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September 18, 2009 – Shy-Anne Hovorka, Nylin White, Missy Knott, and Chris Sutherland provided outstanding vocal performances at all 3 high schools for intermediate level and secondary level Rainy River District School Board students. These exceptionally talented performers are all healthy lifestyle artists who joined forces to do a Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal Music Tour in support of youth and Mother Earth.Nylin White is a new up and coming Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal musician, whose song “On the Res” communicated that too many friends are lost through suicide, and urged youth not to give up, to be strong, and to be “who you are.”
Winner of Peterborough’s Best Emerging Artist 2009 award, Missy Knott spoke to students about losing someone to cancer, and the recent loss of her father to this disease. Her song “Happy in the Sun” focused on how her father took joy in the simple gifts of life during his last days. She also performed “Including You,” which was written about the importance of avoiding abusive relationships, taking control, and letting go of everything that is hurtful.
Shy-Anne Hovorka is a 10 time music award nominee and the recipient of over 10 music awards. With an Honors Bachelor of Music degree and Bachelor of Education degree, many of her songs reflect her interactions with students, and her feelings growing up as a child. Through song and discussion with Rainy River District School Board students, she promoted the importance of the ability, to be proud of themselves and their heritage, to look past skin colour, and to focus on all the positive things that there are to celebrate in the world. The biggest dream for Shy-Anne is that her music will help others understand life, and realize they are not alone. Especially the children that are in foster care. She also wants educators, parents, children’s aid services, and care-givers know how much they can impact one life, and how that one life can in turn hopefully impact many others in a positive way thanks to their love and determination.
Shy-Anne Hovorka shared a message with those in attendance that encouraged them to “give Mother Earth a break by fasting for 12 hours on October 10, 2009” in support of Anishnabe Nation Elder, Dave Courchene’s, Day of Fasting/Celebration of Giving. The goal of this day is to give back to the earth, to encourage more people to use their musical talents to express positive messages, and to contribute to a more peaceful world. The show on September 17, 2009 at Fort Frances High School closed with Moose Cree First Nations hip hop artist Chris Sutherland. One of his goals is show the students that rapping with positive messages has more power than singing about many of the negative concepts in contemporary music today that fill the ears of youth.
During their 3 days in the Rainy River District, on September 15 through September 18, 2009, the group also auditioned and selected three local youth to perform with them in Thunder Bay on October 3, 2009 at the Paramount Theatre.
Aboriginal Education Leader, Brent Tookenay said: “The artists all gave a message of determination and dream following, which is also reflected in the Rainy River District School Boards mission: To empower all students to dream of the possibilities, to believe in themselves and to achieve.”
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