Healing With Music

album of local talent will combat substance abuse

Max Martinson

SONGS FOR A CAUSE. Jennifer Coyne, a licensed therapist and area musician, is behind an effort to produce an album of local music to help combat substance abuse.
SONGS FOR A CAUSE. Jennifer Coyne, a licensed therapist and area musician, is behind an effort to produce an album of local music to help combat substance abuse.

Jennifer Coyne is a licensed therapist and local musician who has used the power of music in her efforts to combat substance abuse in the Chippewa Valley. During years working as a therapist, Jennifer noticed the positive effects that music had on her patients. At the same time, she watched other local musicians fall into the spiral of addiction.

“It made me sad,” she said, “knowing that they now connected music to drugs and alcohol.” To Jennifer, music is an extremely important tool in the process of evoking, identifying, and processing emotions – on therapeutic and personal levels, she has witnessed music enrich lives and deepen personal connections.

In response to the troubles she saw in the community, she united her art and her practice to start a program called Music Heals. The intent for Music Heals was to create a space for people who play music to reconnect with their art in a setting free from drugs and alcohol. Additionally, Arbor Place, a Menomonie treatment center where Music Heals is situated, now offers patients a variety of instruments thanks to Jennifer and others from the music community who made donations.

“If I could find an independent revenue stream specifically for Music Heals, Arbor Place would be more likely to continue the project” she said. To this end, Jennifer started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money in order to record a CD and use the profits to fund Music Heals. The idea took off and she received a grant from Visit Eau Claire as well as some significant donations from the community.

Now, after collaboration with more than two dozen local musicians – including Sue Orfield, Max Garland, Randy Sinz, David Jones, Duffy Duyfhuizen, Nick Foytik, and Greg Gilbertson – and 40 hours in Pine Hollow Studios, the CD is almost completed. The project, titled Homegrown, is slated to come out sometime this fall with a total of 12 tracks. Ultimately, Jennifer’s goal is to help recovering musicians come out of anonymity. She wants them to be comfortable asking for help, and she wants Arbor Place and Music Heals to be musician-friendly places that advocates for them.

So check out their GoFundMe page (gofundme.com/100-organic-locally-grown), and consider donating a few bucks to a great cause, then reap the benefits this fall when the album comes out. Local musicians are integral to the cultural life of the Chippewa Valley, and anything we can do to support them helps us all.