Way back when, The WholeNote was an occasional column called “Classical Heaven on $100 a Month” in a homegrown community newspaper called the Kensington Market Drum. “Everything within a 15 minute bike ride of College and Spadina is our turf” the Drum declared, thereby, by fiat, turning everything from City Hall to Walter Hall to Dixon Hall to Barbara Hall to RTH into legitimate Kensington Market news, including all the goings on at what was then generally referred to as “The Clarke,” namely the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, just east of us on College Street.
We’re talking the late 1980s here, folks, when a facebook was what you draped strategically over your sleeping nose to keep the summer sun off, and the good doctors at the Clarke delighted as much as all the rest of us in the simple art of coming up with clever acronyms for things. I remember, at the time, receiving one punch-drunk press release from the aforementioned Clarke Institute which managed in three paragraphs to make reference in capital letters to Seasonal Affective Disorder, Mood and Affective Disorders, and Bipolar Affective Disorder, thereby proclaiming themselves in one breath to be the answer for all that ails society’s SAD, MAD and BAD.
To their credit, it didn’t take them long to realize the error of their ways; to understand that in their line of work patients, as much as doctors, can recognize an acronym when they see it. So MAD and BAD disppeared from their PR lexicon, before too much of a fuss could be made. But Seasonal Affective Disorder has shown a remarkable tenacity. A quick Google search, right now, January 28, 2013, yields no fewer than 2,900,000 results for the phrase. Not too shabby, as pre-internet coinage goes.
Part of why SAD has stuck, here in Canada at least, is because of how completely it dovetails with the February Blues, that state of mind that dogs us all as we crawl past the turn of the year towards the spring and summer light that feel right now as if they will never return.
Well, abandon despair, all ye who enter here! In these pages are all the little signs of hope, musical candles in the dark, that you need to begin your journey back to the light: from Lunar New Year, to a Valentine-themed outbreak of Chopinesque passion, to almost weekly announcements, by various presenters, of musical seasons to come, well into 2014.
And it’s no coincidence that February and March are the months when we at The WholeNote crank up our efforts to pull together as much information as we can about what the summer offers in the way of music education. See our little house ad on page 50.
This year we are going a step beyond: putting together for March not just the summer’s musical offerings, but a directory of as much as we can gather about the individual teachers and community musical schools that offer, year round, musical solace against all the manifold despairs of the dark. We’re calling it our “Orange Pages.” Partly it’s because we’ve already assigned Green, Blue and Canary to other uses. And partly because it suggests that an active musical life can be a reliable shortcut to a sunshine state of mind.