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Commemorate Truth & Reconciliation At The Royal Conservatory

Featuring Tomson Highway, Rebecca Cuddy, Sarain Fox, and more.

Commemorate Truth & Reconciliation At The Royal Conservatory

The Royal Conservatory starts the new Koerner Hall concert season on September 30 by honouring the lives and knowledge of Indigenous peoples with an evening curated by Denise Bolduc, Sarain Fox, and Mervon Mehta.

As people arrive, they will be greeted by a smudge ceremony outside, in the Reta Lila Weston Music Court, with Elder Banakonda Kennedy-Kish (Bell), who will also offer an "Opening and Closing of the Space" on the Koerner Hall stage.

Dancer, storyteller, and activist Sarain Fox guides an evening that includes Juno Award nominee drummers Nimkii and the Niniis accompanied by young dancers, and a testimony from Aunty Mary, a survivor of the residential school system. The evening continues with Rebecca Cuddy singing a song cycle by composer Ian Cusson and poet Marilyn Dumont accompanied by the New Orford String Quartet and Philip Chiu, titled Six Songs on Poems of Marylin Dumont.

The second half of the evening will offer great hope and laughter with Tomson Highway, who recently received the 2022 Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. Highway will play excerpts from Songs in the Key of Cree with long-time partners singer Patricia Cano and saxophonist Marcus Ali. Tomson Highway's Cree Country band will end the evening, with Highway introducing each song. John Alcorn has put together a band that includes a who's who of country/roots session players: Mike Francis (guitar), Steve O'Connor (piano), Rodney St. Amand (bass), Sean O'Grady (drums), Linsey Beckett (fiddle), and Steve Smith (steel guitar).

The event will be livestreamed for free across Canada and internationally on www.RoyalConservatory.Live.

A Postlude concert in the Leslie & Anna Dan Galleria - Orchestra Level, will follow the Koerner Hall event with violinist Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk and her brother, Danton, on guitar. Delbaere-Sawchuk is a member of KUNE - Canada's Global Orchestra, which was created by Mervon Mehta in 2016. The group showcases the talent of immigrant musicians living in Toronto and brings together different musical traditions into a respectful musical dialogue.

In Koerner Hall, Indigenous artists such as Tomson Highway, Tanya Tagaq, Robbie Robertson, Richard Van Camp, The Jerry Cans, and Buffy Sainte-Marie have shared their work, and three of those have received Honorary Fellowships. The Royal Conservatory is proud of its consistent record of engagement with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people, its work with underserved youth in low-income communities, its work with new Canadians, and in uniting all Canadians through music and the arts.

In addition to the Truth and Reconciliation event outlined above, we welcome more artists and composers from First Nations and Inuit communities throughout the 2022-23 season: Tanya Tagaq on December 6 with the Kronos Quartet, composer Elliot Britton on January 21, a new work by jazz trumpeter Andrew McAnsh on January 21, and more new works by Ian Cusson on January 22.

Koerner Hall has been awarded a #SafeTravels Stamp by World Travel & Tourism Council for adopting health and hygiene global standardized protocols. Click here to learn more about our safety protocols.

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line, 1-800-721-0066, is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of his or her Residential school experience.


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