Music, youth and the North

Nancy Mike and daughter Viivi

The National Arts Centre strives to be a catalyst for performance, creation and learning in every part of the country.

One of the ways we do that is through our Music Alive Program in Nunavut, which has now reached over 5,000 northern Canadians in Kugluktuk, Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Pangnirtung, Baker Lake, Cape Dorset, and Igloolik.

Developed in consultation with northern artists, boards of education and communities, the program sends local and visiting musicians to work with children and young people. 

We donate instruments, organize community concerts, train teachers, fund summer music camps, and link Iqaluit students to NAC Orchestra musicians via broadband videoconference.

We also fund and bring together some of Nunavut’s most talented young artists and students, to help them encourage more music-making in their communities.

On April 5-6, the Music Alive Program’s third annual Youth Music Leadership Symposium in Iqaluit will include young artists from Igloolik, Pangnirtung, Arviat, Kugluktuk, Iqaluit, and Rankin Inlet. All are future leaders and emerging role models in Nunavut.

Throat-singer, songwriter and accordionist Nancy Mike of Iqaluit is the lead organizer. She’s part of the extremely popular band The Jerry Cans, and recently won the Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year Award at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Nancy has worked with the NAC on several occasions. She helped students in Ottawa and in Iqaluit compose a new piece of music that was performed by herself and the NAC Orchestra during its Northern Canada Tour in 2012. The following spring she performed the piece at a TD Family Adventures concert, and also performed with the Jerry Cans – both during the NAC’s Northern Scene festival.

Nadia Chaney, a senior trainer and experienced workshop leader with the internationally-recognized arts-based organization Partners for Youth Empowerment, will co-facilitate the event.

The aim is to explore, develop and share each participant’s leadership potential in and through the arts, and to consider what arts initiatives these young people might lead in their own home communities. The symposium is about recognizing and cultivating this potential and building on talent and accomplishments.

Whether or not they make their careers in the arts, the skills they have demonstrated through their artistic achievements will serve them well.

We wish these dynamic young people a memorable and inspiring weekend.

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