Sunday, June 19, 2011

Acting as a 67 year-old groupie.

 Last night, Anne and I attended the National Aboriginal Festival at Lebreton Flats in Ottawa. The highlight of the festival, for us, was the performance of Shy-Anne Hovorka as one of the headline performers last evening.

Shy-Anne to me is one of the graduates from Red Lake District High School that I counselled during my years as a high school counsellor. I remember Shy-Anne as perhaps the only person who sang with the high school band as it performed. Shy-Anne went on to study music at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, and is now in the midst of a successful music career, teaching career and a career in advocacy for children of First Nation ancestry to be able to fulfill their dreams.

For the first time in my life, I became a groupie as at the end of her hour-long "set' of music, I stood in the wings striving to meet her. Shy-Anne recognised me immediately, adressing me as , "Mr. Toft."

Her performance was outstanding. Her songs reflect the struggles in her life with racism, but go much beyond the protest songs of that genre. I was most impressed with the quality and range of her voice, and of her ability to sing so movingly in so many different styles: jazz, latin rhythms, gentle acoustic guitar accompanied songs as well as loud, strident rock and roll. I think Anne was just as impressed as I.

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