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Just like he's ringin' a bell

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 19/05) - For Fred Alunik, playing the guitar wasn't just a hobby, it brought on a new life.

Alunik has been playing for nine years now, and learned how to play while living in Grollier Hall.

"My parents both worked there, and it was Doug Villeneuve that got me started," remembers Alunik.

Villeneuve and his band "Delta Flood" needed a place to practise their art, and the chapel in the old residential school seemed like the perfect location.

"My dad's only term was that they teach us kids how to play guitar as well," said Alunik.

"I've been doin' it ever since."

Alunik attributes his skill to the Inuvik-based band, and has even jammed with them on occasion.

Since his humble beginnings listening to rockers in a chapel, Alunik has had his own personal success in music on a local level.

"I've done some of the talent shows here in town," said Alunik. "I've also spent some time teaching friends how to play the strings."

Alunik said that playing the guitar takes time and patience.

Alunik had some words of advice for people who were thinking of picking up the guitar. "There is a lot to it. You're going to need the initiative."

Although playing the guitar can be just a hobby for some people, taking pride in your efforts will pay off in the long run. Even though he has played for a long time, teaching a group of people could be difficult for the Edmonton-born Inuk.

"I tend to get a little nervous in front of large crowds," said Alunik. "But once I start playing, I'm in my zone."

Alunik would like to teach others to play and is interested in starting a class for beginners who want to hammer out the basics.

Alunik also credited the annual "End of the Road" music festival, held in Inuvik every summer.

"I attended Dennis Allen's workshop on blues guitar," said Alunik. "It was a really good refresher. He's great at playing the blues."

When it comes to being accused of being a "cover player," Alunik insists that playing his own music is what counts. "I find that playing other people's music can be boring at times," said Alunik.

Singing, on the other hand, can be left for the others, Alunik said with a laugh.

"I tried singing once, and after that I knew it wasn't going to happen."

These days, Alunik spends his time working at the local group home for youth, and practising for his next big break.

"I have an idea for a band that I want to start up," said Alunik.

Jason Lennie of Inuvik is one of the people who Alunik jams with on occasion.

Lennie is very gifted, but their styles of music need to harmonize before any sort of pairing up can be done, said Alunik.

A bass player and a drummer would also be needed if a band were to form.

"I'm always looking for people to sit with and just jam," said Alunik.