Nunavut students to tell their stories in song at festival

A music teacher from the University of Toronto has been working with children in Iqaluit and Apex in advance of a spring choral festival.
Lori-Anne Dolloff leads a music workshop with students at Nanook School in Apex-Iqaluit. (Vincent Robinet/CBC)

School children in Nunavut are preparing for a choral festival this spring that will unite them in song with children from Ottawa.

About 250 students from Iqaluit and the nearby community of Apex are expected to join with 50 students from the Ottawa Children's choir, which will be visiting Iqaluit in May.

Lori-Anne Dolloff, who has taught music at the University of Toronto since 1988, led workshops in Iqaluit last week. She's been doing workshops like this since 2009.

The Nunavut students are learning a song that asks, Can I Tell You My Story.

Students in Iqaluit and Apex are preparing for a choral festival in May. (Vincent Robinet/CBC)

It's based on a poem written by a graduate student of Dolloff's who worked in Jordan, helping Syrian refugees. 

“I thought this is perfect for the children of Nunavut because we need to hear their stories," says Dolloff.

"We need to hear all children's stories, but especially here. I love to listen to their stories and take them down to the south and tell my students this is happening in the North."

Dolloff believes it's important to be culturally relevant in the workshop, so she gives songs a Northern twist, such as changing the little old lady who swallowed a fly song so that the character swallows a seal or a polar bear.

She also sings about a tulugak (raven) and mixes Inuktitut phrases she's learned into songs. 


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