“Music just lifts your whole heart up and it can change your whole attitude and your whole thinking. It makes us feel better. It makes us want to give more to other people.”
That’s how Jenny Mauller, a detainee at the Daviess County Detention Center, describes Music on Call, a community engagement program from the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra that brings music to the people, including those behind the walls of a prison.
“We were doing things like going into residential living facilities and performing music, and the idea behind it is we were taking music to them,” says Jeremy Stephens, Director of Operations for the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. “They couldn’t come to the concert hall, so we were going to them. That spurred into things like ‘random acts of music’ where we would pop up at a Walmart or a Target and just perform for people. And this came about from the detention center’s chaplain.”
For the prison outreach component of Music on Call, two or more people from the Symphony will facilitate weekly rehearsals, culminating in a performance at the church where Owensboro Symphony Orchestra pianist Diane Earle is the music director.
“This program, for some of them, has been everything,” says Earle. “Some of them have cried and shared stories about missing their children, and it’s been a cathartic therapy session for them. It’s not just about music and singing. It’s about trusting us, having people care about them, and sharing with them and having some real fellowship time. When you sing in a choir with other people you build this connection…you’re sharing in the art of making music, which is such a powerful gift.”
“We can have the best time of our life here,” says Mauller. “It’s like we’re outside of these walls. We are free. We are uplifted. And it’s just amazing to come together and see each other as women outside of here, and just sing together and become like sisters together. It’s amazing for the soul.”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life #2521, which originally aired on July 25, 2020. Watch the full episode.