Guests at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre were treated to a returning performance over the weekend.
On Sunday, October 30th, the Heritage Centre partnered with the Music Teachers’ Association of the Northwest Territories (MTANWT) to bring the first of a series of live musical performances back to the beloved museum. These performances are set to be held every month, with the next show scheduled for November 27th.
These concerts are designed to provide low stress performance opportunities for all of the students in their respective musical fields. Even if the audience is only friends and family, it allows the student to test their skills in front of a small, friendly crowd.
Sue Epp, the Music Sundays Coordinator, shared some of the history of the performances, which have been running for approximately 15 years now.
“First it was with Classics on Stage Yellowknife, which is now disbanded. That was an organization that brought mainly amateur performers and organized performance opportunities. That was mainly what it did, and provided musicians with professional development courses and things like that, and over the years, put on about 10 shows a year at the end of every month, and it started off with adults, and eventually some clever children started joining in. Now it belongs to the Music Teachers Association, so of course it’s a concert for music students to learn how to perform.”
Epp is a retired music teacher who has taken a keen interest in children’s music education. She became involved in both the Yellowknife Music Festival and the Music at the Museum concert series around the time each of these projects began, both as an adult voice student and performing soloist and also as a supporter and volunteer.
Epp went on to explain how Music Sundays will sometimes have a theme, but is often left up to the students’ discretion.
“If it’s Halloween we suggest they can play something spooky if they have it. If it’s Christmas, well they can play Christmas music, but they don’t have to, because it’s what the students are ready to play,, and the curriculum is being followed for the RCM exam at the end of the year. We used to try to do themes, but it never really worked because nobody had the right music at the right month.”
Students are encouraged to perform whichever piece they would prefer to play once they are ready and feel comfortable enough to play it.
Music Sundays was forced to hold smaller events in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now able to play at the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre once again. Their current batch of monthly performances are scheduled to take place until May of 2023. Each performance is entirely free, and open to the public.