The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with music director Alexander Mickelthwate (Chronic Creative)
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra hopes to dispel the myth that its Indigenous Festival is only for a certain segment of the population. "This festival is for everyone," says Jean-Francois Phaneuf, director of artistic operations.
The fourth edition of the festival features programming with broad appeal, from traditional sounds of Manitoba to dynamic Argentinian tango to passionate Persian music.
It kicks of on October 10 at noon with a free concert at The Forks featuring traditional Aboriginal singer Cory Campbell, hoop dancer Melvyn Starr and The Fiddlewicks, a group of students from Elwick School.
The pièce de résistance will be Stravinsky's orchestral masterpiece Rite of Spring on Friday and Saturday evenings at Centennial Concert Hall. The performance features original choreography by Odette Heyn-Projects and the Aboriginal School of Dance and will be a mix of modern dance with traditional Aboriginal dancing. It's that blending of cultural ideas that is the goal of the festival. "It's really a tremendous result," says Phaneuf. "And the children -- what struck me is the intensity that these little kids bring to the piece. It's truly remarkable."
The sultry bandoneón will make its first appearance on stage with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Argentinian bandoneón virtuoso Daniel Binelli will perform the Bandoneón Concerto by tango master Astor Piazzolla. And Canadian composer, vocalist and flutist Barbara Croall will be featured in her work Mijidwewinan (Messages) that counsels about taking care of the earth and listening to our Elders.
Thursday evening will be an intimate affair at The Garrick Centre. Vocalist Rhonda Head will sing a selection of traditional hymns in Cree. This classically trained singer from Opaskwayak Cree Nation is very excited to be part of the festival.