This is an official announcement in time for Aboriginal Day, June 21! The poet, SMSteele (Métis family Gaudry), and composer Neil Weisensel have just received one of the Canada Council New Chapter’s grants to write Louis Riel: Heart of the North.
A dramatic musical work for voices, symphony and choirs, Heart of the North will be written in Michif, English, and French and imagines Riel’s lost years and the women he loved, some of whom also dreamed of a nation.

This community-engagement and performance project looks at the Métis nation’s past and present from a 21st century perspective and is dedicated to reconciliation and truth and the broader cultural narrative.Beginning in July 2017, composer Neil, Suzanne and her partner, the guitarist Jeff Hilberry, will travel to many Métis communities throughout Canada and the northern United States in order to hear stories and music that may be incorporated into the final performance work (with proper attributions and royalties). Weisensel will begin at Batoche in July and Steele/Hilberry will begin at John Arcand’s Fiddle Festival in August.

The following organizations are partnering in the project: the Canada Council New Chapter, the Regina Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony, the Manitoba Métis Federation, the Louis Riel Institute, and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. The work will premiere in 2019 in Winnipeg and Regina and we hope many other provinces and organisations will come on board. Social media will roll out within the next few weeks – this news is hot off the press! Feel free to contact Suzanne at or on FaceBook until further notice. We welcome all interested in joining this project.

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