Manitoba

Musical marathon aims to bring awareness to suicide

A 21-hour concert called 'Mysterious Baracades' is being held in 15 cities nationwide to bring awareness of suicide and mental health issues.

Concert series started after opera singer lost husband to suicide

A 21-hour concert called 'Mysterious Baracades' is being held in 15 cities nationwide to bring awareness of suicide and mental health issues. (Keith Levit Photography)

People in cities across Canada are taking turns to play music Sunday in a musical marathon.

A 21-hour concert called Mysterious Baracades is being held in 15 cities nationwide to raise awareness of suicide and mental health issues.

The live-streamed event started in St. John's, N.L., at sunrise Sunday morning, and each city will take turns contributing to the concert. The series ends in Victoria, B.C. at sunset.

Artists and performers (click here for bios):

  • Desiree Abbey (cello)
  • Vycki Atallah, Coordinator of Teen Talk, Klinic (speaker)
  • Andrew Balfour (drummer)
  • Tadeusz Biernacki (piano)
  • Mel Braun (baritone)
  • Camerata Nova (choir)
  • Anne Christopherson (soprano)
  • Lara Ciekiewicz (vocal)
  • Tracy Dahl (vocal)
  • Edmund Dawe (piano)
  • Esprit de Choeur Choir (Valdine Anderson, conductor)
  • Richard Gillis (trumpet)
  • Allen Harrington (saxophone)
  • Gwen Hoebig (violin)
  • Rosemarie Van der Hooft (vocal)
  • Monica Huisman (soprano)
  • Margruite Krahn (visual artist)
  • Dr. Laura Loewen (piano)
  • James McLennan (vocal)
  • David Moroz (piano)
  • Oleg Pokhanovski (violin)
  • Victoria Sparks (percussion)
  • John Weier (poetry)

Laura Loewen is one of the Winnipeg concert organizers.

Edmonton opera singer Beth Turnbull, who lost her husband to suicide a few years ago, spearheaded the concert series in 2016. Loewen knew Turnbull through the opera program Nuovo, which brings in opera singers and pianists from across Canada, who spend weeks in a city working on a production.

Loewen said the Nuova community is "a really tight-knit family."

"And so the entire community just rallied and said what can we do to help? And Beth thought that the best thing she could think of was if everyone would raise their voices together and create a concert."

Loewen hopes the ceremony of the event helps to bring healing to people struggling with mental illness.

"It feels very life-giving to me. I love to know that there's people all across the country that are putting the same kind of work and care into it that I am here. And I hope that we make a difference. I hope that this concert raises awareness of mental health issues and suicide issues."

The theme for the Winnipeg performance is the four elements: wind, fire, water and earth. Some have written new pieces which will premiere at the event.

Winnipeg's performance happens at the Desautels Faculty of Music from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. and will be livestreamed here.

With files from Tessa Vanderhart