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October 27, 2016: Music for the Future; L.O.L. Benefit Concert.

October 27, 2016: Music for the Future;
L.O.L. Benefit Concert.

By Allyson Domanski.

Don’t expect me to sit still through fiddling so fine and fast that fingers and bow are a blur. I’ve never been able to resist the urge to kick up my heels and dance when it comes to a jig or a reel led by the twang of a guitar, the saw of a fiddle or the bellows of an accordion.

Even harder to resist is when those first to the dance floor are Inuit. Northerners give in to music and dance with abandon and energy so infectious that it compels you to get up there and join in.

On October 1st, Hintonburg’s quaint Loyal Orange Hall at 41 Rosemount Avenue hosted the Second Annual Ottawa Fundraiser and Instrument Donation Drive to support music lessons in Nunavut.

In its 10th year, “Music for the Future” (its Inuktitut name is Tusarnaarniq Sivumut Association, TSA) helps hundreds of Inuit youth to grow up with music, structure and focus in their lives. This non-profit, registered charity started as an after-school music group in one Baffin Island hamlet in 2004.

It now delivers music education programs twice a year to Inuit youth in five remote communities. Demand for the program is growing, hence the fundraiser here in Ottawa.

In attendance to say a few words about the importance of music education was our tireless Kitchissippi Counsellor Jeff Leiper (who, like Mayor Jim Watson, unfailingly shows up at every local event).

Once the music started, the old Orange Hall—innocuous from the outside but thrumming on the inside—was the perfect venue for the 35 or so toe-tapping supporters who came out.

Fiddler Kim de Laforest and guitarist Greg Simm led the charge with Canadian music that included Northern tunes and a true taste of Northern music culture. Having lived in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet, I can verify that theirs was as true a taste as there is.

Their passion for Canada’s North comes from the young talent they’ve helped nurture in northern communities. It’s what draws Greg and Kim back to Nunavut, year after year, to provide instruction in fiddle and guitar.

They then introduced special guest David Serkoak, a traditional Inuit drum maker, drum dancer, educator and former school principal in Iqaluit.

The respected Inuk elder in calf-high sealskin kamiks enchanted the crowd with his time-honoured stories of Inuit culture and life on the land. He demonstrated the proper way to play the flat broad disk that is an Inuit drum. The bonus was having him show us all the right moves when it comes to drum dancing—which is nothing like disco.

When the fiddling resumed, the pace picked up and the Inuit youth on hand could no more contain their glee on hearing the music than I could. Up they got, dancing a jig, a tradition brought by whalers to the North centuries ago that captivates to this day.

TSA accepts financial donations and donations of new and previously-loved instruments on-line at http://musicforthefuture.ca Contact Graham Crate at gcrate@rogers.com or at 613-878-9548 .

3 men and a woman stand, some holding Inuit drums

Music Supporters.

Photo Caption: Guitarist Greg Simm, Councillor Jeff Leiper, Drummer David Serkoak, and Fiddler Kim de Laforest, took part in the Music for the Future Benefit Concert, October 1st. Photo courtesy of Graham Crate.

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Lined up for the North

Photo Caption: And some more people attending. Back Row: Greg Simm, Michael Pewatualuk, Yvon Aliyak, Kim deLaforest, and Avery Keenainak; Front Row: David Serkoak, and Jeannie Kanayuk. Photo courtesy of Graham Crate.

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