Cecilia Concerts and the Halifax Public Libraries marks World Autism Awareness Day on April 1 with a sensory-accessible concert by Canada’s first Inuk professional classical singer, soprano Deantha Edmunds.
Joining the award-winning singer is Mi’kmaw Elder Dorene Bernard and pianist/host Jennifer King in a free afternoon concert of Indigenous songs and storytelling in which Edmunds will perform traditional lullabies, river songs, and songs to the moon from her heritage in both Inuktitut and English.
The program also includes classical arrangements of several Labradorian folk songs and Inuktitut versions of classical favourites, including a piece from Handel’s Messiah, which Edmunds recorded with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on the Juno-nominated album Messiah/Complex. Edmunds will also perform her composition, Song of the River.
At the same time, Mi’kmaw Elder Dorene Bernard will share a recitation in Mi ꞌ kmawi ꞌ simk of a poem by Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe, set to a nocturne from Nova Scotian composer Sandy Moore performed by King.
A part of Cecilia Concerts’ ongoing sensory-accessible concert series, each performance is designed for autistic, neurodivergent, and intellectually disabled community members of all ages and their families and seniors with age-related changes in hearing and vision that can make loud noises and bright lights uncomfortable. It is also intended for anyone with underlying conditions affecting their sensory processing and who finds traditional concert environments challenging. Registered music therapists are in attendance to help facilitate.
“There is a very positive vibe going on at these concerts, and I am so honoured to be part of this beautiful initiative within the local arts scene,” says King.
Deantha Edmunds performs in a sensory-accessible concert to mark World Autism Awareness Day at the Paul O’Regan Hall in the Halifax Central Library (5440 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax) on April 2. Visit ceciliaconcerts.ca for more information and registration.