An exciting new partnership between Memorial University of Newfoundland’s School of Music and the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) will help enhance cultural and music opportunities for school-aged students in Labrador West.
IOC is contributing $15,000 annually towards a new dynamic program that will bring professional student musicians from the School of Music into every school throughout the region. Northern Soundscapes: A Community Music Initiative will include up to six modules presented to students over the next three years.
“The Iron Ore Company of Canada has reaffirmed its strong commitment to community arts and education, by supporting innovative music projects that will be accessible to all school-aged children,” said Mike Shannon, vice-president of Operations and Engineering with IOC.
Northern Soundcapes will include individual modules performed by senior ensembles from Memorial’s School of Music, the largest professional music program in Atlantic Canada, which will be geared towards youth audiences.
In addition, curriculum and teacher’s activities will be created for each show for distribution through the school system in advance of the tour.
During the second phase of each module, recent graduates and young professionals from the School of Music will take up weeklong residencies in a school to engage a group of students in a project of creating their own production in response to the performance just seen. Among the ensembles visiting the Lab West Schools will be the Scruncheons Percussion Ensemble and the MUN String Quartet.
“This partnership is a brilliant example of how the private sector can complement the initiative of the provincial government’s affirmation that the future of Newfoundland and Labrador is closely bound to cultural expression. Like the government’s Cultural Connections program, IOC’s sponsorship of Northern Soundscapes will encourage the young people of Lab West to express their identity through the language of music,” said Dr. Tom Gordon, director of Memorial’s School of Music.
The benefits of this project are multiple. School-aged students will have an opportunity to hear a gamut of musical styles and languages, while interacting with musicians who are at the peak of enthusiasm for the careers they are launching.
“At the same time,” added Dr. Gordon, “Northern Soundscapes will provide university music students with the opportunity to witness the catalytic affect they can have in a community. Our students will become role models while learning the role they can play.”
The Northern Soundscape project will be launched in October 2006. The Scruncheons, Memorial’s renowned percussion ensemble, will travel to Labrador West to present a series of performances. An alumnus from the ensemble will return for a residency that will centre on African drumming, which will complement a project that the elementary school is doing with a school in Africa.
The School of Music’s String Quartet will travel to Labrador West in 2007, performing for students and teaching students the basics of fiddling in the tradition of the Newfoundland and Labrador jigs and reels.