On Saturday, September 17, 2022, Wrightwood Place and Centerstage Productions provided the hospitality for “One Vision, Many Voices,” a concert for awareness and solutions for victims of domestic abuse. While topics like domestic violence and abuse can often be overshadowed by major subjects such as disease, politics, or any number of current events, awareness can lead towards education on this tricky topic and bring it out into the open. The benefactor of the benefit dinner and show, A Better Way / Victor Valley Domestic Violence Inc., has been a conduit to understanding the delicate and private details involving the existence of this often-ignored problem.
October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the “One Vision, Many Voices” benefit concert and dinner embodied the spirit of awareness and is precisely what should be happening more often these days. With the theme, “Women Supporting Women Through Song And Strength,” the show blended the joy of music with sorrow and guilt, mixing it into harmony and understanding, sharing dinner and stories, enjoying each other’s company, and supporting a worthy cause.
With a full line-up of outstanding talent, Gayle Dowling and Dr. Greg Jones once again pulled together an ensemble of musicians, technicians, and volunteers for a seamless production. The terrific spaghetti dinner and show were the perfect recipe for an entertaining and informative evening. A well-balanced itinerary of keynote speakers and musical performances kept the audience captured all night. One original song by Jayde Burgen,” Covergirl,” represented the personal turmoil between being perfect and the reality of hiding out of embarrassment for fear of rejection. The evening was packed with musical talent, many original compositions, and plenty of popular favorites like Nine to Five by Dolly Parton, performed by the ensemble, and “If not for love,” sung by Claudia Campbell.
Exposing the matter of domestic, or any kind of, abuse in an open forum, as opposed to keeping it hidden away, may be easier said than done. Once the conversation had matured from greetings into opinions, the comments started flowing as if a certain comfort level had been found. Common ground and comfortable surroundings seem to lead to avenues of communication when exchanging personal experiences or situations regarding ideas and beliefs about Domestic Abuse.
“Sometimes just being aware helps,” said A Better Way Program Director Anita Gomez-Boettcher, “Having an opportunity to be somewhere like tonight’s event, where you have a comfortable setting, and you don’t feel like you are on the spot.” Francis Tellez, Legal Advocate and Class Facilitator for A Better Way, mentioned, “Domestic abuse is not just the physical type, there is verbal, psychological, emotional and financial abuse. And financial abuse is seen a lot more now with men. Men being financially abused by their spouses.”
Maybe music can be a bridge between fear and understanding.
A Better Way would like to thank Lou Antista-Suba and Jessica Noll, Show and Stage Managers, Leslie Mihalko, Promotional Designer, Producers Carol Dowling, and Dr. Greg Jones, and production assistants Michelle Schnieder, Susan McCloskey, and Cheryl Derrick. Special support for the event was provided by; The Wrightwood Blues Society, One Town at a Time, Ric Rice Studios, Centerstage Productions, Ray & Judy Bryson, The Village Grind, Terry Botorff, Tommy Dowling, and Davey Schneider. A Better Way / Victor Valley Domestic Violence Inc. has provided resources for victims of domestic abuse since 1988. Their Victorville campus provides a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse and teaches empathy, education, and empowerment so victims can move forward in life. A Better Way can be reached online at www.abway.org.