Nunatsiaq News
FEATURES: Nunavut December 13, 2017 - 1:30 pm

Big boost marks end of year for Nunavut music program

"We are so grateful"

JANE GEORGE
 All fiddle at the Tusarnaarniq Sivumut Association annual fundraiser last month in Nova Scotia. From left to right, Greg Simm, Ira Reinhart-Smith, Lindsey Qanguq, Elidih Buchanan and. in the back, Jonathan Pitseolak. (PHOTO BY GREG WOODSTOCK)
All fiddle at the Tusarnaarniq Sivumut Association annual fundraiser last month in Nova Scotia. From left to right, Greg Simm, Ira Reinhart-Smith, Lindsey Qanguq, Elidih Buchanan and. in the back, Jonathan Pitseolak. (PHOTO BY GREG WOODSTOCK)

This Christmas is looking particularly bright for Tusarnaarniq Sivumut as it looks ahead to 2018.

Over the past decade, the charity—whose name means “music for the future”—has allowed hundreds of youth in Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Pangnirtung and Hall Beach to pick up fiddles and learn how to play rollicking tunes.

The group recently received a big Christmas present to help continue its music program: a donation-matching offer that has the potential to bring the association’s new funding up to $100,000.

Every dollar raised between now and Dec. 31 will be matched by another dollar up to a total of $50,000, a recent release from the association said.

Tusarnaarniq Sivumut learned about the pledge Nov. 18 during its annual benefit concert in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

That event included performances by former Tusarnaarniq Sivumut student musicians Lindsey Qanguq and Jonathan Pitseolak from Pond Inlet, who are currently studying at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa, but were able to travel east with help from the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program.

At the benefit concert, Tusarnaarniq Sivumut’s major annual fundraiser, this year’s $50,000 amount was “the single largest donation we have ever received,” said Julie Lohnes-Cashin, its chairperson and co-founder.

The pledge comes from Nova Scotia couple Jason Roth and Cheryl Steadman-Roth.

“We are so grateful to Jason and Cheryl for believing in the work we do in.

“Delivering these programs in remote communities across Nunavut is challenging, and often comes with unexpected costs due to many factors, leaving very little resources for development,” said Lohnes-Cashin in the release.

The vision for the music association goes back to Pond Inlet’s Nasivvik music club, started in 2004 by Lohnes-Cashin, who was then teaching in Pond Inlet.

The workshops, which involved 20 students in 2007, now reach 250 students in Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Pangnirtung and Hall Beach every year.

Tusarnaarniq Sivumut, which formed as a charity in 2009, has, since 2010, sent fiddlers to Pond Inlet and the other Baffin communities for one month, two times a year, to teach students how to play.

Tusarnaarniq Sivumut Association said it’s hoping that people will consider donating “the gift of music,” which will help buy instruments and provide even more musical instruction for its program, which was profiled earlier this year in Nunatsiaq News.

Among Tusarnaarniq Sivumut’s long-term plans: fiddle clubs run by older students or graduates, so the fiddles won’t just be stored in closets when no workshops are underway.

Tusarnaarniq musician Greg Simm said all the money, ”every dollar” donated, will go directly to purchasing instruments and providing music instruction to Nunavut youth.

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