Sherbrooke Record

Award-winning jazz musician Andy Milne KOS prostate cancer

- A Runner’s Mind Christine Blanchette

Canadian multi-talented composer, pianist and music professor Andy Milne is recognized internatio­nally for his brilliance. A New York resident since the 1990s, Milne received his first Juno award this year for best jazz group album for his latest album, The Seasons of Being. In a phone interview Milne shared his passion for music and his desire to bring awareness to prostate cancer. He was upbeat and positive discussing his winning battle with the disease after being diagnosed while recording The Seasons of Being in the fall of 2017.

Milne always knew he would be a musician one day, having performed on the church organ at age seven. By the time he turned 18 he was performing in bands and while some of his friends were mulling over the idea of going to law school, Milne made a profound decision of his own when he chose a career in music. He studied at York University

in Toronto under jazz legend, Oscar Peterson.

The New York Jazz scene, Milne says, is “Very energetic because it’s the place more than any other where musicians come to step up their game. There is an enormous amount of history to the (jazz) scene in New York. The scenes in Toronto and Montreal also have extensive histories, but perhaps not from the perspectiv­e of how jazz navigates the globe. I think the scenes of these cities mirror the character of (New York) city."

He continues, "I think we want our audience to be moved by our music. It can move them to tears, to smile, to dance or to think. Of course it’s rewarding when an audience finds a way to connect with the music but also our efforts. When that happens, it bolsters our efforts as we progress through a performanc­e. We’ve received a range of feedback over the years. Some audiences get it. Others don’t. Often, the context and way we are presented affects the audience’s ability to connect. Every gig is different."

The Seasons of Being took about nine years to produce but in 2017 while recording it, little did he know he was living with prostate cancer. "This record was created before I knew I had cancer but my quest (became) to understand healing and the body and how music intertwine­d with that," he said.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers. It is the third leading cause of death from cancer in men in Canada.

Milne explained that when he first started having back pain, "I actually had lower back pain at various points through the early 2000s, probably starting around 2004. It reached pretty epic proportion­s around 2007 to 2009. Around 2006 I found my way to a homeopath after having some success with a chiropract­or who practiced some homeopathy. Since my prostate surgery, my lower back pain has essentiall­y abated completely. (It was) quite a remarkable transforma­tion, to be honest."

While going through treatment Milne would bike across town to see his doctor. He found exercise beneficial to his health and well being.

Milne's advice is to get checked out early and seek the right kind of treatment for you, as he did in discoverin­g homeopathy worked for him.

According to a recent Mayo Clinic report, studies of exercise and prostate cancer risk have mostly shown that men who exercise may have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Check with your doctor first before exercising.

Otherwise, choose a low-fat diet and increase your amount of fruits and vegetables daily. Try to maintain a healthy body.

Twitter: @christiner­uns

Instagram: runwithit_christineb­lanchette Run With It Youtube


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