By: Kerry Reifel
Michael Scholz remembers himself as a rebellious teenager that became entangled in the harsh realities of life on the streets of Anchorage. During which, he was a resident at Covenant House Anchorage off and on for several years. Despite those early difficulties, his life is very different now and he is thriving by any measure. Today, he is not only working towards his master’s degree but is also a successful technology salesperson and a musician with a band called Somnum Foris.
His journey began when he sought refuge at Covenant House Alaska after leaving home at the age of 15. Covenant House Alaska provided him with stability, community and the support of a case worker during the next three years. Then, he was able to keep employment, get a GED during that time and his first apartment at the age of 18.
Michael’s love for music was his constant companion during his turbulent youth. He immersed himself in the world of punk and heavy metal, finding an outlet in the mosh pits of concerts which he described as a way to channel his anger in a safe environment. The music and the concerts were an outlet for him.
Michael credits a CHA volunteer with first teaching him the piano. There was a piano in the day room at CHA that he would sit and try to play. At that time, he hadn’t any formal training, but a volunteer named Phyllis noticed his interest and began to teach him the fundamentals, like music theory, hand placement and even a couple of songs.
He used it as a form of therapy and self-expression, composing songs that narrated the struggles faced by those living on the streets. These days, under the banner of his band, Somnum Foris, which is Latin for “Sleep Outside”, he is releasing an album titled “Dark Places in Cold Cities.” The album aims to shed light on the suffering that society often chooses to ignore. Michael is donating the proceeds from this album to Covenant House Alaska.
Michael’s own life stands as a testament to the transformative power of compassion and the importance of providing opportunities for those in need. He said, “I am thankful for the help I had received from Covenant House Alaska during the times of my life where I was young, lost and more vulnerable. It was a pivotal part of my journey into adulthood.”
From his rebellious teenage years to finding success in his career and his music hobby, Michael Scholz’s story exemplifies the strength of the human spirit. Through his actions, he continues to make a difference, aiming to inspire and uplift those who have been through similar struggles and hardships.