All week we here at Classic 107 have been highlighting performers who have been taking part in the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival. 

One of the remarkable and informative presentations that has been happening as part of the Agassiz Festival is a production called Sounding Thunder: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow.  

A First World War sniper, war hero and an Indigenous political activist Francis Pegahmagabow stood as a leader to his people and led the fight for First Nations self-determination; particularly in the Wasauksing First Nation which is in Southern Ontario on Parry Island 

There have been semi-private performances of Sounding Thunder. Earlier this week, on Tuesday there was a performance for Indigenous Veterans and their families, and on Wednesday Sounding Thunder was performed for Manitoba High School Students. 

Tomorow night At Jubilee Place Concert Hall at 7:30, Winnipeg audiences will have an opportunity to see this fantastic production that was co-created by multi award winning Ojibwe Author Armand Garnet Ruffo and Juno Nominated composer Timothy Corlis. 

This production makes use of narrators, video, small chamber orchestra and an Indigenous singer and drummer.  

Jodi Contin Baker is the Indigenous drummer and singer for Sounding Thunder. She describes how the project came together, “Mr. James Campbell...who is the Artistic Director for The Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound...knows lots of people...he thought about it [the project] and picked Tim Corlis...and Tim was able to connect with Armand [Garnet] and they collaborated with each other...and then reached out to Brian [McInnes]...and then things started working from there.” 

This multi-faceted project makes use of some of the finest musicians in Canada, to help tell Francis Pegahmagabow’s story. Dr. Brian McInnes is Pegahmagabow’s Great-Grandson. He is also a highly respected historian and writer. As he says of the project, "We are joined by one of the most extraordinary cast of is just amazing!” 

McInnes is also the author of the book Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow. This is the place where most of the source material for the show comes from. As he says of his book “It was fundamentally based on 11 stories that two of his surviving children told me back in the 90s...they were recorded on tapes and I lost those tapes for about a decade, and then found them one day and re-listened to them...and I was like ‘wow, I have to do something with these.’ So, I translated and transcribed those stories and then realized people will not just understand these unless I write some supporting details to frame them.” 

The combination of McInnnes’s source material, Armand Garnet Ruffo’s libretto, Tim Corlis’ fantastic music and Jodi Contin Baker’s singing and drumming make for a production that is highly entertaining, but also informative and thought provoking. This is a production that needs to be seen. 

Sounding Thunder: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow takes place tomorrow night At Jubilee Place Concert Hall at 7:30. 

For more details visit The Agassiz Festival Website.   

For more information on Francis Pegahmagabow and his life and the show click here