Our Stories

Voices through vocals: Creative Works Studio music group releases debut album

Toronto, March 8, 2016

By Kendra Stephenson

The Social Mystics’ releasing a debut album, Coming Out of Darkness
The Social Mystics’ releasing a debut album, Coming Out of Darkness

They say that where words fail, music speaks; spanning differences and creating understanding. Music is giving a voice to those who struggle with mental health issues at St. Michael’s Creative Works Studio with its musical group The Social Mystics’ releasing a debut album, Coming Out of Darkness.

Creative Works Studio is an arts-based occupational therapy program that promotes healing and recovery for people suffering from serious mental illness. Running five days per week, the East End Toronto studio helps more than 2,500 clients transition into the larger community. The studio offers a variety of art workshops including pottery, painting, sculpture, songwriting, screen printing and digital photography.

Beginning as a poetry group that met on Wednesday afternoons, The Social Mystics evolved into nine members who wrote songs and practised music together. The group has written between 40 and 50 songs since 2007, spanning every music style.

Social Mystics self-describe Coming Out of Darkness as “gospel meets Broadway theatre meets a flash mob” – with songs about everyday life, first loves and even the weather. The debut album is a window into the lives of those living with mental health issues, but does so in an understated, non-obvious fashion.

“We didn’t want to directly talk about mental illness with this project,” said Isabel Fryszberg, an occupational therapist at Creative Works Studio and a musician. “We wanted the focus to be about giving a voice to each member, healing, feeling included and not being limited or defined by a disease.”

A launch event for the album is scheduled to be held at the Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick St., on Tuesday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $10 or pay what you can, with albums priced at $15. Coming Out of Darkness will be on sale during the concert as well as many other art pieces created by members of Creative Works Studio. All proceeds will go to supporting the Creative Works Studio.

The production and release of the Social Mystics’ album was made possible by grants provided by the Ontario Arts Council and the J.P. Bickell Foundation.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About Creative Works Studio

Creative Works Studio is an arts-based occupational therapy program serving people with mental health and addictions issues by offering healing through the power of artistic expression. It is part of St. Michael’s Hospital’s Inner City Health Program, and is in partnership with Good Shepherd Non-Profit Homes Inc.

Media contacts

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leslie Shepherd
Manager, Media Strategy, St. Michael's Hospital

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