Franciscan and Friends, a non-profit music charity, along with Siksika Nation artists are hosting a showcase of local musicians on January 8 at the Gleichen Community Centre. The performance will take place at 6 p.m. and will feature artists Waddell Smith, Alden Sun Walk, Smokey Many Guns, Andy Mitchell, Rich Stephens and Denis Grady.
The community event is free and open for anyone to attend. The centre will be setup in a concert-style format, with a great line up of musicians and a nice sound system, Grady explained.
The concert is meant to be inclusive and a good social gathering to created opportunities for friendship connections. Participants can meet and greet with musicians after the performance.
“For the last two years we’ve been visiting the Piikani once a month and the Blackfoot/ Siksika Nation out in Cluny and Gleichen. We’ve met some really good musicians. We enjoy playing music together,” said Grady.
The groups held concerts over the Christmas season at the community centre. “It was a collaboration of indigenous and non-indigenous musicians,” said Grady.
“We thought lets keep it going. Music gets everyone on the same page,” he said.
“Music can be a great transition to some optimism and hope,” said Grady. Members of the group, after having read through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s documents, and becoming educated on First Nations history, have created connections within the community.
“We’ve been really blessed with some great friendships with the elders and the children, and are also aware of the struggles that happened,” he said.
The aim is to continue hosting the concerts in the future. Musicians, or those who wish to volunteer may contact organizers at 403-397-1947.