A sunny Sunday morning set the scene for a heartfelt message of hope. On Sept. 10, Mount Allison participated in what was a loving tribute to those affected by mental health issues. Hosted live by Jonna Brewer from CBC Moncton’s Information Morning, the performance conveyed a story of love that demonstrated that there are resources for those in need.
Les barricades mystérieuses, performed by David Rogosin, opened what was a perfect addition to Canada’s nationwide concert for suicide prevention. The headlining piece featured a treble clef that settled into a comforting, energetic pattern, instantly lifting the audience’s spirits while a harsh, contrasting bass clef instigated a feeling of loss and left the listener with a pit in their stomach. This piece mirrored the difficulties faced by those struggling with their mental health. The audience collectively held its breath as Rogosin illustrated the issue at hand through music. This composition, combined with Thaddeus Holownia’s hauntingly beautiful stills from his book Dykelands Series, resonated with the audience by illustrating the emptiness many feel while struggling with these types of issues. After this initial performance, everyone in attendance was aware of just how gently mental health concerns must be addressed.
One of the patrons was handing out delicate yellow ribbons that symbolize intent to stop suicide in Canada. These small gestures, combined with the music, helped all to feel welcome. Many small, friendly interactions with the staff built up to a comfortable atmosphere.
Skylar Cameron, an alumna of the Mt. A. music program, greeted the crowd with kind words. She spoke of her own struggle with mental illness and was met with overwhelming support from those in attendance.
“You are worth it,” Cameron said. Her address spoke of acceptance, and emphasized that, no matter the issue, there is someone at this school willing to help. It was impossible for the audience not to feel connected as so many have seen the ugly side of these illnesses.
It was obvious that morning that there is support at Mt. A. Such a large percentage of us have struggled with similar issues and Cameron’s speech showed that there was understanding. It was clear to all in attendance that there was support for those in need.
One of many noteworthy performances was Joel Cormier’s rendition of Musique Matinal by Atlantic Canadian composer Richard Gibson, played on the vibraphone. This piece was highly appropriate as it deals with Gibson’s own struggle with his daughter who ultimately ended her life due to mental health issues. Gibson wrote this piece in his daughter’s memory, but also to illustrate the difficulty that she may have been going through. This was perfectly performed by Cormier; he conveyed this sense with a raucous undertone permeating the overlying cheerful melody, giving the listener a taste of madness hidden by a cheerful tune.
Upon exiting the Brunton Auditorium there was cheerful chatter. Performers seemed extremely comfortable on stage dealing with subjects of this magnitude. Overall, this concert for suicide awareness was a hopeful submission for this Canada-wide event. All performed profoundly in light of difficult material and left the audience feeling content.