what we offer

FOM Music Society, known colloquially as ‘Friends of Music’, is a Registered Charitable organization that offers musical opportunities to persons recovering from mental illness.

We offer a range of group music lessons, performing ensembles, drop-in music programs, community concerts and special events, with day and evening programming available.  We provide a safe, inclusive, accessible, and fun environment where new learners and skilled musicians can rehearse and perform in partnership with other musicians from the community.   Our aim is to support each person’s recovery goals through fostering connections and community, building self-confidence, skills development, and creative employment opportunities. 

Our programs are accessed through self-referral. 

In line with our goal of being a participant led organization, we offer annual memberships at a low cost, for just $10 annually. We encourage participants to pay the membership fee to become a full voting member of our Society. However, paid membership is not a condition of participation, and this ensures that our music programs are accessible to everyone. 

We operate out of the Eric Martin Pavilion Theatre (part of the Jubilee Hospital), thanks to the generous support of Island Health.  

who we are

our story

FOM Music Society, known colloquially as Friends of Music, was born out of an idea to bring together musicians experiencing mental illness to form a Big Band.

A passionate advocate and supporter, working in the mental health sector, had a vision to emphasize people’s abilities and talents and harness the therapeutic power of music. Folks living in mental health housing sites or accessing mental health services were invited to join the band. These founding members began playing music together, encouraged others to join and soon the group was rehearsing and performing as the Moodswing Orchestra. The band provided an opportunity for people who may have become isolated to reconnect with other musicians and engage in community. FOM Music Society was founded as a Registered Charity in 1989.

In the early years, the Moodswing Orchestra performed regularly at the University of Victoria and The Empress Hotel tea dances. As more musicians joined, new groups including a country ensemble and a rock band were created increasing the diversity of musical genres and instruments. FOM Music Society continues to grow and now offers more than 15 programs, five days per week, supported by an enthusiastic team of musical directors, volunteers and staff.

Our focus remains on providing musical opportunities for people experiencing or recovering from mental illness, in a way that promotes a sense of purpose, confidence and self-esteem. FOM programming takes place at the Eric Martin Pavilion on the Royal Jubilee Hospital site thanks to the generous support of Island Health providing use of the theatre building. This location enhances our partnership with Island Health and affords convenience for those participants who may be connected to onsite services.

— Our Values

  • Having FUN!

  • Providing accessible and inclusive music programs

  • Reducing barriers (financial and social)

  • Providing a welcoming and supportive environment for our members and participants

  • Fostering connections, community and sense of belonging

  • Learning and skills building

  • Breaking down stigma around mental illness

Progress Pride flag

—Community word art project

In 2020, we asked our members and participants ‘What does FOM Music Society mean to you?’.  We passed around a clipboard to our musicians, instructors and staff.  They put their heads together and wrote the words and phrases that came to mind. 

Their words were compiled together into the heart graphic that you see featured around our website (above).  

annual report 2023

That’s a wrap!  We held our Annual General Meeting on April 18th, 2024.  

Our FOM Music Society Annual Report covers the year ended on December 31st, 2023.

Click below to view and download a copy in PDF: