We take pride in showcasing only the best presenters and artists at the High Notes Gala for Mental Health which is coming up on May 6th at the Flato Markham Theatre. Grammy nominated for his CD Asia Beauty, virtuoso flutist Ron Korb is one example of these amazing artists. Visit his website to find out more about his impressive list of awards, discography, movie appearances, collaborations and amazing concert career that has taken him all over the world. We asked Ron a few questions to see how his life has been touched by mental illness. Here are the answers in his own words:
How has mental illness affected your life?
RK: In the arts there are many people fighting depression and various disorders. Most people find a way to function effectively. However, I had a coworker who was bipolar that kept it hidden. After going off their medication their mood turned hostile and lead to some terrible and traumatic conflicts. Having no experience with this I didn’t know how to react.
Did you ever feel ashamed about the subject and avoid talking about it?
RK: Not really but when we are not mentally ill ourselves it is easy to talk about the way it affects others. However, the people I know personally who have had a mental diagnosis have always tried to hide it or dismiss it as untrue. I think we should realize that mental illness can visit all of us. For myself I would like to develop some self awareness so when and if it comes, not to shy away from it but seek help. If you acknowledge and confront a problem you already have 75% of the problem solved.
Why do you think there is so much stigma towards mental illness but not (for example) cancer, diabetes and heart disease?
RK: I think the reason why there is so much social stigma is because the subject is shrouded in mystery. Also the behaviour of mentally ill people can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and uncomfortable social interaction. I believe many people feel if someone has mental illness it is probably their fault as opposed to cancer where they are clearly seen as victims. Mentally ill people fear losing their jobs and relationships but in trying to conceal their disease it often leads to even more problems.
How and why does music have power to change that?
RK: Music can help on many levels. Music is very stimulating to the brain and certain types of music can have a calming affect. Recently, I see it is more formally recognized in stress management and relaxation to promote healing.
How can we ALL help change that?
RK: I think just bringing a greater awareness of the topic to the mainstream will be incredibly helpful. Especially hearing the success stories of how people dealt with the disease and kept their family and friends close.
Why should we?
RK: Because mental illness is so wide spread. One in five Canadians will experience some kind of mental disorder in their lifetime.
Why did you agree to participate in the High Notes Gala for Mental Health?
RK: I am proud to be involved with the High Notes Gala because I think it is bringing the necessary kind of awareness to a broader public. I have already learnt a lot about the subject personally just from the last two events and would encourage many people to attend, especially if they have a family member affected. I enjoyed playing with the other artists who all were of very high calibre.
What other projects are you working on… before and after May 6th?
RK: I am producing a new album which hopefully will be ready by the fall.
ABOUT THE HIGH NOTES GALA: You can hear Grammy nominated flutist Ron Korb perform at the High Notes Gala for Mental Health on May 6th at the Flato Markham Theatre. Dan Hill is the headlining performer and speaker. Comedienne Luba Goy will host the evening. Members of Ballet Jorgen, pianist Robert Kortgaard, author David Barber, Mental Health Recovery Expert Bill MacPhee and Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist Adam Enchin, will join them and enlighten us. Mental health support organizations will display in the lobby. For tickets call 905.305.SHOW or visit highnotesavante.ca.
ABOUT HIGH NOTES AVANTE: High Notes Avante Productions Inc. is a non-profit organization (charitable status pending) using the power of words and music to educate and humanize mental illness. We strive to erase stigma and hope those attending our events will understand mental illness better while perhaps also starting the recovery and healing process for themselves or a loved one with an inspiring evening of music and storytelling.
For more information contact Ingrid Taheri at 416.605.8915