Mu­sic for men­tal health aware­ness

The Casket - - Health & Wellness - COREY LEBLANC coreyle­blanc@the­cas­ket.ca

Wally Pol­son thinks com­bin­ing two of his pas­sions – mu­sic and men­tal health ad­vo­cacy – can make a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity.

The Goshen na­tive – a fa­mil­iar face to morn­ing vis­i­tors to the Mcdon­ald’s drive thru win­dow in Antigo­nish – is one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the fundraiser – Peace, Love and Rock n’ Roll.

The show, which will fea­ture mu­sic from the late 1960s and 1970s, is set for Satur­day (Oct. 27) at St. F.X.’S Im­mac­u­lata Au­di­to­rium.

Show­time is 8 p.m.

“We have so much great tal­ent here,” Pol­son said, adding the mu­si­cal cel­e­bra­tion will ben­e­fit two great causes.

Pro­ceeds will go to Help­ing the Helpers – an an­nual PTSD ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness day based in Antigo­nish – and the Jor­don Myles Foun­da­tion, both of which are at the fore­front of men­tal health aware­ness in the re­gion.

“We wanted to help peo­ple in our com­mu­nity,” Pol­son added.

To help launch the ini­tia­tive, the sin­gle fa­ther or two sons took his idea to friends Michelle Cameron and Ger­ald Benoit.

“In my head,” Cameron said, with a laugh, when asked about the source of the show ti­tle.

She added it not only pays homage to the mu­sic of that era, but also ties to­gether “peace and love, along with men­tal health aware­ness.”

“Treat ev­ery­one with kind­ness – that’s what we are try­ing to do; raise some aware­ness,” Cameron said.

Like Pol­son, she praised the work of both ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

“It is about hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions that peo­ple, nor­mally, don’t like to have,” Cameron said, not­ing the stigma that re­mains, when it comes to men­tal health.

“Ev­ery­body suf­fers in some way, whether they know some­one or it is their own per­sonal strug­gle.”

She added John Garth Mac­don­ald of Help­ing the Helpers and Jodi Myles of the Jor­don Myles Foun­da­tion will take the stage and of­fer some re­marks be­fore the mu­sic be­gins.

“They are do­ing some amaz­ing things,” Cameron said of the duo.

Speak­ing of ‘amaz­ing,’ she added the depth of mu­si­cal tal­ent that will en­ter­tain.

“They have all do­nated their time,” Cameron said, not­ing there are 15 or more acts as part of the line-up.

The per­former list in­cludes Clifton Pet­ti­pas, Shane Arse­nault, The Ben­del­cam Fam­ily Band, Sadie Go­er­ing, Dyl­van Sylvester, Nathan Lan­g­ley, Tom Curry, Garth Wil­son, Pe­ter Lums­den, Spar­row, Whiskey Smoke Blues Band, Great Blue Heron, Phil Clarke, Parker Macisaac, The J-walk­ers, Born in Clothes and, as she de­scribed it, “maybe a cou­ple of sur­prises.”

De­spite the era from which the tunes will be plucked, she said she has been ap­proached by per­form­ers in their early 20s.

“It is, kind of, shock­ing that they know the mu­sic be­cause it is from the late 60s and 70s,” Cameron added.

Artists hon­oured will range from KISS and James Tay­lor to Fleet­wood Mac and Led Zep­pelin.

“We think ev­ery­one is go­ing to have a lot of fun,” she said.

As part of the 19+ event, there will be a dance floor and cos­tume con­test, with first and sec­ond­place prizes awarded.

“We thought, be­cause it is so close to Hal­loween, we would ask peo­ple to dress in their favourite 1960s and 1970s cos­tume,” Cameron ex­plained.

With help from cor­po­rate spon­sors R.J. Macisaac Con­struc­tion Ltd. and Highcrest En­ter­prises Ltd., light­ing and other costs have been de­frayed, mean­ing more monies go­ing to the com­mu­nity causes.

“I do event dec­o­rat­ing, as well, so it is my thing to make the place look spec­tac­u­lar,” Cameron said, with a laugh, of her plans for the St. F.X. venue.

She noted her hus­band, who was rained out for work on the day of the con­ver­sa­tion, was craft­ing an eight-foot peace sign, which will serve as the back­drop for the con­cert stage.

“I have been tie-dy­ing as well – I had a tie-dy­ing ad­ven­ture yes­ter­day,” Cameron said of putting that colour­ful touch on ta­ble clothes and so forth.

There will be doors prizes, along with a 50-50 draw spear­headed by Pol­son, which will ben­e­fit A Dol­lar a Day – an ini­tia­tive sup­ported by his favourite artist, Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea fame, which sup­ports front-line men­tal health and ad­dic­tions pro­grams.

“It is a great cause,” Pol­son said, not­ing he con­trib­utes his daily dol­lar to the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Cameron cred­ited her friend for bring­ing ev­ery­one to­gether to help raise money and aware­ness.

“We want peo­ple to have a lot of fun and raise money for two great causes in our com­mu­nity,” she said.

Tick­ets are avail­able at Hawthorne Con­ve­nience and at the door.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Peace, Love and Rock n’ Roll, visit the event’s Face­book page https:// www.face­book.com/events /110598936508726/

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