Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 07, 2015 - 11:55 am

Performer in Nunavut for drama, singing workshops

"It helps you learn how to share your feelings in a safe way"

THOMAS ROHNER
Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, a Toronto-based opera singer and music teacher, will host a free drama and music workshop in Iqaluit and Pangnirtung this month. (COURTESY GWENNA FAIRCHILD-TAYLOR)
Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, a Toronto-based opera singer and music teacher, will host a free drama and music workshop in Iqaluit and Pangnirtung this month. (COURTESY GWENNA FAIRCHILD-TAYLOR)

A free singing and drama workshop in Iqaluit and Pangnirtung this month offers youth and young adults a chance to sing and act their way to improved self-esteem and public speaking.

At least that’s what the workshop’s organizer, Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, hopes participants walk away with.

“At some point in your life you’re going to have to speak up, like at a meeting at work, or to your friends — you’re going to have to be a leader in some capacity. And that’s easier if you’ve taken some drama and you’ve become more comfortable with yourself,” said Fairchild-Taylor, a Toronto-based opera singer and teacher, July 6.

Fairchild-Taylor’s workshops, which she is holding in Nunavut for the fifth straight year, also provide a safe environment for self-expression, the musician said.

“Music and drama promotes an openness, I think, and it helps you learn how to share your feelings in a safe way.”

This year’s workshop, sponsored in part by the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council and the Government of Nunavut, places an emphasis on the self-esteem of girls and women, Fairchild-Taylor said.

“Having a wide age group, and having young women see the older women learn things — just like they’re going to learn things — that’s really, really valuable.”

The age group for the workshops is from 13 to 30 years old, Fairchild-Taylor said, and although there is an emphasis on women this year, there are spots open to anybody as well.

“I’d like to get a few more boys signed up, if they’re around,” she said.

The Iqaluit workshop, which takes place July 8, 11, 15 and 16 at the Francophone Centre, will culminate in a collaborative performance at Iqaluit’s Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum July 19 at 7 p.m.

“We’re all going to work together to make our own story and interweave music in all three official languages,” Fairchild-Taylor said.

The aim is not to have a polished product by the end of the workshop, the singer added, but to let each participant show what they learned.

“What we’re aiming for is that everybody gets to perform in way that is both positive and lets them show their families what they’ve been working on.”

The Pangnirtung workshop, to be held July 13 and July 14, will be similar but scaled-down, with an afternoon workshop for kids and an evening workshop for adults.

Fairchild-Taylor said she has visited the North for the last five years to visit her mother, a Nunavut-based lawyer, and to offer her free workshops to Nunavummiut.

“Every year I come it’s different and better,” Fairchild-Taylor said.

In the future, the musician said she hopes to expand her workshop to span more days and to include kids under 10 years old.

“Iqaluit and the North in general is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, both for the culture and the natural environment. I’m so glad to be welcomed here every year to do these kinds of things.”

For more information on the music and drama workshop, you can email Fairchild-Taylor at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 647-628-4936.

Fairchild-Taylor will also perform at an opera and piano recital at Iqaluit’s St. Jude Anglican Cathedral July 17 at 7 p.m.. The recital is free, but donations will be accepted at the door.

 

 

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