High School Students to Perform Bilingual Concert on National Indigenous Peoples Day
The Voice of the Stream concert features bilingual songs in Halq’emeylem – traditional Stó:lō language of the Fraser Valley – and English. 100 high school students from Imagine High Integrated Arts and Technology Secondary School (Imagine High) to perform.
The Artist Response Team (ART) in partnership with Imagine High Integrated Arts and Technology Secondary School (Imagine High) with funding support from Tire Stewardship BC (TSBC), BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA), and SD 33 (Chilliwack) today announced that the Voice of the Stream concert, will take place at Imagine High’s school theatre (45669 Yale Rd in Chilliwack, BC) on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, 2023. The concert will take place from 9:30-10:30am. The event is free to attend but people must register with the school here.
The Voice of the Stream concert will feature Imagine High students in the Stream Restoration program, and Rock Band program, performing with members of Éy St’élmexw St’elt’ílém/Good Medicine Songs (GMS.) GMS has collaborated with the students to write a new bilingual song, titled “Listen to the Stream/Xwelelam te Stótelō” that will be premiered at the concert. Students in Stream Restoration contributed to the lyrics; students in Rock Band helped develop the musical, melodic and rhythmic parts of the song.
“Since 2019, GMS has been creating bilingual songs in Halq’eméylem and English that weave together ecological awareness with Stó:lō language, stories and worldview,” said Holly Arntzen, producer/performer at ART, and a co-founder of GMS. “This is the first time we’ve worked with high school students. It’s a privilege to get to know these young adults and see their passion shine through when speaking out for nature, and bringing the Halq’emeylem language and culture to life.”
The Voice of the Stream concert is the final stage in a 10-week school project. Prior to the upcoming performance, students and educators at Imagine High were provided with song MP3s, lyrics, concert videos, stories and audio glossaries that teach pronunciation of Halq’eméylem words. The students, supported by teachers, learned the songs, and prepared various expressions including spoken word, visual arts and poetry, to share their learning about the importance of restoring stream and salmon habitats.
“It thrills me to see these young people from all backgrounds embracing the opportunity to sing in Halq’eméylem, and eager to learn about our Stó:lō teachings and stories and connection to the land,” said Xotxwes Jonny Williams, a language and cultural keeper, and co-founder of GMS. “This builds strength in our community amongst all peoples, and helps us to work together to take care of the land and waters.”
“Our focus at Imagine High is on experiential, hands-on learning, the design process, and creative expression. We love to offer students opportunities to perform, and that’s exactly what they’re getting through this program with ART and GMS,” said Brooke Haller, Principal, Imagine High. “I think our students will walk away with confidence in the performing arts space and a deeper appreciation for living in harmony with each other, the land, river, and natural world.”
Additional community concerts that took place in partnership with ART, BCUOMA and TSBC this past year included:
- Palsson Elementary School in Lake Cowichan (April 2023)
- Connaught Heights Elementary in New Westminster (May 2023)
“It was the hottest show in our small town,” said Craig McLeod, Principal, Palsson Elementary School.
“BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA) and Tire Stewardship BC (TSBC) are proud to sponsor these community concerts,” said David Lawes, CEO, BCUOMA, and Rosemary Sutton, Executive Director, TSBC, in a joint statement. “We have collectively worked with ART for the past decade, and we have seen firsthand how music and storytelling can unite people. As environmental stewardship organizations, BCUOMA and TSBC continue to look for unique ways to connect with British Columbians and inform them on the importance of recycling used oil (BCUOMA) and tires (TSBC) to protect our lands.”
About Artist Response Team
Established in 1991, ART is an independent Vancouver-based production house, headed up by singer/songwriter/producers Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright and their band, the Wilds. They have written a library of eco-rock songs, and specialize in music and entertainment that educate about ecology.
About Éy St’élmexw St’elt’ílém/Good Medicine Songs
GMS is a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who collaborate to promote revitalization of Halq’eméyelem through bilingual songs and stories, and inspire reconciliation, belonging and unity. GMS is headed up by Dr. Siyamiyateliyot Elizabeth Phillips, the last remaining fluent speaker of Halq’eméylem. Other GMS performers appearing in the concert include Sulisulwut Bibiana Norris and Lori Kelly.
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