Toronto Mendelssohn Choir honours and remembers Canada’s Indigenous Veterans in a Remembrance Day concert

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The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s next online concert, to stream on Remembrance Day, will reflect on and honour the experience of Indigenous Veterans. The TMC, under conductor Simon Rivard, is joined by composer and guest curator Andrew Balfour, and Elder Dr. Duke Redbird for a program that brings together choral music, poetry and dance.

The centre piece of the program is Andrew Balfour’s Notinikew. Movements of the work will be sung by Andrew’s Winnipeg-based Camerata Nova and by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Andrew says of this choral drama:

“Notinikew is an anti-war piece, an Indigenous identity piece – a tragedy that speaks not just about World War I, but all wars and all Indigenous soldiers. Why did these Indigenous warriors leave our forests and plains to enter a totally foreign military world and end up fighting in the midst of a true hell on earth? “

Of Cree descent, Winnipeg-based composer Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer, conductor, singer, and sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, and orchestral works, including Mamachimowin, commissioned by the TMC for its 125th anniversary gala.

Dr. Duke Redbird is an elder, poet, activist, educator, and artist. With a legacy stretching back to the 1960s, he is a pillar of First Nations literature in Canada, and has practiced a number of art disciplines including poetry, painting, theatre, and film.

To create this program in a time of enhanced Covid-19 restrictions, the TMC has brought together a number of different elements to tell the story: virtual performances with choir, cello and dance created for this concert; recorded performances from pre-Covid-19 concerts by the TMC and by Camerata Nova;  and an “In Conversation” segment recorded in person in October with Simon Rivard, Andrew Balfour and Elder Dr. Duke Redbird.

For more details about the concert, please visit www.tmchoir.org/202021-season/remembrance/

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