It does not feel at all like it’s only Day 3!!! Our adventure today was pretty epic.
After being so cold and wet yesterday, the sun came out for a glorious morning walk under a clear blue prairie sky to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We had our sound check at 9:30, and figured out the logistics and acoustics of the space. It’s purposely dark and feeling like you are underground in that space, but the acoustics are amazing, and the sound carries up through the centre of the building.
We had a great first concert! Good energy, kids were stoked… the hour of performing flew by. We went outside for some photos… that museum is incredible. The architecture and symbolism of the building itself is remarkable. I could go on and on about all of that, but will let your singers tell you about it.
We had lunch then did a second 60 minute concert. Even my Gatorade trick couldn’t pep up the kids quite enough for the second set. We all were mentally and physically exhausted, but we had some good moments and connection with the audience. I couldn’t be more proud of these kids. Truly. So many times our chaperone team and I have laughed in amazement at how creative these young artists are. They worked so hard today, and just kept giving and giving. So proud of them.
At 3pm we started our guided tour of the museum. Our guide was wonderful, and knew exactly what was appropriate to focus on with our group.
The galleries are fascinating and emotional and intricate, enlightening, informative, focussed on many personal stories… very real. I can’t begin to describe it all here. But you must come visit this place! There is no other museum like it in the world.
At the end of the tour, we were in the Hope Tower, where our guide told the kids that we can do little things every day to make a difference, and that they were already making a difference through their music. 🙂 (She was much more inspiring and articulate when she spoke to the choir than I am conveying here!)
We then had an hour to explore the museum on our own, before it closed. It was neat to see how seriously our singers took everything, and how they all found favorite spaces and galleries to explore further.
At night, we set off down the road a few blocks to the Manito Ahbee International Pow Wow. One part of the huge convention room had PNE-style booths with art, beadwork and giftware with aboriginal designs and artwork. The other part had bleachers around a centre area. On our way in, we passed quite a few dancers from various nations in regalia, but we had NO idea what we were about to witness. At 7pm the announcer, who served as emcee and kind of like a DJ throughout the event, told everyone to stand for the Grand Entrance He got the drummers sitting around the big drums, whipped up. The drum beats were so thrillingly loud you could feel them in your body. There was a small procession of Indigenous dignitaries, then the first group of dancers came in and began a circular parade that spiralled around the centre space. And the dancers kept coming, each dancer’s regalia more intricate and stunning and beautiful than the last. More dancers. A whirling of colour and feathers and beads and drum beats and high pitched singing that took the intensity and excitement levels up a notch. More dancers. Women wearing the most gorgeous and elaborate beadwork. More dancers. More dancers! All these moccassined feet making step patterns that went with the drum beats. Anyone merely standing bounced their knees to the beats.More dancers! Just when you thought the regalia couldn’t get more elaborate, MORE dancers would enter the spiraling throng before us! There must have been hundreds of dancers- easily 1000- that all were stepping and dancing to the drums. It was incredible.
We left after the Grand Entrance- about an hour later- and walked back in the sunny evening to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, many singers were eager to get to bed after such an big day.
Here are some photos from Day 3!