Session|séance 4.1. 150+1.
Room 11-452. Chair: Allan Gilliland.
Thursday|jeudi 24 May|mai 2018. 10:30AM - 12:30PM.
4.1.1. Reconciling Nations: The Polaris Music Prize in an Era of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Michael Evans Kinney, Stanford University
Since the release of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) interim report in 2012, the Polaris Music Prize, one of the country’s most coveted popular music awards, has been engaged in national politics of reconciliation, recognizing three indigenous artists – Tanya Tagaq (2014), Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015), and Lido Pimienta (2017) – for their politically-charged albums. This paper considers the role the Polaris Music Prize plays in a post-TRC era by focusing on these three indigenous artists and themes of redress surrounding their performances and reception. While Tagaq and Sainte-Marie’s performances directly engage with issues of Canadian indigenous identity and reconciliation, I believe they have foregrounded and influenced Pimienta’s reception as a Columbian indigenous immigrant.
Music as reconciliation recognizes indigenous artistic voices historically and violently repressed, while also creating therapeutically affective space for articulating anger, forgiveness, and healing. In line with Beverley Diamond’s recent work on reconciliation and song, I will assess music’s role in the ongoing cultural healing process in Canada by consider how musical performances in the space of Polaris act as a colonial “contact zone” (Pratt, 1991). With attention to Polaris’s Gala concerts at which the winner of the prize is announced, I will demonstrate how each performer addresses issues of resolution, while also claiming this stage as a space of resistance within a framework of Canadian national identity. I conclude that Polaris has a unique opportunity to foster discourse around indigenous reconciliation, and to shape a definition of Canadian multiculturalism that celebrates difference instead of erasing it.
Tom Gordon, Memorial University
Dating back well into the nineteenth century, the Inuit brass bands of Labrador echo Turmmusik, the ancient European practice of signaling important moments in civic life by playing trumpets from a tower. To nineteenth- and early twentieth-century visitors to this distant coast, being greeted by a brass band from the roof of the church was symbolic of the civilizing effect of the Moravian missionaries who introduced them. But to the Inuit themselves, the brass bands were not a colonial imposition, but rather represented who they were as a people. Although brass instruments were introduced to the Inuit by the missionaries, they soon left the church, becoming emblems of community life. Across a century and a half brass bands, led by Inuit men, heralded community celebration and commemorations, greeted visitors and bade farewell to friends, honoured Elders celebrating signet anniversaries and accompanied the dead to God’s Acre. The story of the Labrador Inuit brass bands up to their demise at the end of the twentieth century speaks to community building, leadership, and Inuit agency in a colonial context. Their revival in recent years offers an opportunity to reflect on cultural hybridity, the power of music as a social force and pride in Inuit identity. This paper traces the arrival of brass bands in Inuit Labrador from 1771 through archival records and analyzes the social meaning of the tradition through interviews, images, and audio from Labrador Inuit brass bands across the last half century.
Keith Kinder, McMaster University and Matthew Timmermans, McGill University
Morley Calvert (1928-1991) began his training early in the Salvation Army, and had achieved notable awards in theory, piano and trumpet before he had completed his teens. He received a B. Mus. from McGill University in 1956.
In 1950, he was hired to teach in-class instrumental music, new to Québec, at Westmount Jr/Sr High School in Montréal, and soon began winning awards in Canada and the U.S. He assumed leadership roles with Salvation Army, with community groups and in music education in Montréal and beyond.
From 1972 until 1984 he directed the famous Central Collegiate Band in Barrie, Ontario, and sustained that group’s unusually high performance standard. He died very suddenly in Hamilton in 1991.
Calvert’s main contribution to Canadian musical culture is his nearly 100 compositions. Works published from the early 1950s to the 1970s remain core repertoire for brass bands worldwide, within and outside the Salvation Army. His first professional commission, Suite from the Monteregian Hills written for the Montréal Brass Quintet, was quickly absorbed into the repertoire and continues to receive hundreds of performances internationally. Professionally recorded at least 25 times, it is likely the best-known Canadian composition outside of Canada.
Researching Morley Calvert is hampered by the paucity of published resource material. This paper will address the challenge of assembling reliable information from human subjects, newspapers of varying dependability and other media, and illustrate how such information can be cross-referenced to produce an accurate study of Calvert’s life, career and compositions.
Kiersten van Vliet, McGill University
The 1976 Games of the XXI Olympiad in Montreal, Canada are often remembered as the Games with the highest overrun costs as well as the only Summer Olympics where the host nation failed to win a gold medal—dubious honours indeed. Less documented is the role that music and culture played in how organizers chose to represent Montreal and Canada to the world on the highest-profile international stage since Expo 67.
The Comité organisateur des Jeux olympiques de 1976 appointed André Morin, a CBC/Radio-Canada producer involved in the planning of Expo 67 and Montreal 325 celebrations, as project leader for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Morin, longtime advocate of neglected Québécois pianist-composer André Mathieu (1929–1968), devised the idea of an “integrated musical concept” based on his music. Arranged by Montreal jazz pianist and band leader Vic Vogel (b. 1935), the music showed the world, in his words, that “Canada has soul.”
This historical presentation details the transformation of Mathieu’s virtuosic neo-Romantic works into an easy-listening fusion of mainstream jazz, funk, and rock that accompanied the ceremonial pageantry. Beneath this blend of genres, Morin’s attempt to rehabilitate the image of a forgotten national hero belies a bourgeoning Québécois nationalist movement. In addition to documenting the missteps and successes in the realization of an integrated musical concept for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1976 Olympic Games, I also make a case for the enduring legacy of Vic Vogel’s sound on Canadian populist incidental music for film and television.