Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Friday, May 24, 2024

Uplift GNV: Benefit concert raises funds for free therapy to local musicians

Proceeds will go to Upbeat GNV’s scholarship for private therapy sessions

For Alex Klausner, a 33-year-old musician and drum instructor, the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be the most painful period he’d experienced in his music career. 

Worldwide quarantine fostered feelings of isolation, disconnection and depression. His mental health hit a low point, as he was indefinitely unable to meet other musicians and perform live.

Four years later, Klausner said his mental health is in a much better place. And as founder of the Gainesville-based nonprofit organization, Upbeat GNV, he invites music lovers to “raise a glass to mental wellness.” 

On April 6, Upbeat GNV will host its inaugural benefit show, "Uplift GNV," outside First Magnitude Brewing Company at 1220 SE Veitch St. 

“We were looking for a way to be useful to our music community and… to the situation that we all kind of suddenly found ourselves in,” he said. “That was the spirit in which Upbeat GNV was founded.”

Uplift GNV’s aim is to raise funds for Upbeat’s Musicians Therapy Scholarship, which covers mental health counseling costs for musicians. Recipients of the scholarship can use the funds to cover eight private therapy sessions at Gainesville Community Counseling Center, Klausner said.

“We have these artistic values in music,” Klausner said, “that to be a true artist, you have to be a tortured soul. I think too often, we glorify musicians for their sadness.” 

In creating Upbeat, Klausner said he was inspired by Nuçi’s Space, a nonprofit based in Athens, Georgia. The organization serves as “a safe space [for musicians] to seek support and guidance, provides access to affordable, obstacle-free professional care,” according to its website

John Gray Shermyen, a 34-year-old musician and Upbeat co-founder and director, said he and Klausner, in establishing the organization, addressed a need within the music community “during the darkest days of the pandemic.”

“The lack of work, future prospects, and human contact amplified mental health challenges for many of us,” Shermyan said. “It's an open secret that mental health and addiction struggles are rampant in the scene.” 

Uplift’s lineup of artists features six Gainesville bands: Trust Fall, Daydreaming GNV, Summer is Evil, Thomas Allain and Quil Darling. 

As a member of two Gainesville-based bands, Savants of Soul and Confession Kids, he said he is looking forward to the local artists scheduled to perform. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

“[The concert] will… remind us how lucky we are to be in a music scene as vibrant, thriving and eclectic as the one we have in Gainesville,” he said. 

Maxwell Bleiweis is a 28-year-old professional musician and music teacher. Also a co-founder of Upbeat, his motivation is to build a non-competitive community within the Gainesville music scene and effectively dismantle the stereotype of ‘the starving artist.’ 

“When your profession requires you to work tough hours, be on the road away from family and put everything aside for a performance,” he said. “Self-care is difficult and reliability is everything,” he said.

Casey Wooster, a 31-year-old Upbeat GNV co-founder and communications director, said Uplift is meant to be one way of making mental health care more accessible and affordable for musicians in Alachua County. 

“I hope it raises awareness to the need for access to mental healthcare at income levels,” she said. “There should never be a financial barrier to receiving help and resources needed for mental wellness. That’s where we hope we can help.” 

Wooster said the mental health crisis within the music community is an ongoing issue, and Upbeat intends to do more outside of the show. A specific area of interest of the group is drug and alcohol addiction. 

“One future initiative we hope to roll out in the future is a sober buddy program,” she said. “We will partner trained volunteers with musicians looking for support with sobriety at bars and other music venues.”

Uplift GNV is set to begin April 6 at 5:30 p.m., and admission is free to the public. 

Contact Emilia Cardenas-Perez at Follow her on X @emiliaandreaa.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.