Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

The Cochrane Music Society (CMS) and special guests will be bringing those words to life on May 13 by offering an all-new experience for residents to enjoy.

The Band on the Bow concert band, Riverside Jazz, and Choral Waves choir will focus on the power of music in aiding reconciliation, building bridges, and creating new friendships spanning several cultures.

Tickets are now available online and can be found here.

The concert band repertoire includes two pieces composed to merge Indigenous drummers and singers with the band, a Latin American-composed piece, and a Chinese-composed piece. The choir has chosen music from Indigenous, Ukrainian, and Czech cultures. Of course, jazz band music is a culture of its own.

Last week, we were able to catch a glimpse of the music being prepared for performances of the Choral Waves and Band on the Bow with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers Kyle Snow and Gina Onespot.

Kyle and GinaKyle Snow and Gina Onespot will be performing with the Band on the Bow.

Snow was introduced to music society board member Jane Kaczmer while singing at an event for Daryl Kootenay. She asked him to become involved in the project, and he was excited about the potential it holds. He's looking forward to performing and helping out in any way possible in the collaboration.

He's also keen to discuss other possible future collaborations.

Onespot, too, has a passion for the project.

"It's really exciting. and something new, especially with combining the different forms of music. It's all like coming together, and it's so beautiful."

Before all of this, CMS band director Adam Mailman had been exploring the possibility of a concert reflecting Cochrane's changing society. 

"I felt it was important to explore some cultural aspects, and looking at our audience, you start to recognize that Cochrane is becoming quite a multicultural place, and some of the things that we don't always think about need to be brought to the forefront of our minds."

To fulfill that vision, he selected some pieces from South America and China. and then reached out to Manitoba colleague Kenley Kristofferson, who collaborated with Indigenous artist Coco Ray to write Cardinal Elements. 

"Through that collaboration, they created this amazing work that becomes a musical conversation between the Indigenous artist and indigenous music and drumming and Western concert band," explains Mailman.

DiegoChoral Waves director Diego Bechthold.

Choral Waves director Diego Bechthold enjoys the opportunity it will provide for both the choir and the audience.

"I think this is going to be one of the most meaningful concerts and experiences that Cochrane Music Society has done, given the nature of the music and the opportunity for collaboration with some of the Indigenous artists that live nearby," he says.

"It's in languages or sounds that we're not normally exposed to. Not only that, but we also get to work with Indigenous artists, having their insight, their feedback, and their musical gifts adds to what we're doing. It's a tremendous experience and I think it opens up a whole new world for us, multiculturally speaking."

Kaczmer, who is also involved with the Wazin Ichinabi Ti, the town's new Indigenous centre, shares that passion for the project.

"The concert performance will provide an opportunity for the community to see us enjoying our new relationships and being comfortable together, and for them to show their appreciation for the various cultures and join in the fun. The impact will also be farther reaching as some of the CMS band members are high school music teachers who will take this experience into their classrooms."

Wazin Ichinabi Ti will be enhancing the event by raising their tipi at the concert site in tribute to this reconciliation effort.