Nov. 7, 2022Print | PDF
Welcome and Introduction from project co-partners, Cara Loft and Kira Omelchenko
Welcome to Ka’shatsténshera: The Power and Unity of Music and a coming together of Laurier Indigenous music makers and the Laurier Symphony Orchestra! Ka’shatsténshera means power/unity in the Kanenkehake (Mohawk) language, and this encompasses the vision and purpose of this project we wish to bring to the community this evening. This project has been in the works for two years and we are excited to finally share it with a live audience and to celebrate the power of connection and collaboration.
Our project vision is to bring together the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities at Laurier in a mutual music sharing and reconciliatory music creation process. We use both traditional Indigenous hand drumming, shakers and singing; as well as traditional symphonic orchestral instruments to co-create a communal and tangible piece of music that harnesses the power of cross-cultural collaboration and friendship. The goal is to bring together Indigenous music makers, Indigenous students, and the Laurier Symphony Orchestra and co-create a one-of-a-kind collaborative musical piece. Our project aims to empower Indigenous student leaders and engage with Indigenous Elders, Indigenous students, and non-Indigenous students by co-creating a symphonic orchestra piece. Participating students have jointly collaborated and will perform an “Indigi-orchestral” (a term we created specifically for this project) piece by symphonic composer, Stas Omelchenko, and Indigenous singer/hand drummer, Cara Loft.
Fourteen self-identifying Indigenous students were selected from a pool of applicants to participate in the project. At the beginning stages, the students were engaged in drum-making workshops with Hilton King (facilitator), drum birthing ceremonies with Banakonda Kennedy (Indigenous Elder), hand-drumming workshops with Cara Loft, and composition and music-making workshops with Stas Omelchenko. This fall term, returning students joined the Laurier Symphony Orchestra, under the guidance of Kira Omelchenko, in rehearsals in preparation for this evening’s presentation.
The foundational values for this project are focused on mutual respect, collaboration and friendship. This project is grounded in reconciliation, with the understanding that traditional Indigenous music is socially based and created by a community. We are guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action to lift up the voices of Indigenous students, community members, and to honour the traditional Indigenous music-making process and culture.
Thank you for being part of this moment and for allowing us to share our project and vision.
We hope this project and new “Indigi-orchestral” piece sparks connections and brings inspiration, joy, healing, and hope for the future.
~Cara and Kira
THANK YOU to the following project collaborators: