Takoma Park, Md. (March 10, 2017) The New England Youth Ensemble at Washington Adventist University, with conductor Preston Hawes, DMA, and guest conductor Lulu Mupfumbu, recently performed at the 12th Annual Living Legends Award Ceremony, held at Emmanuel-Brinklow Church in Ashton, Maryland.
Before the performance started, Professor Hawes shared his first-hand experiences with the September 11 attacks on New York City, and he described how music helped him manage and overcome the symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). He commended the program’s organizers for helping to shed light on the issues of mental illness.
Hawes offered a reminder that mental illnesses come in many forms, from short-term, manageable symptoms to life-long struggles. Unlike other physical illnesses where people are encouraged to seek medical help, misconceptions about mental illness often leave sufferers maligned and made to feel it is their fault.
“As a church community and as responsible citizens, we must do everything we can to dispel these misconceptions,” said Hawes. “We need to ensure that those who have a mental illness have the individual support networks and professional help necessary to successfully treat, manage, and ultimately overcome.”
Through its theme, “Out from the Shadows: Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness in our Communities,” the award ceremony sought to honor individuals who, despite their struggles with mental health, made significant contributions to their community. The weekend continued with seminars held on WAU’s campus, featuring guest speakers and medical professionals ready to answer questions and speak to those currently dealing with a mental health crisis.
Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County’s only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. Approximately 1,100 students of all faiths participate in the university’s nine graduate and 42 undergraduate programs. The 2016 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.