Being a home schooling mom to one has its advantages. One of those is the ability for Christopher and I to attend the Edmonton Symphony every once in a while. The ESO does a yearly concert series for school children, and has graciously made it possible for home schooling families to get in on the fun!
The concert ‘theme’ for this year was ‘Songs of Our Land: music celebrating the spirit of Alberta’. They started out with Aaron Copland’s ‘Hoedown’ from ‘Rodeo’, which is something I remember playing parts of in orchestra back at university, so that was a treat. Since there is a very strong Native influence in Alberta, we were treated to a Metis fiddle group from one of the local schools, a Cree drumming circle (complete with a dancer!) and an Inuit throat singer. ‘The Song of Hiawatha’ from Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ was presented, as well as ‘The Swan’ by Saint-Saens. The finale number was performed by a group of Metis Jiggers, and was a perfect ending to an amazing concert.
This was a very emotional concert for me. It started off with the singing of ‘O Canada’, and as I sang the words to that hymn, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and love for my adopted nation. When the ESO played the Dvorak, tears were streaming down my face as I recalled that piece of music being a favourite of my Grandpa Rees, and the sentimentality of it carried over to remembering my Grandpa Goodrich who passed away almost a year ago.
As poignant as those moments were though, the real emotion of this morning was amazement at the beautiful music of the Native peoples. Their connection to the land and to nature and to the Great Spirit was very evident in the way they played and sang and danced. It made me grateful to be an Albertan.