NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

An influx of arts and culture
Performers to visit Fort Simpson through the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, August 29, 2013

A fusion blues musician and a professional choral ensemble are among the acts that residents of Fort Simpson have to look forward to this fall and winter.

The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) has unveiled its 2013-14 season and the professional artists and musicians that it will be bringing to Yellowknife as well as five other communities in the territory, including Fort Simpson.

This is the second full season the village has been on the centre's tour circuit, said Marie Coderre, NACC's executive and artistic director.

"We are very excited because we are starting the season with a brand new storytelling and music festival," she said.

The KO K'E Storytelling Festival will begin in Yellowknife before the performers are split up to tour different communities. On Sept. 18, Scott McQueen of Yellowknife and Ryan McMahon, an Ojibway/Metis comedian based out of Ottawa, will be performing in Fort Simpson.

"You're going to be having a big name come into Fort Simpson," Coderre said about McMahon.

The plan is to add one storyteller from the village to the performance and also hold a community feast, said Coderre.

The season proper in Fort Simpson will begin on Oct. 21 with Spin, a multimedia show by Toronto artist Evalyn Parry who is a poet, actress and musician. The show is inspired in part by the story of Annie Londonderry, who in 1894 became the first woman to ride a bike around the world.

"She's really good and I am really looking forward to coming to Fort Simpson with her," Coderre said.

The next performance, on Nov. 18, will be something completely different.

Harry Manx fuses blues with eastern musical traditions. He plays the guitar, harmonica and banjo as well as the Mohan Veena, a 20-stringed instrument invented by Manx's Indian mentor, the Grammy Award-winning Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

It's great that recognized musicians such as Manx are interested in coming to small, Northern communities such as Fort Simpson, Coderre said.

"They could go anywhere and they are really excited to have this cultural experience," she said.

The Elmer Iseler Singers, a professional choral ensemble, will be the final act to visit the village. They are one of the most renowned choirs in Canada, said Coderre.

Twenty-three singers from the ensemble will be performing on Feb. 20 in Fort Simpson.

In order to keep world class performers coming to the village, it's important that residents support the tour, said Coderre. If NACC doesn't feel there is a response, the tour will stop coming because it is too expensive to justify otherwise, she said.

"It's very important that everyone gets involved," she said.

People should tell their friends, family and coworkers to spread the word about the performances, she said. Details about the season and the performers are available on NACC's updated website, that

was scheduled to be launched on Aug. 21.

Season passes are available for the three shows, not including the storytelling festival. Tickets will be available on the NACC website.

The Village of Fort Simpson sponsored the NACC tour last year. The tour takes place primarily in the winter when there are fewer things happening, said Fort Simpson Mayor Sean Whelly.

"It's nice to have those little bright spots along the way," he said.

Whelly said he enjoyed last season's lineup. The tour brings cultural experiences that are a bit different to the village.

"It heightens people's cultural awareness," he said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.