what we offer

FOM Music Society (FOM), known colloquially as Friends of Music, is a Registered Charitable organization that uses music as the basis for our partnership programs which offer rehabilitation, socialization and creative employment strategies for people with a mental illness.

Through our performing ensembles, programs and music lessons, we provide an accessible, safe, supportive and fun environment where musicians recovering from mental illness rehearse and perform in partnership with other musicians from the community.

Our goal is to focus on people’s abilities, thereby promoting a sense of purpose, confidence and self-esteem.

We offer day and evening programming as well as organized public concerts and special events.

To learn more about us, click on the icons below:

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

  • Making programs accessible and inclusive

  • Reducing barriers (financial and social)

  • Breaking down any stigmas around mental illness

  • Having a welcoming environment

  • Offering a sense of community and belonging

  • Observing the right to privacy (around diagnosis)

  • FUN!

— 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).