'Music for the Changing Voice' demonstrates that music can heal fractured hearts

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"Music for the Changing Voice" demonstrates that music can heal fractured hearts. Image: Peter Stranks. Used with permission.

We don't usually have a lot of music on rabble podcasts, and we're happy that rabble radio is full of music on this week's show. It’s a difficult theme though, related to a painful, personal story of childhood sexual abuse. Which makes it all the more important to do a program about it because a lot of the best songs expose pain and bring an awareness about the things we need to change.

Alyssa Wright is a cellist, singer-songwriter and now an actor and playwright. She's based in Barrie, Ontario.

Her one woman show Music for the Changing Voice is premiering tonight at Talk is Free Theatre in Barrie. In the show, she delves into the most painful of family histories -- her sexual abuse by her father when she was a pre-teen. In the story, though, her father is the secondary character. The main character whom she struggles against is her grandfather, her father's father.

It’s a story about family reputation and about hiding secrets. Though her grandfather has been gone now for over a decade, she is reminded of him every time she sees the name, The Don Wright Faculty of Music -- University of Western Ontario. He was a well known figure whom a lot of people in the music community still remember.  

In this interview, Alyssa talks to rabble podcast exec producer Victoria Fenner about her musical show and how especially difficult it is to escape from the memory of family members, especially when memorialized as "pillars of the community."

The music from Music for the Changing Voice is available on CD. You can find out more about the CD and Alyssa's project  by going to The Katie Project. The CD and the website also contains information for survivors of sexual abuse. In the credits for the CD, Alyssa writes "If this story in any way touches upon your own, please know that you are not alone, and there are many resources available to help you navigate through and heal from the aftermath."

Music credits: "Katie" and "Sword and Wand" by Alyssa Wright. Used with permission.

Musicians: Alyssa Wright, lead vocal and cello; Leslie Arden, piano and vocal harmonies; and Ray Dillard, marimba, percussion and vocal harmonies.

Image credit: Peter Stranks. Used with permission.

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