There are some who say the cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” But what if sadness is the thing you need to be cured from? Tears are certainly a wonderful expression of sadness, but they do little to heal it at the source.
Then there are those who say, “Laughter is the best medicine.” In my experience, laughter can often do a tremendous job of masking sadness without actually healing it at the root. This is not to say that laughter is not important. It can be a wonderful coping mechanism. But I don’t believe it is capable of truly healing our pain at its core.
Allow me to suggest another healing method: music. When my daughter and I first moved to Jacksonville in the fall of 2017, it was the most recent of four major moves since she started pre-K in Georgia. That means by fifth grade, she had attended five different elementary schools. As a single mother, I knew that I needed to follow my career trajectory and do what was best for us financially, but I also knew that I owed her some semblance of stability. So I promised that moving to Jacksonville would be it—at least until she finished middle school.
And yet, I knew she was unhappy. She attended one of Duval County’s best public elementary schools for gifted students and had no trouble forging friendships. Still, my girl was suffering from depression, and she needed something to pull her from the doldrums of her lifestyle and reignite the spark of creativity and joy that she was capable of experiencing. Yes, I booked her an appointment with a therapist, butI also registered her to audition for the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus.
I firmly believe that participating in an artistic organization like the JCC offers invaluable therapeutic benefits for children who may be emotionally drifting without another creative outlet. As I mentioned, my daughter started seeing a therapist and rebounded quickly from her depressive symptoms, but it happened concurrently with her enrollment and participation in a choir that teaches children self-discipline, teamwork, artistic expression and good citizenship.
The chorus, founded in 1995, is Jacksonville’s largest provider of music education, enriching the lives of singers and audiences across the region. The nonprofit organization offers scholarships to any child who wishes to sing, through the generous support of sponsors and donors.
My child is a scholarship recipient, and our family could not be more grateful to all the donors who give in order that she may be able to take part in this wonderful group whose music lifts my spirits every time I attend a performance. I can only imagine how it works to lift the spirits of the children who perform and rehearse every single week, all for the love of music and the arts in Jacksonville and beyond.
The chorus hosts its annual Mardi Gras fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. There will be jazz musicians as well as performances by the JCC Touring Choir and adult ensemble Voices of Jacksonville along with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and dancing, aerialists, a tarot card reader and live and silent auctions. Come take part in the celebration of music, of our talented children, and of the power that music has to evoke all levels of emotion.
Wadley is the parent of a JCC performer.