoenix facility, on 94A Avenue. The music room there is filled with instruments for the musicians to play and express themselves.
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