Submitted by Audrey Pearson:
The actual live performance was about the third time the performers had done the show. There was a dress rehearsal on Friday night for friends and family. (No I wasn't there. I didn't hear about it in time.) Since CBC was taping it, they taped the live show, but also needed close-ups, additional tape etc. This may not be such a big deal for our hero, but it was for the Haida dancers. They had to precisely time their dances, not look at the audience and do exactly the same thing each time. These are not things they are used to do doing. Everyone did fabulously though. I was sitting beside the people who own the Eagle Transformation Mask that was used in that dance. They live in San Francisco, so the mask was crated up, express shipped across the border, and then will be shipped back again. I think someone owns the salmon mask too. These are the kind of details that went into planning the concert. I'll be really interested in what CBC shows in the final version. The concert was three hours, the programme is two.
Bruce stayed through all the dress rehearsals, watching everything intently. Many of the songs that were sung are original compositions by Robert or Terri-Lynn. I'd bet money on a song coming out of all of this for Bruce.
Bruce played Northwest Passage, accompanied by some of the men from the Bach Choir. It was apparently Bill Reid's favourite song. His guitar wasn't plugged in, so it was a bit flat (not as in off key, but in missing the range of sounds he normally has). I bet he had his amps for the TV version. He played six songs in his set. Bruce said he was honoured to participate.
Stolen Land on the drum blew many of the Haidas away. Bruce commented before Waiting For A Miracle that he'd been many places with hope, including Haida Gwaii.
It was also a bit weird from a cultural point of view because you are supposed to stand during sacred songs. I looked back at the chiefs and they weren't standing, so I stayed put. Some people stood during Bill Reid's Spirit Song, which his granddaughter Nika sang. She did great too, although she was freaking out beforehand. There were also no prayers before the feast. Again, it's a living tradition. But I'm very sure there were great discussions about all these details. It's a tremendous show of confidence of the Haida Nation that they are prepared to be so public with who they are.
It was definitely old home week for me. I had a great time visiting with everyone. I wound up at the champagne reception before the concert visiting with the politicians and the "important people." At the feast, I was roaming around visiting with everyone. Bruce just sat at his table. I did talk with him briefly, and with Bernie. Sorry, no gossip or earthshaking news.
It was very strange for me to see my world in full public view, and going to be broadcast across the entire country. I'm so happy everyone will have a chance to see what's happening here, including the beauty and complexity of Haida culture. And how both traditions, western and Haida, are all happily mangled up together. I'm applying for a faculty position in a couple of months. Maybe it's time for my happily mangled-up world to extend to forestry too. If anyone can push the envelope, it's the Haida Nation. Something began last Saturday. I don't exactly know what it is yet, but something has.
Additional information from Rob Caldwell.
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