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Music man helps historic church
Singer/songwriter performed concert for free

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, September 26, 2013

Steve Slade is a generous dude.

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Singer/songwriter Steve Slade held a workshop at the Inuvik Youth Centre Sept. 12. Here, Tyren Kisoun looks on as Slade demonstrates a little guitar technique. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

The well known singer and songwriter from the Yukon was in Inuvik last week to perform at a fund-raising concert at Our Lady of Victory Church.

While he was in town, Slade also made time for a series of workshops at the Inuvik Youth Centre and East Three School.

He waived any fee to perform at the Igloo Church, spokesperson Miki O'Kane said, to help the church council raise some much-needed funds to pay for renovations and escalating energy costs.

Last winter, the church paid as much as $3,000 a month under the new synthetic natural gas regime, which is almost double the cost of natural gas.

Slade, who is a semi-regular visitor to Inuvik, was more than happy to help out the church, O'Kane said.

"He asked only for a tank of gas," she added.

Slade is a veteran of the Northern music scene and beyond. Locally, he's likely best known for his iconic song Flying Into Inuvik.

During the performance at the church, his voice soared on the song due what's likely the best acoustics in town.

Music was an unlikely career choice for Slade, a self-described army brat who spent his childhood years moving from one side of Canada to the other with his parents. His father was a career navy man, Slade said.

That must have given him a bit of a taste of wanderlust, because he's spent much of his life touring Canada in one fashion or another.

As a young man, he hitchhiked across Canada, ending up in Newfoundland only because "you couldn't drive any further."

Slade began working in the construction industry to replenish his pocket money. Not two weeks into a job he described as a "gofer" for the other members of the crew, he fell off a ladder and injured a knee.

He needed two weeks of bed rest to recover, and in that time he began to teach himself how to play the guitar.

He hasn't looked back since. Slade now plays an accomplished guitar and also sizzles on one of his harmonicas, of which he has an enormous collection.

He writes the bulk of his own material, finding inspiration in his travels.

During the evening of Sept. 12, he spent a couple of hours at a workshop with the youngsters at the Inuvik Youth Centre. He demonstrated the songwriting process, as well as provided some hands-on training.

Annabel Edwards and Jayden Clarke were two of the most apt pupils that evening. Edwards in particular showed some natural aptitude and enthusiasm for the instrument.

The next day found Slade did much the same thing at East Three. He visited the high school in the morning and the elementary school in the afternoon.

In both cases, he helped the students write songs about the school to show them just how easy it can be to make music.

About 50 people attended the church concert Sunday evening, which also featured Louie Goose and Mumford and Friends.

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