The New Note Orchestra is much like any other: players turn up for regular rehearsals and put on concerts for the public. But unlike any other orchestra, the participants are all in recovery from addictions.
The roots of New Note are in founder Molly Mathieson’s background in TV. During her TV career she created a programme called Addicts’ Symphony which proved life-changing for those involved. Inspired, she found a musical director in renowned musician Patrick Harrex and in July 2015 the first players, ranging from beginners to trained musicians, came together to start rehearsals.
Participants are paired with mentors for support and musical guidance, and Patrick works to harness their musical talent in order to both play and compose. “When you’re playing music, it’s meditative, you’re in the now, and that’s a great thing for people in recovery,” says Molly, who notes the achievement of all involved in attending regular structured sessions. The group has also seen the benefits of music in providing an outlet for often painful emotions.
Brighton will be the scene of New Note’s next ventures, among which will be a guitar group and percussion group, and the ultimate goal is to roll out orchestras across the UK.