NWT Tour – Broken Hearts and Madmen

Hi folks! It’s been a while since my last update – let’s just say this album has been all encompassing! I’m happy to announce that Ravens is now finished and available for preorder on iTunes or my label Centrediscs.  I have several concerts to celebrate coming up in various localities.

The album hasn’t been all I’ve been doing, though, and the title of this entry is Broken Hearts and Madmen, so let’s get to that.

 A very cold, happy pianist right there – Jamie Parker under the aurora on the ice road to Tuktoyaktuk in Inuvik.

From December 4-10 I travelled with Gryphon Trio and Patricia O’Callaghan in their Broken Hearts and Madmen NWT tour as part of the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre’s 2016/17 season.  The Trio+Patricia gave the world premieres of new songs from the NWT! Three new songs were written by high school students in Fort Smith, Norman Wells, and Inuvik that were written during songwriting workshops  I led in these communities back in November. I worked with students to create lyrics, melodies and chords. Then I arranged the tunes for violin, cello, piano and voice and the Trio and Patricia played the songs as part of their shows in these communities. It was awesome to see the creativity of the young musicians and the enthusiasm of the world-class visiting musicians collide. Big thanks to NACC, the NWT Arts Council and Canadian North for their help to make the workshops (titled Music Morphosis) happen with such success! 

 School concert at East 3 in Inuvik.

Here’s the music!

The Life Forecast  by students from Mackenzie Mountain School in Norman Wells
Stitches and Dreams – by students from East Three Secondary School in Inuvik
SmokeScreen
– by students from PWK High School in Fort Smith

You may remember I took part in a similar program with the Gryphon Trio back in 2015 called Listen Up! (see the trailer for “Way Up North“). The Music Morphosis outreach project is a north-adapted program similar to Listen UP! designed to engage NWT youth with visiting professional musicians.  Making music with young people is an incredible experience and it is most effective when exposure and engagement is ongoing with year-after-year participation.  I am so grateful to the Gryphon Trio for their investment in the people of the Northwest Territories and their ongoing support of the emerging musicians in these communities.

I was also honoured by the opportunity to arrange one of my own songs for Trio and Patricia, which they then played throughout the tour.  It was so amazing to hear me song Sky Eyes, originally just for piano and solo voice, transformed into a full trio ensemble piece and played for audiences as part of the tour. Here’s the music for Sky Eyes.

One final surprise for the tour was that Marie Coderre, Executive and Artistic Director of the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC), came down with the flu suddenly and was unable to travel with the group.  I was asked to step in as tour manager which was a great new challenge.  Ensuring all the performers+gear+instruments made it to the plane and venues, dealing with hotels and airlines was like a great juggling act – made even more exciting with the below-30 temperatures!  I have a renewed appreciation for the work that Marie and the rest of the NACC crew do on their tours. Thank you so much to Grey Gritt for all their assistance on the tour. And big thanks to Roman Borys, Annalee Patipatanakoon, Jamie Parker and Patricia O’Callaghan for their amazing musicianship and awesome humanness. Come back soon!

  Jamie Parker is a very curious visitor. Here we are feeling what it’s like to be wood buffalo in Fort Smith.

Thanks to NACC, the NWT Arts Council, Canadian North, Canadian Heritage, Town of Inuvik, Town of Fort Smith, Town of Norman Wells, and the many folks who helped make the tour and outreach happen.

Stay tuned for my next entry on my collaboration with Chinese musician Moxi Zishi 莫西子诗.