The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (SSO) announced it is moving from 20th Street West in Riversdale to a new location after an employee was attacked with a fork this past summer.
Police found SSO executive director Mark Turner on July 31 with a stab wound to his face after he was attacked with the blunt end of a fork.
“I cannot instantly recall the initial pain, but I can vividly recall the panic that I’d lost a part of my piano playing ability,” read a statement from Turner.
“I was attacked at the SSO offices by a man who we’d never seen before. In the middle of a meeting with three of the SSO team, he stabbed me in the eye. Thanks to the quick thinking and giant hearts of my team, I was rushed to hospital and I had the emergency care I needed.”
Police took a 37-year-old Saskatoon man into custody following the attack.
Officers believed he may have been under the influence of an intoxicant and charged him with aggravated assault, mischief, obstructing an officer, and possession of hydromorphone.
Turner, who has struggled with anxiety most of his adult life, said the next few weeks were very difficult, painful, emotional, and draining.
“The bruising, swelling, fractures, and eye complications have all gone, and I have made a 100 per cent physical recovery. I am very grateful to medical team at (Saskatoon) City Hospital and the eye clinic for the care I received that made recovery possible,” Turner said.
“But the psychological effects of being the victim of a violent crime don’t disappear like bruises.”
“So while the scar on my eye is barely noticeable, I’m adjusting to life with scars.”
Turner said he’s been trying, and failing, to write a note to the SSO community since the attack.
“I’m behind on my work – we lost a month, and though I am back to work I still have days where concentration is difficult. But I am loving being back at work,” he said.
“Our first few concerts of the year have refreshed my pride in the musicians of the SSO, and they’ve given me the energy to make the next steps for the SSO to be a catalyst for exceptional music making in our community.”
Turner said he couldn’t listen to music immediately after the attack, but now relies on music to get through the days. He is also back playing the piano.
The SSO board of directors and Turner said the decision to move to a new space was due to a necessity to deliver a safe workplace.
“The shock and fear attached to the attack had impact on the staff, musicians, book sale volunteers, and even our patrons. This isn’t about us running away from what happened, or turning our backs on the friends we’ve made in Riversdale – this decision was solely selfish: we needed to provide the team that brings you the SSO a space where they could feel productive again,” Turner said.
“While I was the one left with a physical scar, the mental scarring affected many people.”
“We have been able to do our work, but it is taking a toll on us.”
Turner said the move is costly, and people can help out by coming to lots of concerts.
“There is no replacement for the healing power of music. It means a lot to us when you come to our concerts.”
SSO will be moving its offices and rehearsal studio to 602B 51st St. East during November.