The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is about to launch Wandering with Wonder, a musical collaboration on film with Indigenous artists Walter MacDonald White Bear and Sherryl Sewepegaham.
The unique film that delivers choral singing in the Cree language and other surprises “is rich with musical storytelling,” states a release from the RDSO.
Inspired by the land, water and sky, the project was filmed around various Alberta landscapes by writer/creator Samantha Whelan Kotkas, a musician who’s been performing with the RDSO for a quarter century.
Wandering With Wonder can be viewed following a virtual launch event at 7 p.m. on Oct. 14 at www.rdso.ca.
The orchestral soundtrack, composed by RDSO music director Claude Lapalme. and TD Grand Jazz Award-winning composer and pianist Chris Andrew, is described as a “call to action through music about reinvigorating our values of community, creativity, love, compassion, and living sustainably within our environments.”
Wandering With Wonder incorporates puppetry, dance and the Luminous Voices choir and speaks directly to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. These include creating a strategy for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects, and increasing aboriginal programming and equitable access for Indigenous people to professional development opportunities.
“In this time of truth and reconciliation, projects like Wandering with Wonder are working to bring Indigenous artists into the public eye in a meaningful way and recognize their value in our culture and society,” states a release from the RDSO.
The film is made possible through funding by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Alberta, as well as corporate sponsorship from Servus Credit Union.
The two of the participating musicians, Whelan and White Bear, had collaborated on a previous Music From the Land program with the RDSO. (Their videotaped performance on classical trumpet and Indigenous flute, rattle and drum was shown on the RDSO’s website during the pandemic in 2021.)
Wandering With Wonder “is one of the nicest things we’ve worked on… I really, really enjoyed working on this project,” stated Claude Lapalme, who believes the musical storytelling experience will delight audiences.