Concert brings Canadians together for suicide awareness

13-concert day-long event concludes at UVic Sept. 10

UVic School of Music voice professor Benjamin Butterfield is co-ordinating the local Mysterious Barricades concert

UVic School of Music voice professor Benjamin Butterfield is co-ordinating the local Mysterious Barricades concert

The healing power of music will bring Canadians together Saturday in a cross-country concert for suicide awareness, prevention and hope, ending here at the University of Victoria.

Mysterious Barricades is a 13-concert, coast-to-coast initiative beginning in Newfoundland first thing in the morning and concluding at 6:30 p.m. at the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. All concerts will be live-streamed throughout the day at

UVic School of Music voice professor Benjamin Butterfield is co-ordinating the local concert.

“My friend and colleague with whom I’ve sung for many years, Elizabeth Turnbull, lost her husband last year due to complications with mental illness,” Butterfield says. “She approached her singing colleagues from across the country to participate in this initiative.”

The idea took off and has garnered national attention and participation from post-secondary institutions across the country.

The concerts aim to open dialogue about understanding and prevention (on local, provincial and national levels) through music, while raising funds to educate and support those at risk and those affected.

“When Beth lost her husband like that, her way was to reach out through what she loves, which is music,” Butterfield says. “It’s a gathering of friends to connect through what we all know, which is music.”

Featured are some of Canada’s finest performers of classical, jazz, Indigenous, choral, folk and new music, coming together in a remarkable event to mark World Suicide Prevention Day Sept. 10.

Artists were invited to choose music that reflected their personal sense of the topic, Butterfield says.

In addition to Butterfield, the local program will feature the Lafayette String Quartet, Suzanne Snizek on flute, pianists Michelle Mares and Harald Krebs, Colin Tilney on harpsichord, soprano Sharon Krebs, tenor Ken Lavigne and Victoria’s Louise Rose, among others. Local performer and radio documentary producer Rebecca Hass will MC the evening.

Along with the support of the performers, people are contributing their time and talents in all areas of the production, Butterfield notes.

“I’m really happy that people have come together,” he says, suggesting the timing of the concert, as students and families head into a new school year – a time that can bring considerable stress – is opportune.

“Let’s head into this year with a common sense of ‘We’re in this together,’” he says.

“I would love that (audience members) take away something that makes them truly open to being with people, and just to be more alive in your day and your relationships because the catch is (suicide) … is happening and it will affect you, if not directly, then someone close to you,” Butterfield reflects.

“Maybe it’s just trying to acknowledge that we’re all human.”

Admission to the concert is free, but guests are encouraged to support mental health initiatives by donating to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, the Canadian Mental Association and other local mental health organizations.

Information on suicide awareness and prevention will also be available from these partner organizations. For more information or to enjoy the 13 concerts online, visit




Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
Court-registered sex offender arrested for breach of parole in Langford

Cameron Ratelle returned to correctional facility after female youth approached at bus stop

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Marc Porpaczy said he’s glad he delayed his daily walk with his dog, Juno, after a car crashed just outside his driveway just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash highlights need for sidewalks, say Colwood residents

‘The residents have gone from frustrated to angry’

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read