A space for creativity and calm
amidst a turbulent world
On January 15, 2002, Alexandra was shot and killed along with her mother, Sandy, and her grandparents, Juanita and James, by her stepfather, Michael.
He then killed himself. Alex was a dear friend to Remy, Barbara Montgomery's daughter--
as she was to all in her class at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
We will never know the reasons why Michael chose this road of sorrow. The retreat center rose from the ashes of this tragedy.
We remember them, always.
About Our Founder
Barbara Montgomery, Founder/Executive Director
Ms. Montgomery has a diverse portfolio of businesses encompassing:
She is a certified Integrative/Holistic/Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner specializing in orthomolecular medicine, nutritional biochemistry, chronic degenerative disease, PTSD, women’s health, age management, performance and recovery for professional and amateur athletes, and pediatric neurological organization and development. She works alongside individuals and families with the goal of optimal wellness.
As a Buddhist practitioner for over 50 years, she incorporates various methods of meditation practice in her stress response and management protocols, teaching individuals the effects that our mental/psychological/emotional states have on our physiology. When we understand the unity of mind, body and spirit, we can understand the loop for “ease” or “dis-ease” that is created when we are not in balance.
Along with her consultation practice, Ms. Montgomery also teaches seminars on wellness and preventive care internationally to allopathic and world medical tradition health professionals. She assists health professionals in integrating wellness protocols and education into their practices to support the best in healthcare for their patients. She also conducts webinars and in-person seminars for community and corporate groups desiring lifestyle healthcare and preventive practices.
She is a President Emeritus, a Senior Teacher and a Board Member of The Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia for over 30 years, with direct instruction from Venerable Losang Samten and His Holiness the Dalai Lama along with many other revered teachers. She is also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Ministries, whose guiding principle is simple and based on compassion for all: individuals are free to live their spiritual truth however they see fit, so as long as their beliefs and practices do not infringe upon the freedoms or rights of others.
She has had the good fortune to have been trained and taught by Dr. Linus Pauling (Nobel Prize, Chemistry and Peace), Dr. Ralph Pelligra, MD, Chief Medical Officer, NASA/Ames, Glenn Doman, Founder, Child Brain Development, IAHP, Dr. Perry Krichmar, MD, (cardiology); Dr. Stan Pierce, Jr., DC, Dr. Milan Moore, MD (orthopedics), Dr. Yeshe Donden (Tibetan medicine, physician to HH the Dalai Lama), along with many other recognized experts in diverse fields of preventive care, brain injury and biochemistry.
For over 40 years she has developed programs for brain-injured and well children based on the understanding of neurological growth and development founded on her training and clinical work at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential. She was also a teacher in The International School and has taught languages, art, music, violin (direct guidance from Dr. Shinichi Suzuki), the sciences, history, literature, and gymnastics, among other areas in the academic and physical programs to tiny children, giving them a foundation for achieving their potential from birth. She is certified at the teaching level and volunteered for many years in the
clinical work of the Institutes. She has participated in over thirty world conferences on brain research and has received the Brazilian Gold Medal of Honor for her work in this field.
Ms. Montgomery has a special interest in empowering women of all ages via financial literacy and creating financial security by developing their entrepreneurial skills. She teaches how to own and successful expand their own businesses using a cooperative model in the fields of internet and e-commerce, health and wellness, financial services, IT services and website development, cosmetics and skin care, and music. She has presented seminars and trainings in the US and the United Kingdom for 15 years and continues to do so, as well as mentoring and coaching individuals on a regular basis.
Her career in the entertainment field has encompassed being an international recording and performing jazz vocalist, music industry executive, music producer and publisher, as well as working in film and television as a director and producer. She joined the production staff for an NBC/Westinghouse television station in the early 1970’s, first working as Production Assistant for all news programming, and then moving into the creative side where she worked as a film editor, camera operator, lighting director, property master, and stage manager, learning all aspects of the television and film business. She worked for many years on the nationally acclaimed "Mike Douglas Show", which gave her the opportunity to work with luminaries from music, film, television, politics, journalism, the art world and more. If someone was on the national or international stage in any way, s/he was a guest on this program.
She was honored to work with the legendary Fred Friendly on his PBS series, “The Constitution: That Delicate Balance”.
