DAREarts Blog

Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence

Guest Post: DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat, Days Three & Four


Thunder Air LogoPalgrave Rotary Club, Thunder Air, Aeroplan donors (Hans Koehle, Maria Da Cunha, Cheryl Vhal, Victor Ford), The Royal Conservatory’s Learning Through The Arts Program, TD Bank Group, and the Paul Semple Scholarship Fund are supporting this project.

June 10th & 11th 2016 | Written by DAREarts Artist-Educator Glenn Marais | Days Three and Four

DAREarts Attawapiskat youths with Glenn - Day 3This trip has had some challenges right at the beginning with DAREarts trying to organize so many different pieces, people, dates, schedules, funding, flights, accommodations, food etc. The usual logistics that go into a trip like this usually have several months or planning first, then a full week of in-class workshops, followed by a community celebration and feast on the Saturday at the end of the week to showcase the student’s work.

The Day 3 morning began slowly as many students had been at the community fasting ceremony the night before, including our host teacher, Mandy Alves, who shared with me that the ceremony ended past 3 in the morning. I had no expectations only hope that students would sense the importance of what we were doing and remember the feeling of pride and joy we had when we finished the song the day before.  A few students came in at around ten, Stephen, who is fascinated by writing and recording, my engineer, Roberta, Aniston and her brother Philip and Tatum, who kept popping in and out all morning even though she was sick.  IMG_3356We started with Aniston, who was so well prepared it was amazing. She had recorded the ghost track from the day before, went home and wrote everything out and practiced the song to get ready to record. I was so impressed by how much work she put into getting ready.  I tracked her several times and also her brother Phillip, who was also well prepared. I worked with Tatum next and we went through the song piece by piece so she could get used to the pace and tempo of the verses, which are quite wordy and difficult to sing.  This song was challenging for me to lay down, so I knew it would be hard for them, but no-one complained and they all worked really hard and demanded excellence from themselves and me. It’s why I said it was one of the best sessions I’ve ever done.  I’ve worked with a lot of students and the students here have one of the highest personal standards I’ve worked with and their ethic and sense of humor were top notch.  Our challenge for yesterday was finishing everything in time.  IMG_3357A touring band and motivational speaking group from the US, Broken Walls, were putting on a show at the elementary school at 1:30. Lunch was 12-1 and we had to walk over, so essentially I was left with a 45 minute window on a Friday from 3:15-4, with a community fast celebration going on and the weekend factor. Students usually go home after an assembly, so this was slightly disconcerting as you can imagine. I recruited as many students as I could on the walk over and it looked promising. I try not to worry when these things happen as there is usually a meant to be, someone inside of the swirl of it all.  When we came back, I had the following students with me: Roberta I., Engineer extraordinaire; Urshela M., Second Rapper on the song; Shannette O., a gifted writer who contributed a lot to the song and held it and me to a high standard all the way to the end; Elaine H.; Aniston P.; Alexandra K.; Liza J.; and Tyler K.

IMG_3363What can I say about these awesome people. They pushed me and cajoled, teased and worked so hard with me to track the song. They would have recorded all night if we had the time. It was so much fun and so rewarding to see their smiles of achievement when they knew they nailed a take.

I came home exhausted and exhilarated. After a recharge and a very expensive Pizza, I mixed the song and will be finalizing it this morning: Day 4. It is hazy out and the weather calls for a storm, so I am a bit on edge, but will pray my way through it.

This was a fantastic experience and I will return here again. I love the people of Attawapiskat.

DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat – Posts by Artist-Educator Glenn Marais
Read Day One
Read Day Two
Read Day Four Thoughts
DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat – Posts by Artist-Educators Cathy Elliott & Shelley MacDonald
Read Days Five, Six & Seven
Read Day Eight
Watch “Walking for Peace” by the youth of Attawapiskat


DAREarts is a children’s charity that uses the arts to empower youth at-risk to become leaders. Our lead sponsors are Northbridge Insurance, Scotiabank, TD Bank Groupand the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.


7 thoughts on “Guest Post: DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat, Days Three & Four

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat, Day One | DAREarts | DARE2blog

  2. Pingback: Guest Post: DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat, Day Four Thoughts | DAREarts | DARE2blog

  3. Pingback: Guest Post: DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat, Day Two | DAREarts | DARE2blog

  4. Pingback: Guest Post: DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat, Days Five, Six & Seven | DAREarts | DARE2blog

  5. Pingback: Guest Post: DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat, Day Eight | DAREarts | DARE2blog

  6. Pingback: DAREarts Attawapiskat: Walking for Peace | DAREarts | DARE2blog

  7. Pingback: Guest Post: DAREarts Returns to Attawapiskat, Day Eight | DAREarts Blog

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