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Songs in the Sanctuary
March 12 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Tickets purchased in advance are $15 (plus applicable fees). Available here!
Tickets at the door will be $20 and subject to availability. Due to limited capacity, we highly recommend securing your seat in advance!
Festival passes available now. Get 3 shows for $60 or 5 shows for $80!
COVID-19 POLICY: COVID-19 POLICY: SkirtsAfire continues to require proof of vaccination, proof of a medical exemption of vaccination, or proof of a negative pharmacy test within 72 hours, along with ID. Masks must be worn at all times. Read more.
This celebration of women’s voices will feature 3 local women’s choir performances featuring a shared Cree choral arrangement by Sherryl Sewepagaham and the powerful harmonies of Nîpisîy ᓂᐱᓯᕀ, who will also finish the evening with a solo performance.
Artists Supported by Bernadette Gasslein
Nîpisîy, an Indigenous women’s ensemble blending Indigenous tradition and contemporary vocal harmonies with rhythms in the spirit of happiness, health and healing. Nîpisîy, meaning willow in Cree, perfectly embodies the authentic intention of combining four veteran vocalists to create a powerful and melodic collaboration which intertwines the strength of women’s voices.
Debbie Houle is a Métis mother of two from the Elizabeth Métis Settlement and has been working as an artist and community builder in Edmonton’s Indigenous community for 30 years. In her full-time role as a Liaison Officer with Alberta Indigenous Relations she works with First Nations communities in Alberta administering the First Nations Development Fund and the Residential School Community Research Grant.
Donita Large is Cree from Saddle Lake First Nation and is a singer-songwriter and has been mentored as an associate vocal coach. She has education in social work, addictions and adult education and is a Four Directions Wellness Specialist and a Circle of Safety Women’s Family Violence Facilitator.
Cindy Paul, Cree/Métis from Northern Alberta is an established producer, songwriter, recording artist and educator. She facilitates music production and visual art workshops across Canada and is an advocate for health and healing through natural therapies, music and art.
Sherryl Sewepagaham is Cree-Dene from the Little Red River Cree Nation in Northern Alberta. She is a Masters of Education student, experienced music therapist and music education specialist, as well as a choral composer and a singer-songwriter of Cree songs for children and adult choirs.
Conducted by Dr. Joy Berg
Cantabo Women’s Ensemble is in its inaugural year, now with 5 months of existence! This non-auditioned choir – part of Dr. Joy Berg’s Sanctuary Sounds business – is open to anyone who would like to sing sacred music, and be part of a wonderful community of women! Meeting every Wednesday from 5:30-6:30pm at Christ Church (Angican) in Edmonton, this choir participates in community and church events. Many of the singers have been part of the now-disbanded Bella Voce (Concordia); these singers, and the whole ensemble of Cantabo, are very pleased to continue to be part of Skirts Afire under this new name and new mission.
Conducted by Jolaine Kerley
Ariose Women’s Choir is an award winning, nationally recognized choir of singers from all walks of life. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, and led by their artistic director, Jolaine Kerley, the group enjoys the challenge of exploring and performing music of various styles and periods, and strives to expose audiences to a vast array of women’s choral music. Founded in 1995 by Dr. Marilyn Kerley, Ariose has built a legacy of excellence in choral music, and has filled a unique role in Canada’s choral landscape. The group regularly performs pieces by Canadian artists, and has commissioned several works by Canadian composers, including Allan Bevan, Ramona Luengen, and Christine Donkin. Ariose has appeared as an invited guest at the annual conference for Choir Alberta, and at Podium. Ariose rose to the challenges placed in front of the group during the pandemic and has taken advantage of new, interesting, and collaborative opportunities including our involvement with the Sonic Timelapse project. Other opportunities included a recording project of new work, Fair Jenny Alone by Louise Campbell. Ariose streamed their very first live Christmas concert entitled Home for Christmas on December 16, 2020 and performed in the Sonic Timelapse virtual concert on May 30, 2021. Ariose is thrilled to be rehearsing and performing back in person and is excited to perform for you both in person and virtually this evening in our Christmas Concert, Winter Glow. We look forward to the remainder of our 2021-22 season: the Fulton Winter Festival, a spring concert with Chandra Tala Women’s Choir, the SkirtsAfire Women’s Festival and our spring concert. Ariose has released seven recordings including: Joy shall be yours (2001), There, in that Other World (2005), What Child is This? (2008) Love, Light, and Lullabies (2016), and Snow Angel (2018).
Conducted by Heather Bedford-Clooney
Chanteuses, part of the Edmonton Columbian Choirs, is a group of 25 voices (18 and over). Growing out of the Columbian Girls’ Choir, they have been in existence since 1991. They have sung with the Edmonton Symphony, Alberta Ballet and for the Lt. Governor. In 2001, they were guests of the Government of Canada and performed for Canada Day on Parliament Hill. They have been finalists in the CBC Amateur Choir Competition several times.
The choir has commissioned several compositions from Canadian composers including Dr. Mark Sirett and Dr. Larry Nickel. They are very happy to be part of ‘SkirtsAfire’ and look forward to celebrating women by making music with other women’s choirs.