About the Project
The Nova Scotia Choral Federation (NSCF) is proud to present Nutuwiek?: Can You Hear Us?, a special project of the Nova Scotia Youth Choir (NSYC). Partnering with Mi’kmaw filmmaker Shelley MacDonald, Mi’kmaw dancer Sarah Prosper and settler conductor Christina Murray, Nutuwiek? combines choral music, dance, and film to explore themes of environmental stewardship, activism, and community. This performance features the works of Tadeja Vulc, Matti Kallio, Mike Campbell, and Peter Fillman and showcases the singers of the 2021 Nova Scotia Youth Choir.
To view Nutuwiek?, audiences have the choice of attending the in-person premiere on April 1st, 2022 or to stream Nutuwiek? beginning on April 8th, 2022. To register today, follow the corresponding button below:
Christina Murray is the artistic director of Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble. She approaches her conducting practice through the voice and is known for her innovative programming and her visionary commitment to decolonizing the choral art form.
Christina holds an honours undergraduate degree in music (voice/conducting) and philosophy from Mount Allison University, has done graduate work in feminist liturgical practices, and has subsequently studied conducting with Diane Loomer, Jon Washburn, Michael Zaugg, and Elise Bradley. Also an active and accomplished choral singer, as a young person she was selected for two tours with the National Youth Choir of Canada and has frequently sung with the Canadian Chamber Choir since 2007.
Christina served as head of choral studies at Kodaikanal International School in South India from 2002-2004 and has twice served as resident conductor of the Nova Scotia Youth Choir (2005-06 and 2017-18). She is dedicated to the vibrant future (and present!) of choral music in her province and nation.
Shelley MacDonald is an award winning performing artist, educator, and filmmaker who is of Mi’kmaq “Ugpi’Ganjig,” Eel River, New Brunswick and Scottish Ancestry. She has over 30 years of experience as an artist/educator and has collaborated on different theatre and film projects across Turtle Island creating meaningful arts and culture experiences that focus on social justice issues to help create systemic change. Shelley has been focused on mentoring Indigenous artists and teachers on collaborative learning strategies in the classroom to help bring the school curriculum alive with Indigenous Perspectives.
Shelley has spent the last 15 years presenting at different arts and education conferences such as the Assembly of First Nations, INDspire, The First Nations Education Steering Committee, Chiefs Of Ontario, The Lighting The Fire Conference and the Banff Centre. She has led performance and film workshops in many reserve communities across Canada. She is currently running an Indigenous Online Professional development program for teachers in partnership with Vancouver School Board’s Indigenous Education department, bringing teachers together with artists and Elders to create meaningful curriculum that reflects Indigenous ways of Knowing.
Sarah Prosper is a Mi’kmaq Womxn from Eskasoni First Nation. Sarah is a young dance artist, choreographer and director, and is currently attending her fourth year with Dalhousie University, where she is taking Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. She began dancing at age 2 with Susan Gallop’s Cape Breton School of the Arts. With the community success of the NADACA dance program in Eskasoni, Sarah became a fixture in the group and began teaching dance at age 14. Sarah has taught many styles with the help of her mentors and ADAPT training.
Today, Sarah dances with many groups in the HRM and CBRM. She continues in providing opportunities for children and adults with varying abilities to build their connections with themselves through dance, through reconciliation, and all her relations. Sarah is officially affiliated with Board of Directors of Dance Nova Scotia, Kinetic Dance Studio Board, Dalhousie University Dance Society, East Coast Dance Academy, CEPI Youth, and affiliated in the past with Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources, and Sable Island National Park Reserve. Sarah has hopes and dreams but most of all she hopes to incorporate indigenous creativeness, be that in the dance world or in community health & wellness programs; this way reconciliation continues and grows.
The Nova Scotia Youth Choir provides opportunity for singers ages 16-25 to work intensively on a wide variety of choral repertoire with some of the best choral instructors and directors in the field today. The program builds on expertise already developed through school, church and community choral training and provides a unique opportunity or young singers to work at a level often not available to them in their home communities. These singers are typically leaders in their own communities and NSYC affords them a chance to work with other committed young choral musicians as they further develop their choral skills, while providing a nurturing and empowering environment. The singers return to their communities with a renewed sense of purpose, improved skill set and provide further leadership in their choirs and music programs.
Many NSYC alumni have gone on to represent Nova Scotia in the National Youth Choir of Canada. In May of 2010, one fifth of the singers of this cross-Canada choir were chorally educated through this NSYC program. This speaks to the strength of this program and reputation Nova Scotia now has on a national scale. Alumni have also been representatives to the World Youth Choir and have become established choral musicians and music educators both at home and across the country.
The Nova Scotia Choral Federation acknowledges the support of the Province of Nova Scotia, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation in the creation of this project.