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Charlie Blum and cast

Charlie Blum, far left, is pictured with the cast and crew of "Harmonies for Healing."

Charlie Blum is a great believer in the healing properties of music.

"I know it does work. Whether it's the lyrics of a song that serve to lift you up or (the idea) that you can escape into something beautiful," music helps to heal (and inspire), Blum said.

Blum, former president and CEO of Star Plaza Theatre, is the executive producer and co-creator of "Harmonies for Healing," a two-part docu-series about the healing force of music. Part one of  "Harmonies for Healing" is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Oct. 18 on Lakeshore Public Media and part two will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Oct. 25.

"The docu-series is about the transformative power of music to affect positive change in the lives of individuals and their communities," Blum said. The final performance featured in the show was recorded last August at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. The group Under the Streetlamp, which Blum put together, is featured in the show.

Through the program, television viewers will hear from individuals from the Region who have been affected, transformed and influenced by music. Sixteen finalists appear in the final performance while throughout the show, interviews are done with various other individuals who auditioned for the project.

Blum said auditions were held last year at Star Plaza Theatre where he sought to focus on people from the area.

"Hundreds of individuals from throughout Northwest Indiana came out to be part of this groundbreaking project," Blum said. "We weren't looking for just talent. We were looking for individuals of all ages - high schoolers to senior citizens - that had a story to tell of how music has impacted their lives and served as a healing process when dealing with life's challenges. Their stories are heartwarming and inspiring," Blum said.

People featured in the show have lived through a number of problems and challenges including cancer, other illnesses, abuse, bullying and more.

The producer, who said the idea for this project was brewing for the last 10 years, said he specifically wanted to focus on the Region.

"We have so much talent in Northwest Indiana ... I chose Northwest Indiana because it is a microcosm of America," Blum said, adding it is a melting pot of races, religions and ages. He said through his experience with entertainment in the Region, his work at Star Plaza and his involvement in community theater as well he's witnessed how music has been a powerful force in people's lives.

Blum said he's admired the work of local community theater folk such as Angie and Paul Lowe and Melinda, Gerauld and Michael Reinhart, who have "nurtured the passion and talent of so many people in our community that may have never had an opportunity or an outlet to express themselves."

"They are heroes to me," Blum said, about the Lowes and Reinharts.

Blum added through his work with many of the professional musicians at Star Plaza Theatre he also had a chance to talk with many of them who's lives were testaments to the transformative and healing power of music.

Blum said he brought the "Harmonies for Healing" project to PBS because the broadcasting company is an "innovator" in mass media. He has other ideas for future PBS projects.


Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.