Show in Eska­soni ‘in­cred­i­bly mov­ing’

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

On May 3, I was priv­i­leged to be part of the au­di­ence at the Dan K. Stevens Memorial Arena in Eska­soni. The show was a one-hour per­for­mance by the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre Orches­tra un­der the direc­tion of Alexan­der Shel­ley.

The per­for­mance in­cluded the John Estacio com­po­si­tion based on Rita Joe’s “I Lost My Talk” and Eska­soni’s Kaolin John­son per­form­ing her song “We Shall Re­main” writ­ten by Kalolin, her fa­ther Tom John­son and teacher Carter Chi­as­son. Kaolin sang solo ac­com­pa­nied by the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre Orches­tra.

Words can­not ad­e­quately ex­press the power and beauty of this show. It was an in­cred­i­bly mov­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary per­for­mance. From start to fin­ish, it was com­pletely cap­ti­vat­ing. From the open­ing piece to James Ehnes’ fea­tured vi­olin solo to Estacio’s com­po­si­tion ac­com­pa­nied by a film fea­tur­ing First Na­tions mod­ern dance and chore­og­ra­phy and Rita Joe’s words ... breath­tak­ing.

The fi­nal num­ber – “We shall re­main (it wasn’t taken away” – was the per­fect con­clu­sion. Kalolin did not fal­ter. Her com­po­sure, voice, con­fi­dence and words ac­com­pa­nied by beau­ti­ful or­ches­tra­tion – it was all sim­ply stun­ning.

The com­mu­nity of Eska­soni is to be com­mended for part­ner­ing with the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre to bring this pro­duc­tion home. They more than rose to the oc­ca­sion in pre­sent­ing an amaz­ing show, wel­com­ing stu­dents and guests and pro­vid­ing the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre Orches­tra with what I’m sure was a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It takes so many peo­ple to bring some­thing like this to fruition.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to ev­ery­one in Eska­soni who con­trib­uted to mak­ing this a re­al­ity, par­tic­u­larly Ge­orge Paul and Tom John­son who worked tire­lessly. It is a day not to be for­got­ten.

Perry Bel­le­garde, na­tional chief of the As­sem­bly of First Na­tions, summed it up elo­quently in his open­ing re­marks: “Chief Leroy Denny has found a way to bring all of our peo­ple to­gether in a good way. That is what it is all about, about rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.”

The com­plete con­cert can cur­rently be viewed on the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre web­site: https://nac­

Shauna Wal­ters Syd­ney

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