Music is the medicine

Lo­cal mu­si­cians gather to pro­vide free con­cert for evac­uees

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - JA­SON KERR

Singer and song­writer Dakota Favel is moments away from go­ing on stage for a con­cert on the lawn be­hind Se­na­tor Allen Bird Memo­rial Cen­tre.

On reg­u­lar day, Favel is a student at Saskatchewan Polytech­nic’s Prince Al­bert Cam­pus. On this day, he’ll take the stage for an au­di­ence that in­cludes res­i­dents from Pel­i­can Nar­rows, Sandy Bay and other com­mu­ni­ties evac­u­ated after wild­fires be­gan burn­ing across north­ern Saskatchewan. Un­like reg­u­lar con­certs, it’s all for free.

“It ac­tu­ally takes away a lot of stress,” Favel says. “Music has a type of heal­ing, as you would say. Sit­ting around you can see the peo­ple en­joy­ing them­selves. You can hear the laugh­ter and every­thing. Music, it brings heal­ing.”

Favel is talk­ing about evac­uee stress lev­els, not his own, but he knows a bit about the feel­ing. His home­town of Ile a la Crosse was one of many forced to evac­u­ate in 2015, dur­ing the largest wild­fire evac­u­a­tion in Saskatchewan his­tory.

When asked by or­ga­nizer Sh­eryl Kim­b­ley to come out and play, Favel jumped at the op­por­tu­nity. Now he wants to help evac­uees feel a bit of safety and joy, even if only for a few hours.

“All of Saskatchewan, we’re like a big huge fam­ily,” he said. “Look­ing after one an­other is what we’re all about.”

Favel is one of 36 mu­si­cal acts that turned out to play for evac­uees, and not all of them came from Prince Al­bert.

Mykal and Dal­las Gam­bull drove up from Saska­toon, stop­ping only at Beardy’s and Oka­ma­sis to pick up fel­low band mem­ber Ed­die Cameron.

All three were part of a sim­i­lar con­cert two years ago in Beardy’s, and ea­gerly agreed to be in­volved again.

“We had Rez Cross in Beardy’s, and we spear­headed a show, the same thing like this,” Mykal re­mem­bered. “When peo­ple are dis­placed, they need the en­ter­tain­ment. They need to be stim­u­lated.

“Music is the medicine.”

All three mu­si­cians said there’s a strong mu­si­cal con­nec­tion in the north, so con­certs are a nat­u­ral place for bonding and ca­ma­raderie. Like Favel, they hoped to help evac­uees for­get their trou­bles for an evening.

“There’s de­spair,” Dal­las said. “You look around and peo­ple are prob­a­bly feel­ing (ter­ri­ble). They don’t even know what’s go­ing on back home.... I can’t imag­ine what they feel, but at least we can do a lit­tle bit on our part to ease it for them.”

“It brings joy into peo­ple’s lives,” Cameron added. “There’s noth­ing bet­ter than that, es­pe­cially when they’re dis­placed from their homes. It’s the small­est thing we can do with our tal­ents.”

JA­SON KERR/DAILY HER­ALD

Singer and song­writer Dakota Faval per­forms dur­ing the Night of Music con­cert out­side of the Se­na­tor Allen Bird Memo­rial Cen­tre on Thurs­day.

JA­SON KERR/DAILY HER­ALD

Guitarist Dal­las Gam­bull and fid­dler Corny Michel per­form for wild­fire evac­uees on Thurs­day, Sept. 7 at the Allen Bird Memo­rial Cen­tre.

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