Truth & Reconciliation Workshop
For two chilly days in February, Spiritus sequestered themselves at the cSPACE King Edward and embarked on a very private journey of truth and reconciliation. This exercise was led by singer/songwriter Leela Gilday, accompanied by Blackfoot Elder Saakokoto, known to many as Randy Bottle. The journey involved an immersion in Blackfoot traditions as told through stories, as they had been passed on for generations, while gathered in a circle.
There was a lot of sharing, listening and soul searching as the group grappled with issues surrounding personal biases and beliefs that were passed on through our individual life experiences. This workshop was created in the larger context of group musical composition with influences derived from what the group learned through the stories they heard. The group, which was divided into four subgroups, were each tasked with composing original lyrics and music. As a recap, a sweetgrass smudge—a ceremonial braid of dried herbs that symbolize purification and healing—was passed around and each one was given a chance to share what they had learned.
Spiritus 2017 Banff Choral Rehearsal Workshop
Photography by Bob Serrano