BUCKHANNON – A 2015 Harvard Medical School Study declared that, “music is a great healer” and said a growing body of research demonstrates that music helps improve medical outcomes and adds to the quality of people’s lives in multiple ways.
Locally, the veterans’ musical group, Middle C Vets, has jumped on that bandwagon and is offering veterans the opportunity for fellowship, fun, learning and healing through music. Following their discharge from the military, many veterans are afflicted by post-traumatic stress disorder or other physical or mental conditions that stem from the stressful and dangerous environments in which they served.
Instructor Patrick Brooks said Middle C Vets offers free guitar workshops for veterans, and the group is currently accepting applications through Dec. 27, 2019 for their next classes, which will begin Jan. 2, 2020 and run through Feb. 21, 2020.
“The new sessions of the program will give vets an opportunity to add to the seven or eight guys who are currently out playing together,” Brooks said. “The advanced group has been at it for more than two years.”
Brooks said that folks signing up for the program do not need to have any prior musical experience – just the desire to have fun, learn and heal through music.
“They don’t even have to have a guitar to come and learn,” Brooks shared. “We have folks that donate to our group, and guitars are available. Those donations are greatly appreciated.”
The advanced group made their first appearance last Christmas when they played at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 4357 in Buckhannon.
“That first performance gave members of the group an idea of what they needed to work on for performances,” he said. “They also played at the Jackson’s Mill Jubilee where they attracted a huge crowd. The support from their family and friends was phenomenal.”
Along with those performances, Brooks said the Middle C Vets performed at the Wayside Southern Baptist Church located on Brushy Fork Road in Buckhannon a few weeks ago. Brooks said the Wayside Southern Baptist Church has graciously allowed the group to practice at their location.
“We have been asked to play at the Upshur and Weston Senior Centers,” he said. “Next season, we will probably be performing at the Festival Fridays, and we will be opening up the Maple Syrup Festival in Pickens in March 2020.”
Brooks said there are approximately 2,000 veterans in Upshur County, and he welcomes all veterans to come and join the Middle C Vets. Although not a veteran himself, Brooks said he became interested in the program for two reasons – one, while working in the oil fields, he met a long-time Vietnam veteran who shared his memoirs – and two, he had a friend who asked him to help with Guitars for Vets, which is a national volunteer program that also helps veterans learn to play guitars.
“That persuaded me to do what I could to help these vets,” he said. “We want the vets to have fun, we want everybody to learn, but most of all, we want everybody to heal – that’s what music is about – healing,” Brooks said.
Applications for the upcoming sessions of Middle C Vets Program sessions in Jan. and Feb. 2020 are available online at www.middlecvets.org and the application deadline is Dec. 27, 2019. Additional questions should be directed to Brooks by calling 304-460-9752 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.