Essence Oct20

San Quentin prison gets a new music program: ‘It will make an incredible difference’

Article written by Aidin Vaziri, published on Oct 19, 2023 in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Hoping to transform the lives of San Quentin prisoners through the healing power of music, longtime San Francisco vocal coach Essence Goldman has embarked on a new mission.

Through her nonprofit organization, Believe Music Heals, Goldman plans to introduce a program of musical training and performance within the prison walls of California’s oldest penitentiary, aiming to foster creativity, community and personal improvement.

Goldman, the driving force behind making ALS-stricken surfer Bernie Dalton’s musical dream a reality, recently secured approval for a 16-week music program at San Quentin State Prison, to begin on Nov. 1 and run through the spring. The program will teach a select group of 25 incarcerated people how to sing, play musical instruments and compose original pieces, culminating in a compilation album of recordings written and performed by the participants.

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