The Phoenix Rising Music Studio at the Phoenix House Academy Orange County is now open! Kara DioGuardi, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, producer, music executive, and TV personality joined Phoenix House Orange County to announce the grand opening of the new music studio on November 4, 2013. The Phoenix Rising Music Program, which Kara created with the help of many musicians and music companies, is an arts therapy program that encourages clients enrolled in our residential substance abuse treatment programs to express themselves through music. Participation in the creative arts has increases self-esteem, reduces anxiety and depression, and aids the recovery process for people who struggle with substance abuse and/or co-occurring mental health problems. Nearly 40 musicians and organizations previously came together to build and expand the original Phoenix Rising Music Studio at the Phoenix House Academy Los Angeles.
Our new studio at the Phoenix House Academy Orange County in Santa Ana has been created through generous support from Phoenix House friends, including the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation, Golden State Foods Foundation, and Todd Blankenship. These supporters and dozens of others have helped with studio construction and have donated high-tech recording equipment for our teens. Clients were happy to use the new equipment and create their own songs describing their recovery. Ceremony attendees enjoyed samples of two new songs composed in the studio in its pre-opening phase.
Two clients also performed their original songs. One young man rapped his own lyrics to a recorded accompaniment and a young woman sang a lyrical song, accompanying herself on an acoustic guitar. Both students’ performances presented the difficulties of recovery juxtaposed with the desire to leave the past behind and remain sober. Guidance from Music Director John Morabito was apparent, as his extensive music studio experience refines and professionalizes the teens’ work. The few months that the teens had to rehearse in the studio were certainly fruitful and showed all the creative and therapeutic potential that lies within the studio and its users.
The Dedication Ceremony was attended by the representatives of donors: city and county officials Mitch Cherness, Bhuvana Rao, Ph.D.; Christy Read-Gomez from Orange County Health Care Agency; Probation Officers Glenn Blanton, Imelda Robles and Christina Kampczyk; Sgt. Manuel Chaves of Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department; and long-time Phoenix House friends, singer-actor Becky Baeling and Don Griffin.
On behalf of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Carlos Urquiza presented Congressional Recognition Certificates to Phoenix House and Kara DioGuardi. Phoenix House California’s Regional Director, Pouria Abbassi, recognized the efforts of donors – Kara DioGuardi, NAMM Foundation and the Golden State Foods Foundation. In the end, guests went home enriched by witnessing the talents and enthusiasm of young musicians transformed by recovery, eager to see and hear the talent future work in the studio will yield.