Music is the medicine

Guitarist Dallas Gambull and fiddler Corny Michel perform for wildfire evacuees on Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

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.

For the rest of this story, please see the Sept. 9 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.