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“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” ― Maria Augusta von Trapp

Beit T’Shuvah’s music program has proven invaluable to numerous BTS residents and truly life-changing to others. And we have Sandy and Marvin Smalley to thank for that.

Music has always been integral to the Smalley’s life. Marvin plays the piano – by ear. He has long played not only for the enjoyment of friends and family (often with sing-along sheets for all), but for numerous residents, patients and visitors at the Jewish Home for the Aging, Children’s Hospital and Cedars-Sinai. “Marvin plays the piano for me every night; I make dinner to music,” says Sandy. Marvin also plays the ukulele, which he brings on all family vacations. (He is described by this writer’s mother as a mensch.)

Beit T’Shuvah has long been important in the lives of the Smalley family, and the Smalleys have long been important to Beit T’Shuvah. They believe in the power of music to inspire and to create change. It is in that spirit that they created the Sondra and Marvin Smalley Music in Recovery Program, which includes the band, the choir, the recording studio, special events like Motown and Rolling Stones shabbats, BTS Music Publishing and the talent show.

Sandy was impressed with cantorial soloist Nate Roth when she heard him sing at an event honoring Harriet at the Jewish Home, and mentioned him to Marvin. So impressed that the Smalleys have offered to fund Beit T’Shuvah’s cantorial position and work therapy internships (one of which led Nate to his current position). Taking on the role of cantorial soloist and growing in the role has been a blessing for Nate, and seeing him flourish in the role has been a blessing for all of us. In the Fall 2017 Donor Newsletter, we profiled Nate. In the last paragraph he wrote, “My current goal is to become a cantorial soloist and song leader here at Beit T’Shuvah.”

Nate has achieved this goal, and is incredibly grateful. “I love what I do on a daily basis,” he says. “I’ve always had a passion for music, and when I’m singing is when I feel most in the moment and alive; it is a part of me that was lost for a long time. The meaningful relationships I’ve built within the community have made it possible for me to live well. The opportunities that have been available to me here have truly been a blessing.”

Nate’s 2017 profile: “I thank the donors who have made all of this possible for me.” Our 2019 addendum: “Thanks to Sandy and Marvin Smalley, who have made Beit T’Shuvah’s music program available for all, musician and listener alike.”

Please join BTS for Rock for Life, May 18, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. For tickets or more information, please contact Amy Abrams at 310-204-8500 x203 or aabrams@beittshuvah.org.