Notinikew: Going to War
November 13, 2022
McDougall United Church
Andrew Balfour’s war oratorio tells stories of Indigenous soldiers in conflicts since WW1.
A multidisciplinary performance including choral singing in Cree and English, narration in English, and traditional singing and drumming.
Leanne Zacharias, cello
Ryan Arcand, singer/drummer
Nolan Kehler, tenor
Paul Grindlay, bass
Chronos Vocal Ensemble is partnering with composer Andrew Balfour and guest artists in a presentation of his war oratorio. Notinikew is an exploration first inspired by the stories of Indigenous soldiers who served in Canada’s military in World War I; facing the horrors of war while fighting for freedom abroad, then denied rights and freedoms at home.
Please note: Narrative elements contain some graphic descriptions of war violence.
Tickets ordered here will be available at Will Call on concert day, November 13.
- Indigenous Community price $15: apply coupon code ‘notinikew’ on check out, must be purchased separately.
- Student price (with ID) $15: apply coupon code STUDENT on check out, must be purchased separately.
Online sales have closed, tickets available at the door
Door pricing will be $30.
Join us as Andrew, the choir and guest collaborators present his oratorio Notinikew: Going To War.
This powerful lament takes the listener on a moving journey through choral singing, dramatic narration, and traditional drumming and singing. Notinikew is “an Indigenous identity piece – a tragedy that speaks […] about all wars and all Indigenous soldiers,” says composer Andrew Balfour, who is of Cree descent, originally from Manitoba. “Notinikew was difficult to write but also magical and important. It is an honour to try, in my own way, to tell the stories of our people.”
This Edmonton production includes a new movement commissioned for this occasion, featuring soloists Nolan Kehler and Paul Grindlay. Also taking part are composer Andrew Balfour (as narrator), Elder Margaret Cardinal, traditional drummer/singer Ryan Arcand, and cellist Leanne Zacharias.
This production will be the first staged performance of Notinikew since its premiere in Winnipeg in 2018 as part of a series of Truth and Reconciliation Concerts by Dead of Winter (then Camerata Nova), in collaboration with singer/drummer Cory Campbell, cellist Cris Derksen, and the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir, under the direction of Mel Braun.
An opening prayer will be offered by Elder Margaret Cardinal.
Ticket holders use right hand doors
Purchases and ‘will call’ use left hand doors
The front entrance of McDougall United Church is approached by stairs; for accessible admission please contact [email protected] or phone/text 780-996-6874
Parking is available in the lot behind McDougall, but is limited… please plan to arrive early to access alternate parking.
Other parking in the area includes the Chateau Lacombe parkade accessed from MacDonald Drive (west-bound), Telus Plaza, as well as a large ImPark surface lot at MacDonald Drive and 102 St.
Ryan Arcand is from the Cree community of Goodfish Lake, Alberta (Whitefish Lake First Nation). He first encountered the drum at a powwow at Alexander First Nation around 1978, and trained for many years with old masters such as the Sandy Lake Singers before becoming a full-time drummer/singer in about 1985, and later a champion powwow dancer in 1988-90. He attended Concordia University in Edmonton to study Education, and now splits his time between St. Albert and his land near Onoway, Alberta. As an elder and language-keeper, he has spent many years sharing language, cultural teachings and songs particularly in the City of St Albert and surrounding areas, working with children and adults. Recently, he has been a lead instructor for student drum circles at St. Albert schools. He was recently given the Established Artist Award in the 2022 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts for the City of St. Albert.
Leanne Zacharias is an interdisciplinary artist and educator who collaborates with composers, songwriters, architects and artists of all stripes. Her unique, immersive concerts in museums, galleries, chimneys, stairwells, rowboats and other unorthodox sites have been presented by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, LandMarks2017, International Cello Festival of Canada, Austin’s New Music Coop, Winnipeg Design Festival, Sound Symposium and Iceland’s NES. She directs Wheat City Nuit Blanche, A Wild Studio (Canadian National Parks), is on faculty at Brandon University and has lectured at the Parsons Design School in New York, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and Banff’s Research In Culture workshop. Her 2021 solo album Music for Spaces was released on Redshift Records.
Winnipeg-based tenor Nolan Kehler brings an energy to the stage that is infectious for an audience. Nolan’s most recent appearances have included a last-minute engagement in the inaugural Winnipeg Baroque Festival as the soloist in the St. John Passion alongside the Pacific Baroque Orchestra conducted by Kathleen Allan, and as Ferrando in Good Mess Opera Theatre’s Cosi fan tutte in Calgary. Another 2022 highlight was multiple soloist performances in Andrew Balfour’s Captive with Dead of Winter. When he is not performing, Nolan serves as the Provincial Coordinator for the Manitoba chapter of Opera InReach, which aims to provide accessible opera education to schools from a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds in Canadian vocal music.
Paul Grindlay: I feel fortunate to have been blessed with a unique bass voice, but mostly I am indebted to the amazing teachers, mentors and colleagues who have inspired and supported me on my musical journey, including my parents, grandparents, wife, brothers and so many others. I have enjoyed thirty years of professional performances on three continents and recorded CDs for NAXOS. I was Artistic Director of the Calgary Boys’ Choir between 2004 and 2019. I teach and coach through Mount Royal Conservatory of Music, have directed the choir at Knox Presbyterian Church since 2009, and am currently Acting Artistic Director of Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players. I also love fly fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, swimming, cooking and poetry. www.paulgrindlay.ca
Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer and sound designer of Cree descent, whose choral and instrumental works have been performed and broadcast internationally. He has been commissioned by the Winnipeg, Regina and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, Roomful of Teeth, Tafelmusik, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Luminous Voices, and Chronos Vocal Ensemble, among others. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of Dead of Winter (formerly Camerata Nova) in Winnipeg, now in its 25th year. The ensemble’s concept-concerts, many with Indigenous subject matter, explore a theme through interdisciplinary collaborations.
Andrew is passionate about music education and outreach, particularly on northern reserves and inner-city schools where he has worked on behalf of the National Arts Centre, Dead of Winter, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and various school divisions. Andrew was Curator and Composer-in-Residence of the WSO’s inaugural Indigenous Festival. In 2017, he was awarded a Gold Medal by the Senate of Canada for his contribution to Canada’s Indigenous and music communities.