we are in full workshop mode here in Winnipeg. Our soloists have learned 300 pages of music in only a few days – often speaking in three languages.
We had our Michif community choir begin to form the other night at their first rehearsal and it was AWESOME to hear the quality of voices, but NOT surprising given that music is our heartbeat. Yesterday we had a visit from our three St Laurent translators, how wonderful it was. They left saying, “We can’t wait to see the whole thing!” to which we replied, “Neither can we!”
Neil has done a very lovely job of setting my words and my story to music. And our singers are sublime. Our two Métis soloists, Rebecca Cuddy (mezzo) and Julie Lumsden (soprano) bring tears to my eyes, the latter singing of sewing the woes of this world back together again and again, all in Saulteaux. Our baritone, John Anderson, standing in for our Métis baritone Simon Morin who is in another production this week, is doing a stellar job singing Riel and a few other important roles. PJ Buchan, our tenor, does an equally great job singing a number of male characters, notably an old trader from the Qu’Appelle!!
The process for drawing together such a huge work is extremely long and filled with fine details and a lot of self-doubt (for me at least) as I question every word, every twist in the storyline. It is difficult to work from a distance and I am very grateful to my hosts for opening their home to me for the duration of this workshop. Going back to another hotel room is never a fun thing and so it’s great to be so comfortable.
If you are near Winnipeg drop by Knox United at 200 Edmonton St. to see the fruits of our labour to date as we give a little presentation and a 35-40 minute performance of this work. After this week we’ll be cutting, chopping, rearranging and rewriting. For certain I want WAAAY more translations done!!!