NAMI of Santa Cruz to hold benefit concert

(Cellist Jonah Kim. Contributed photo)

APTOS — National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) of Santa Cruz will be holding a special benefit concert at Cabrillo College’s Samper Recital Hall on Sunday.

“The Beauty Within: Music, Art & Stories of Resilience” features three successful professional musicians who have mental health challenges.

Tanya Gabrielian is a world-renowned pianist who has performed at famous venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Gabrielian has collaborated with NAMI in the past, and helped organize “The Beauty Within.”

Also performing is Grammy Award-winning cellist Jonah Kim. Kim, who immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea in 1995, was hailed by the Washington Post music critic Joseph McLellan as “the next Yo-Yo Ma.”

Violinist Helen Kim, who received her master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, will play as well. Kim has held the position of Associate Principal Second Violin of the San Francisco Symphony for the past four years.

“We are so excited to bring these amazing musicians together,” said NAMI of Santa Cruz Executive Director Janet Gluch. “This is a fundraiser that isn’t just about raising money — it actually has to do with our mission.”

Gluch explained that stigma surrounding people with mental illness can lead to a number of misconceptions, which is why an event that showcases their creativity and talent is so important.

“It challenges perceptions,” she said. “It shows people what is possible.”

“The Beauty Within” will begin at 2 p.m. and feature musical pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin and Shostakovich, with Gabrielian weaving stories in between the performances. An hour before the show, at 1 p.m., an exhibition of art created by individuals with mental health challenges and their families will be displayed. Additionally, the art will be available to view and purchase before and after the show at 17th Avenue Studios.

Gluch said she hopes that “The Beauty Within” will also inspire people to seek help if they feel the need to.

“We hope this concert can introduce NAMI in a more friendly, positive way,” she said. “And maybe it will encourage people to check out our classes and support groups.”

Ticket prices begin at $25 and are available online at Organizers encourage those who cannot attend to consider donating funds for people in the mental health community to attend the show.

For information about NAMI of Santa Cruz, visit


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