What was supposed to be a musical event showcasing a variety of Métis artists has become a full-day festival to celebrate everything Métis, and Donny Parenteau couldn’t be happier.
The May 1 show will feature performances by Parenteau, by Alberta-born singer-songwriter Jess Lee and with a myriad of other Métis performers. It is the second of two local focus shows that make up part of this spring’s season series at the Rawlinson Centre.
“It was a vision that I had and brought forward to the E.A. Rawlinson Centre, Parenteau said.
“I wanted to put on an event, and it was a musical event, with a variety of Métis artists, to provide an evening of Métis music. It’s focused on our culture.”
That idea of a musical Métis showcase grew with the help of the Gabriel Dumont Institute.
“I’m very proud and happy. Gabriel Dumont Institute came forward and helped to organize an event for the City of Prince Albert where 300 students will show up that morning and get to see presentations, all based on Métis culture,” Parenteau said.
“Everything from food to the Michif language, to maps, they’re going to have mini voyageur games, and also music.
“It turned into an entire day of Métis culture and showcasing what it is. I am so thrilled that I get to do this for the city of Prince Albert to showcase what I love to do.”
The festivities will continue into the evening, when Parenteau’s show, Colours of the Sash, will play at the theatre.
‘The first set is based on a variety. Everything from a couple of local fiddle players to singers, and I’m very proud that my daughter is going to be part of the show as well,” Parenteau said.
“The second half will be Jess Lee and myself to finish off the evening.”
The purpose of the entire day is to celebrate and teach others about Métis culture. Parenteau said society has come a long way since he was growing up, when few spoke of, taught about, or celebrated what it meant to be Métis.
“When I was younger, there was not much of the history of Métis culture that we really knew or understood. To know what we know today, and to spread hat on to the new generation _ you don’t want to forget about that history,” he said.
“They teach t now in Schools. The Michif language has a Michif on the go app, so you can learn the language from your phone. To bring that forward to the City of Prince Albert, to spread that knowledge to some of the students in P.A., to pass that down to the next generation, I’ absolutely thrilled we get to do that.
“To spread our culture is to learn more about who we are.”
Parenteau thanked Gabriel Dumont Institute for stepping forward to help organize the day of activities. It’s something Parenteau hopes can become an annual occasion.
“The biggest thing I want to stress to everybody is this is a Prince Albert event. It’s something I want to continue to do year after year,” he said.
“I want to make this a yearly event. Trust me, I will.”
Tickets for Colours of the Sash are on sale at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre Box Office and can also be purchased online. While several tickets have been sold, a few are still available. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1.
Performers features at Colours of the Sash:
- Donny Parenteau
- Jess Lee
- Dean Smith
- Meryn Norton
- Angie Rancourt
- Juliana Parenteau
- Dean Bernier
- Mercy Glover
- Riverside Jigging Club – Cuenna Bear and RImara Smallboy
- Kelsey Aydt
- Jed Huntley