Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit July 14, 2017 - 10:00 am

Dont be shy… music, acting workshops return to Nunavut capital

“It’s so much fun, I see kids explore their ability and go beyond their limits"

BETH BROWN
Young Iqaluit performers hold their final concert in September 2016, at the end of Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor's two-week workshop on theatrical and musical skills. (FILE PHOTO)
Young Iqaluit performers hold their final concert in September 2016, at the end of Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor's two-week workshop on theatrical and musical skills. (FILE PHOTO)

Julie Vaddapalli’s first piano gig in Iqaluit was as accompanist for a series of free vocal workshops. 

Three years later, accompanying the song and drama workshops is still on her summer schedule.

“I’m doing it because it’s such a joy,” she said. “It’s so much fun, I see kids explore their ability and go beyond their limits.”

Iqaluit’s third annual all-ages singing and drama workshop series, led by Toronto-based professional opera singer Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, will run Aug. 1 through Aug. 19.

This should be the biggest year yet, with more classes in Iqaluit and longer trips to both Cambridge bay and Pangnirtung later in the year, said Fairchild-Taylor. And, the project will expand to a new community, which is yet to be announced.

In Iqaluit, separate workshops will take place three times each week for children ages four to six, seven to 10, and 11 to 15. There will also be evening workshops for teens and adults.

Opera singer and vocal teacher Betty Allison will also be leading workshops this year.

The B.C. artist has a knack for working with young children, said Fairchild-Taylor, which is great because morning workshops on Aug. 5 and 12 will be held for Iqaluit’s smallest residents—newborn to three years—and their caregivers.

Last year, around 50 community members took part in the summer arts sessions. Fairchild-Taylor said she is hoping more will sign up this year.

“The goal of the program is to offer a self-esteem building exchange,” by creating space for creative expression through “singing, acting and storytelling” said Fairchild-Taylor.

“I want people leaving with more confidence in their voice and in their ideas.”

Song and drama will incorporate northern themes, local folklore and Inuktitut language. 

And, since it’s all about being creative, the workshops offer ample room for students to incorporate their own ideas. 

“Everyone decides what they would like to do and how they would like to tell their story,” said Fairchild-Taylor. “We’re just there facilitating that story telling.”

According to Vaddapalli, that’s exactly what she does.
When Fairchild-Taylor comes around, people of all ages feel safe to sing, she said, adding that the now annual workshops fill a void in the Iqaluit music scene.

“Something was missing,” Vaddapalli said. “She tapped into a niche.”
The workshops will wrap up with a concert open to the public at Inuksuk High School on Aug. 19.

The song and drama classes are free—but you have to sign up. Iqalummiut can register for the workshops by contacting Fairchild-Taylor at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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