She has produced music for dozens of television programs for celebrities, provided music supervision for award-winning independent films, and produced several years of music for “Champions On Ice”, the Olympic ice skating tour. Included in the many live performances she has produced and performed in are The Philadelphia Jazz All Star Benefit, honoring George “Butch” Ballard, drummer for Duke Ellington (co-produced with jazz drummer Leon Jordan, Jr.), the multi-media, sixty piece jazz orchestra performance "The Rhythms of Christmas" (created by and co-produced with jazz pianist Barry Sames) at the Philadelphia Kimmel Center honoring Ambassador Walter Annenberg, and an ongoing series of performances in collaboration with the Philadelphia Jazz Project beginning in 2014.
Her years as a performing and recording as an international jazz musician have given her the platform to use the universal language of music to connect with people of all ages, countries, and cultures. Her first CD recorded in Los Angeles included west coast musicians Dave Weckl, Chuck Berghofer, and Michael Sembello. Her relationship with jazz legend Chick Corea and his lyricist Neville Potter led to her third CD "Dakini Land" and was a springboard for the original songs on her fourth CD "Little Sunflower". This endeavour blessed her with the gift of friendship, performance, and collaboration with the great jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. She has produced six CDs of her own, arranging and writing original material for four of them in collaboration with renowned international jazz masters. Both “Little Sunflower” and “Trinity” were given the Blue Chip Award for Best Jazz Vocals by the International Association of Jazz Educators. She performed extensively in Eastern Europe during the years those countries were regaining their independence from outside influences. Her music is listened to on the radio and streaming platforms around the world.
Ms. Montgomery has been Music Director for fitness icon Richard Simmons since 1988, producing the music for all of his projects (videos, television programs,audio recordings), with music ranging from oldies to disco to Broadway to Latin music, and working in studios from New York to Los Angeles with hundreds of world class studio musicians. She has also provided music production and supervision services for programs for Jackie Chan, Jane Fonda, Cher, John Tesch, Connie Sellecca, Angela Lansbury, among many others.
She is deeply involved in gun violence prevention and conflict resolution, stemming from the years she was in South Vietnam during the war. The murder-suicide in January 2002 of the family of five that included her daughter's dear friend, 14-year-old Alexandra Wake, brought this tragedy to her backyard. She became the President of The Pennsylvania Million Mom March Chapters of the Brady Campaign (a non-profit) and held that position for ten years. Since that time she has hosted town meetings to address the dilemma of gun accessibility and safety, has spoken at press conferences state-wide, and has lobbied often in the Pennsylvania state capitol and in Congress in Washington, D.C. She has presented conflict resolution and gun violence prevention workshops to youth in middle schools, high schools, community organizations and colleges, produced a state-wide assault weapons ban conference in the spring of 2004, and has testified in front of and advised the City Council of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania State Senate on sensible firearms legislation.
She has directed weekly workshops with teens using music as the vehicle to help them work through the violence in their lives, coaching them to write poetry, song lyrics, and music, as well as coaching performances of their songs in public venues. She performed at the national Million Mom March on Mother’s Day of 2004 in Washington, D.C. on the west lawn of the Capitol honoring Alexandra and the many victims of gun violence, and in the spring of each year since has produced and performed in a Remembrance Concert for the families and victims of gun violence.
The culmination of all these paths laid the foundation of the retreat and wellness center.
Associations (partial list):
-Board Member, Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia
President Emeritus, Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia
-President Emeritus, Pennsylvania Million Mom Chapters of the Brady Campaign
-Board Member, The Women's Board, The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential
-Board Member, Loan Review Board, Philadelphia Federal Credit Union
-Board Member, David Katz Scholarship Fund,
benefiting The Esther Boyer College of Music, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
-Board Member, TYL II Daycare and Montessori School, Philadelphia, PA
-Member, Coalition For A Safe Future For Our Children
-Member, Veterans for Peace
-Member, Vietnam Veterans for Peace
-Member, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
-Member, International Association for Jazz Education
-Member, International Campaign for Tibet
-Member, Middle Atlantic Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
-Songwriter Member, Broadcast Music Inc.
-Publisher Member, ASCAP
-Publisher Member, Broadcast Music Inc.
-Jazz Series Producer, The Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse, Phila. PA
-Jazz series Producer, Jazz Bridge /Jazz at The Flash
-Speakers’ Bureau Member, Market America Worldwide (United States, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom)