This month, young students in Iqaluit showed their schools and community the joy of service, and the popular Hitzmakers now offers free internet lessons for aspiring singers.
Leaders’ club recognized
Thirty-three young students were recognized in December for their dedication to their school.
Joamie School principal Sonja Lonsdale says the youth are all part of a school club for Grade 5 students called Piqatigiit.
The students are interested in serving the school as leaders, she said.
“This can look different for each member, but includes – but is not limited to – helping set up for events, helping to monitor the playground, helping younger students get dressed, delivering food for the breakfast program, serving the community by going to the elder’s centre or food centre, etc.,” said Lonsdale.
“(Piqatigiit) meets each week and runs from October to December. Students were given a thank you gift for their hard work and service to the school community.”
A Christmas gift of literacy
The students at Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik were busy in the days leading up to Christmas, offering their services to raise the bar in Christmas giving.
“As part of our mission to provide a service during the Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik Pijitsirniq Christmas, Grade 6 students under the direction of teacher Maggie McAdams decorated for the Commissioner of Nunavut, Hon. Nellie Kusugak,” said principal Brian Manning.
Meanwhile, Natasha Vallee’s Grade 6 class prepared cards and stockings and presented them to Qikiqtani General Hospital, the Elders’ Centre, the Boarding Home, as well as Iqaluit’s women’s and men’s shelters.
Manning says Aqsarniit also received a gift.
Helen Roos of the Ilinniapaa Skills and Development Centre offered “two boxes of books of various reading levels that were left at her learning centre from Frontier College and wrapping paper with bows from a fundraiser last year,” said Manning.
Teacher Kelli McLarty’s class received the books.
“With this, the students got a chance to create their own Secret Santa Bag to give a gift of literacy and provide a service. Some students will be gifting their siblings, parents, family friends and other students.”
The students selected one book for their own personal library.
“They were also able to use the donation in the classroom to enhance the classroom library,” said Manning.
Hitzmakerz takes program to the internet
Hitmakerz, a program which has previously travelled to several communities with its three-day music-making workshops for Inuit youth, has landed on the internet.
The community workshops were offered by cultural director and Juno-nominated Sanikiluaq singer Kelly Fraser and Iqaluit-based creative director Thor Simonsen, and were created to inspire, give hope, teach technical skills and help Nunavummiut create viable careers in the arts.
Part of the Hitmakerz project Ajungi, a set of on-line videos covers topics including singing theory, physiology, stretches, exercises, and vocal hygiene techniques, explained Simonsen. The videos come with workbooks to help students develop their singing at home and at their own pace.
“Customized, freely available singing lessons is the next step in helping us find and develop talented artists in Nunavut,” said Simonsen.
“I really hope aspiring singers will watch the videos and learn what they want to learn.”
In communities where internet is too slow to watch YouTube videos, Hitmakerz will send a free copy of the course on DVD, as well as printouts of the workbook materials.
The video lessons are taught by Hitmakerz singing coach Myriam Sevigny, who has worked with Nunavut artists such as Fraser, Aasiva, and Angela Amarualik.