thoughts on Seasonsof the Sea and art

wow! Just spent the last 28 hours touring around Vancouver Island with Rosemary Georgeson, meeting elders from Saanich and Penelakut bands, hearing them share their knowledge and stories. I am floored by
1) how much I don’t know
2)how our little collaboration of music and First Nations contemporary storytelling is less than a drop in the bucket.
3) how much climate change is becoming a part of this collaborative piece (Seasons of the Sea)
I want this to be relevant to our times. I want art and my piece of it, playing the music, to be meaningful for our times and for the message to be as concrete as the silence after a cadence, as universal as a shared moment.
One of the Elders spoke about being humble.Another about respect and it is time we joined our voices and speak about things that really matter. Igrew up thinking music should be pure art and that the language of Western music was enough in itself. Now for me, I want to use music and all my power to bring a voice to issues, to awaken people to potential chaos and the infinite possiblities that are there if we open our eyes to the bigger picture.

Seasons of the Sea

Vetta Chamber Music will be collaborating with  an Aboriginal Storyteller in concerts from  April 27 to 29 in Vancouver and on Salt Spring Island. These programs will feature a commission entitled “Seasons of the Sea” – a partnership between First Nations storyteller Rosemary Georgeson and BC composer Jeffrey Ryan.

To celebrate 30 years of chamber music, Vetta has ventured into uncharted waters by commissioning this work about the seasons on the coast. On Wednesday April 27 the piece will be premiered at Artspring Theatre on Salt Spring Island for school children, many of them First Nations kids from around the Gulf Islands, and in the evening, it will be presented alongside “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” in a full length program. On Thursday April 28th, the commission “Seasons of the Sea” will be performed at West Point Grey United Church at 2 pm, with school classes in attendance with our regular audience, and on Friday April 29 both “Seasons of the Sea” and “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” will be performed, 7:30pm at West Point Grey United Church.

Rosemary Georgeson, Sahtu/Dene Coast Salish artist, storyteller and writer has been the Aboriginal Storyteller at the Vancouver Public Library and has worked with Urban Ink Productions since its inception. She says about this production:  “For me the biggest thing is taking something old like the Vivaldi Four Seasons, and using it as a jumping off point to creating a whole new work. Our peoples’ connection with the seasons is ancient, so the two pieces view the seasons from across the centuries and continents. The new is in the collaboration between my storytelling and Western classical music. The piece speaks to this time and this territory.”

Jeffrey Ryan is an award-winning BC composer and former composer in residence at the Vancouver Symphony.  At a recent workshop with Rosemary and Joan Blackman he explained: Jeffrey Ryan is an award-winning BC composer and former composer-in-residence with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. At a recent workshop with Rosemary and violinist Joan Blackman, he explained “I wrote a 20-minute violin concerto and we have just spent three days ripping it apart, taking the threads and weaving them with the threads that Rosemary brought into a 40-minute tapestry of stories and music. When our two genres come together, what we get is something very powerful, bigger and more meaningful that anything we could have done separately.”

Joan Blackman, Vetta’s Artistic Director and violin soloist for “Seasons of the Sea” is very excited about this project:  “First Nations communities have a lot to teach us about respect for nature. It is so inspiring to work with Rosemary and Jeffrey in this cross-cultural collaboration honouring the deep relationship of Coast Salish people to the sea and all the life it brings. This is connecting to something that is larger than all of us, at a time when we are thinking of building bridges between cultures and preserving the land and sea we together share.”

poster 8.5×11 salt spring 1cposter 8.5×11 vancouver 1c

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