Concert spotlights Canadian writer/performer Pauline Johnson

By Communications Staff
March 22, 2013

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Canadian writer and performer Pauline Johnson was a trailblazer. In honour of her accomplishments and marking 100 years since her death in March 1913, Western’s Les Choristes and director Jennifer Moir are performing a concert of Johnson’s poetry set to music by three young Canadian composers.

The free concert will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, March 22 at the Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College.

“Pauline was really a household name and a celebrity in her time,” said Karen Dearlove, curator of Chiefswood National Heritage Site. “This was significant, given where she was from and that she was a woman.”

Johnson was born in 1861, the youngest child of the Six Nations chief George Johnson, and his British-born wife. “She grew up in a household where she learned a lot about both sides of her heritage,” Dearlove said. “Her father’s position, as chief and government interpreter, brought a lot of people together and Pauline incorporated that in her own work.”

Johnson is best known for her poetry celebrating her aboriginal heritage, such as The Song My Paddle Sings.

Moir commissioned Rory Magill and Matthew Emery to set The Song My Paddle Sings to music. The rest of Johnson’s poems on the program were set by Jeff Smallman, and written when he was composer-in-residence for the choir several years ago.























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