Music program for northern Sask. children seeks instruments

A new program will see a Saskatchewan musician set up in Stanley Mission for the month of January, teaching students and adults music and song-writing. Now she just needs some instruments to take along for the ride.

Sask. Cultural Exchange sets up musician-in-residence program for Stanley Mission

A new musician-in-residence program will be running in Stanley Mission in January, with people encouraged to donate musical instruments that can be left in the northern Saskatchewan community. (The Associated Press)

Darryl Flett has never seen a music or band program for his school's young students in the four years he's been principal at the elementary school in Stanley Mission.

Flett turned to the Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange to see if it had any programs to offer the northern community, located more than 450 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

"I want to engage the kids more in hands-on education," he said. "I thought [a music program] would be excellent, because there are musically-inclined kids."

Sask. Culture Exchange has been running workshop tours, visiting communities like Stanley Mission, pictured here. Now it's offering a longer-term project, to teach music in the community with a musician-in-residence program. (Elizabeth Elich photo)

The Exchange set up a musician-in-residence program, with support from a Canada Council for the Arts grant. Saskatchewan musician Eliza Doyle will be in Stanley Mission until the end of January, teaching kids and interested adults.

The program will also include jam nights, giving people a chance to come to learn or play instruments on the long dark nights up north.

"Hopefully, kids will be able to get that literacy part of it, from the education we're teaching them, maybe write some songs, some poems," said Flett.

Musician seeking instruments

There's only one item left to cross off the list. Doyle wants to bring instruments to Stanley Mission, with the hope of leave them for the community to enjoy after she's left.

"The call out is for anything that makes noise, basically," Doyle said.

She added one caveat: "A grand piano might be a little hard to fit in my trailer."

Eliza Doyle, a professional banjo player, will be working as a musician-in-residence in Stanley Mission through January. (Submitted by Eliza Doyle)

Doyle is inviting people to drop off keyboards, fiddles, music stands or other transportable items at Long & McQuade in Saskatoon or The Exchange in Regina.

"If you don't have anything lying around, and you want to still help, you can also make donations," she said.

Flett said he hopes to see other musical people in the community, or perhaps even a music teacher, pick up the torch and continue working with his students after Doyle has left.

"We just ask ourselves, 'What's best for kids?'" he said. "We just want to engage them and create a lifelong experience for them."

with files from CBC Saskatchewan's Afternoon Edition

About the Author

Janani Whitfield spent 10 years working in the newspaper industry in Alberta before joining CBC Saskatchewan as a web writer in 2017. Contact her at or on Twitter, @WhitfieldJanani.


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