Beit T’Shuvah has always been a musical place, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that the music played and recorded here could be delivered to the masses. Enter BTS Music Publishing, the culmination of more than 6 years of talent, sweat, and musical genius that was spearheaded and led by the late and very dear Glenn Goss. It is a true representation of all that Beit T’Shuvah stands for: passion, purpose, and redemption. BTS Music Publishing is comprised of a merry band of misfit addicts who have found their second chance within the walls of BTS.
While it is its own enterprise, BTS Music Publishing works hand-in-hand with the new state-of-the-art recording studio, which was completed earlier this year. BTS Music Publishing sets out to bring in artists to record in the new Beit T’Shuvah studio as well as catalog all the existing original music from BTS. Music published by the company has appeared in the critically acclaimed series, Mr. Mercedes, as well as a number of commercials. The misfits who run the day to day operations are the following: Max H., Sound/Recording Studio Manager; Nate R., Cantorial Soloist/Music Department Manager; Zach S., Music Department Assistant/BTS Music Publishing Manager; James F., Creative Director BTS Music Department Manager; and Luca G., Creative Arts Coordinator. While these gents have a lot in common, the integral bond that they share is that Glenn Goss saw something in them and brought them together.
BTS Music Publishing is the brainchild of Glenn Goss and James F., who has been a part of Beit T’Shuvah for roughly 15 years. James came in as a resident in 2003 and soon played a pivotal role in creating the music and theater departments. He had an idea to produce a musical, and within six months, the music department was born. James even played a crucial role in developing the music we enjoy at services on Fridays and Saturdays.
Then in 2012, Glenn arrived as a resident. “When Glenn came in, we knew he was a musician, but he was keeping his distance. He had this burnt-out music thing about him. When that finally dissipated, we brought him into playing with us on Friday nights. That lead to an internship for Glenn and then eventually a job. That’s when Glenn told me he had an idea for publishing the music,” James explains. A few months later, James and Glenn went to Rabbi Mark with the idea for their company. Rabbi eventually said yes, and Glenn started the job, becoming the recording producer.
Then, in 2016, James left Beit T’Shuvah. “I was out of my mind. I went off the rails. I just couldn’t be around a sober community,” James explains. When James was finally ready to come back for treatment, Glenn was giddy with excitement. “I’m basically back in my old role,” says James, “but there is so much talent and hard work around me that Glenn brought in while I was gone. We are a genesis—to take what Glenn left us and make it into something really special.”
The recording studio was first created as a creative conduit for residents. As Max, the studio manager, explains, “it was started as an outlet to give the residents a way to express themselves musically and walk away with a finished product and get their voices heard.” But nothing was really being done with the original work. Beit T’Shuvah owned the rights to the intellectual property. Now, through BTS Music Publishing, if someone writes a song, it doesn’t just stay at Beit T’Shuvah. It has the potential to go out into the world and be heard. “Glenn saw that there was all this original music the people were creating for services and their own personal use. He understood that there was a lot of potential,” Nate, the cantorial soloist, adds.
With the recording studio up and running as well as the publishing company formed, the once fledgling music department now stands at the precipice of exciting opportunities. “We’re bringing them together, the recording studio and the publishing. It gives us the potential to add an outside, unknown artist to our catalog. That way, if something comes of it, they can make some money as well as help Beit T’Shuvah,” Max explains. The recording studio is open for all kinds of artists and can record everything from vocals to live drums and guitars. “We’re ready to handle anything,” Max says.
Most artists can attest that there is a lot of drug use in the creative world. This holds especially true in music production; recording studios have a reputation for being dens of illicit activity. BTS Music Publishing aims to challenge that trope and create a safe space for any artist who wants it. The boys are looking to find that niche market of sober musicians who want to record in a safe environment. “A lot of recording studios you go into are full of people getting high, So not trying to be exclusive to that, it’s a selling point to have a safe environment for artists who don’t want to get fucked up,” Max explains.
And they have big plans for BTS Music Publishing. “Our immediate goal is to build a library and to eventually partner with a bigger publisher and get our music synced, signed and to work with outside artists. We also hope to send our musicians to festivals to get their voices heard. I’ve been to Lake Street. It’s trash. Just as a Beit T’Shuvah grew to be this huge thing with 150 people in this beautiful building, I want BTS Publishing to grow into something big, bold and beautiful,” Zach says with a contagious fervor.
As I talk to the gents and sit with them in the recording studio, it’s very easy to forget that these are all addicts who were once crippled by addiction. Xanax, cocaine, booze, and heroin brought these men to their darkest hours. And when they eventually arrived at Beit T’Shuvah, they wanted nothing to do with music, as though it was this pure thing they had forever tarnished. It was Glenn who saw their potential and, in true Glenn fashion, was able to coax them back into the music world. Even James, who had originally brought Glenn into the music department would be guided back by Glenn this past year in a poetic twist of fate. There is a palpable brotherhood amongst this crew. Perhaps it’s their shared trauma of drug use, their timid reluctance to try their hands at creating music again, or maybe it’s the undercurrent of rhythm they all share. Whatever it is, they flow off each other as though they were all different instruments playing a very uplifting melody.
BTS Music Publishing is energetic, tenacious, mischievous, talented, full of love, dressed in passion and moving with swagger. Just like Glenn. Here’s to the next fifteen years of music-making, finding purpose, and second chances.