The overall effect was moving and deeply thought provoking and one of the best pieces created as a conscious contribution to Truth and Reconciliation that I have experienced.
Campbell commissioned Sounding Thunder. It was a bold move, one that deserves its own standing ovation. Assembling some of Canada’s finest performers to make it shine made it even more compelling. If we can get this kind of art to mend the injustices of several centuries, maybe truth as well as reconciliation actually stand a chance.
Sounding Thunder: The Song Of Francis Pegahmagabow
A musical journey into the life of the renowned Ojibwe WWI sniper and decorated officer of the Canadian military, Francis Pegahmagabow. Composed by Tim Corlis and written by Ojibwe poet Armand Garnet Ruffo, Sounding Thunder is a complex work divided into three acts, exploring Pegahmagabow’s early years immersed in the world of the Anishinaabe spirits, his extraordinary accomplishments in the trenches of WWI, and finally his political life as Chief of the Wausauksing Ojibwe and founder of the early Indigenous political moment in Canada.
Written for multiple roles, both human and non-human, Sounding Thunder draws upon the memoirs of Pegahmagabow himself, family memories, and historical sources to introduce spectators to a little-known side of Canadian history while offering a fascinating story and a dynamic musical experience.
A multi-disciplinary production. Produced by Festival of the Sound, Artistic Director James Campbell, a Canada 150 project.
Premiered July 19, 2018 Wausauksing First Nation
July 20, 2018 Festival of the Sound
July 22, 2018 Elora Festival
July 23, 2018 Toronto Summer Music Festival
July 31, 2018 Ottawa ChamberFest
Sounding Thunder shows how cultural collaboration can produce something special.
NATASHA GAUTHIER, Artsfile, Ottawa
August 1, 2018
In Montreal, Robert Lepage is licking his wounds after having not one but two new “colour-blind” works cancelled over accusations of cultural appropriation and tone-deafness (SLAV proposed a mostly white cast to sing African slave music; Kanata, about residential schools, did not involve any Indigenous participants). Meanwhile, at Chamberfest on Tuesday night, Sounding Thunder: the Songs of Francis Pegahmagabow showed how collaboration should be done, and how successful the results can be when respect and listening are woven into the creative fabric.
Read full Artsfile review.........
New piece of music theatre honours Ojibwe war hero Francis Pegahmagabow
By JOHN TERAUDS Special to the Star
July 24, 2018
Truth and Reconciliation may not seem like a natural fit with the musical stage. But on Monday night, a crack team of artists from Owen Sound proved that some challenges are worth overcoming.
The Toronto Summer Music Festival had invited clarinetist James Campbell, who has also been artistic director of the Festival of the Sound for 33 years, to present a newly commissioned celebration of the life and accomplishments of an Ojibwe hero from the First World War.
The piece, mixing music, song, spoken word and video projections, is called Sounding Thunder: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow.
Read full Toronto Star review..........
A thundering truth: Indigenous war hero's story told anew in music and verse
LYNN SAXBERG, Ottawa Citizen
In this conversation with Ruffo, the writer talks about being drawn into the project, what he learned about the Canadian war hero and how the story contributes to the truth-and-reconciliation process.
Read full Ottawa Citizen preview..............
Producer: Festival of the Sound
Artistic Director: James Campbell
Composer: Timothy Corlis
Librettist: Armand Garnet Ruffo (Ojibwe poet and Queen’s University professor)
Director: Larry Beckwith
Lighting Designer: Gabriel Cropley
Project Manager: Laurelle Favreau
Narrator: Brian McInnes (great grandson of Francis Pegahmagabow)
Francis Pegahmagabow: Waawaate Fobister (Ojibwe)
Deer-Spirit Woman: Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora)
Special Guest: Jodi Baker Contin (Ojibwe)
Shaman, General Officer, Reporter, Indian Agent: Larry Beckwith
FESTIVAL OF THE SOUND ENSEMBLE
Mark Fewer, violin
Joel Quarrington, double bass
James Campbell, clarinet
James McKay, bassoon
Guy Few, trumpet
Rachel Thomas, trombone
Beverley Johnston, percussion
Larry Beckwith, conductor