Sunday, Sept. 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day and musicians across Canada are raising awareness with a continuous webcast of concerts from 15 cities. It begins in St. John's, N.L., and travels east to west, wrapping up 21 hours later in Victoria, B.C.
"We offer music as a balm for the soul, as an acoustic web of comfort and caring that will stretch from coast to coast, from sunrise to sunset," says Elizabeth Turnbull, president of the Mysterious Barricades Concert Society and producer of the event whose name is derived from Couperin's wistful solo harpsichord piece, "Les Barricades mystérieuses." The music on the webcast will range from classical and jazz to folk and singer-songwriter.
Tune in to the webcast below, starting at 5 a.m. ET. Scroll down to see a detailed schedule of performances and to read more from our interview with Turnbull, who tells us about the origins of this event.
'Connectivity and solace'
Turnbull established the Mysterious Barricades Concert Society as a response to the suicide of her husband. "I was of course in shock, and did not really know what I wanted or what would help ease my pain, except that I knew I wanted to hear music," she tells us.
"I wanted to hear my friends make music, and to feel connected to them and healed by them and the power of their artistry. The idea for the cross-country concert came to me in a sudden flash, as a way of ensuring that I would be able to hear all of them — from across the country — make music in one big concert, and [...] that we could livestream the concert so that others could also partake in the connectivity and solace offered by the sharing of a musical experience."
At the inaugural Mysterious Barricades concert in September 2016, many people opened up to Turnbull about how their own lives had been touched by mental illness or suicide.
"If sharing our experiences helps us feel less isolated, it may also help us reduce the stigma around mental illness and suicide," she reflects. "At first, talking about it was extremely difficult for me. But in order to discuss the project, I had to talk about it. And this act of articulating my experiences helped me work through my grief."
'Aftermath of loss'
Turnbull says viewers this year should expect different genres and styles of music with a unifying message: "We recognize the suffering and difficulties that many have experienced [and] we offer a platform for those who spend their lives in the mental health field, from which they can inform our audience of the services available to those who are struggling with their health or in the aftermath of loss."
Many people are donating their time to produce this cross-country event. "It would not be happening without these volunteers, nor would it be happening without the incredible support of our numerous universities across the country," notes Turnbull. "These institutions have stepped up as pillars of our communities, providing us with the many stages upon which to present our performances as well as the technical means by which we can share them through live-streaming. Without this important support, the project would have remained a hope in my heart instead of becoming a reality of musical healing."
All times ET. For details on musicians in each venue, head over to the Mysterious Barricades website.
5 to 6:30 a.m.
D.F. Cook Recital Hall, Memorial University
St. John's, N.L.
6:30 to 8 a.m.
Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Dalhousie University
8 to 9 a.m.
Brunton Auditorium, Mount Allison University
9 to 10:30 a.m.
Tanna Schulich Hall, McGill University
10:30 to noon
Freiman Hall, University of Ottawa
12 to 1:30 p.m.
Walter Hall, University of Toronto
1:30 to 3 p.m.
Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University
3 to 4:30 p.m.
Von Kuster Recital Hall, Western University
4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Elizabeth Gazebo, Bell Park
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Desautels Faculty Vocal Arts Room, University of Manitoba
7 to 8:30 p.m.
Convocation Hall, Peter McKinnon Building, University of Saskatchewan
8:30 to 10 p.m.
Convocation Hall, University of Alberta
10 to 11 p.m.
Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, Rozsa Centre, University of Calgary
11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Roy Barnett Recital Hall, University of British Columbia
12:30 a.m. to TBD
St. John the Divine Anglican Church
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