A free evening of inspirational music and reflections at The Ridgefield Playhouse on Sat., May 12 will bring awareness to the challenges of mental illness and address the stereotypes, fear, stigma and shame of mental illness in an unforgettable evening entitled Hope for Mental Illness.

The SymphoNYChorus, a dynamic New York City-based ensemble of vocalists and instrumentalists, will perform at 7 p.m. and be joined by Paul Dalio, writer, director and composer of the 2015 film Touched With Fire. He will share insights about the film, which was inspired by his own struggle to overcome bipolar disorder. It tells the story of two poets with bipolar disorder played by Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby who meet in a psychiatric hospital and fall in love. Dalio also is the 2018 recipient of the Yale Department of Psychiatrys Research Advocacy Award.

State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Jonathan Steinberg (D-136) also will attend and share Connecticuts legislative priorities around mental health.

This is the second year were bringing together amazing musical talent and gifted speakers who engage and inspire, all in the name of better understanding mental illness,said Kate Mattias, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Connecticut. Audience members leave with hope in their hearts, and practical insights in their heads.

Held during Mental Health Awareness Month, the concert is sponsored by Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, in association with the NAMI Connecticut chapter.

The concert is free but you can ensure your seating by registering at www.bit.ly/tschope.

The SymphoNYChorus is a faith-based community of vocalists and instrumentalists committed to sharing the message of God's love with musical creativity, passion and excellence. Founded in 2008 by Director Henric Idestrom, the group has performed at churches, outdoor events and non-profit organizations all over the tri-state area. To learn more about the group, visit www.thesymphonychorus.com.