Comments from Members of EIFW New Beginnings Choir
“Dear Eva and Bob: … It took coming to prison to realize that the world is full of good and excellent people such as yourselves. Thank you for giving up your time and putting yourselves out there for me, for all of us. Song and music has brought much happiness and joy into my life as it has also brought freedom and peace into my heart.”
“In my experience being in a gloomy environment. A place of Isolation, routine and loneliness. The choir gives me strength, hope and Inspiration to let the beautiful person within me free … Having you enlighten us once a week with song is a temporary distraction from our lives within these walls. In my own experience singing lifted my spirits when the process of healing, grieving and changing took its toll on my heart.”
“Dear Eva: Thank you so much for the time and effort you and Bob put into this small choir. It always fills me with joy and my life becomes hopeful and a feeling of ‘things will be all right’, will come over me. The positive feedback we get from the other residents and the staff build our self-esteem. ‘Atta girl!’ comments are few and far between so when we hear them it’s a real boost… The friendships I’ve made through the choir are a true gift. Choir night is really the only night I step out of the house, so it’s brought me a little freedom and a place I feel safe.”
“I want to say thank you for everything that you have done for all of us. I love the fact that you took the time to get to know us as people and have faith in us!”
“That first choir practice was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Not only to sing in front of seven of my peers, but in front of two strangers. By the time I left that chapel I was in absolute awe of Eva Bostrand, and honestly, myself. She had made me feel so comfortable and confident. I admired her patience with obviously inexperienced singers. She was so knowledgeable and made everything seem easy and fun. I was touched when I learned that Eva drove across the city, rain or shine, every single week to spend 1 ½ hours with eight criminals… Eva provided us with the opportunity to open our minds to new cultures and ideas. She taught us how to face our fears and rise above them.
In the many months that followed I attended choir each week. There was finally something to look forward to. I was learning so much about something I never thought I would be interested in. Eva had organized events and opportunities for us that had allowed us to interact with members of her choir from the “real world”, as well as showcase the skills we had developed while spending time with her. Also, choir really helped in the way that I interacted with people in my personal life as well. My case management team also noticed a positive change in me and indicated this in my progress reports. Having positive results come out of choir I began to involve myself in other activities and was not reluctant to go out of my room anymore. I was more approachable and had friends. I was not always on the offensive which I noticed made life a lot less stressful. My friends and family noticed the difference in me as well, which has helped me to rebuild positive relationships with them.
I attribute these changes in myself and in my life to Eva Bostrand and the ‘New Beginnings’ choir. It was truly my new beginning in life and has continued to be a positive influence in my life in the ‘real world’…”.