Muskrat Dam’s Roy Thunder enjoyed the music at the First Nations Day Gospel Concert and Let the Healing Waters Flow-2 Conference.
“We had a good collection of talent from Thunder Bay,” said Thunder, one of the event organizers. “The Kakepetum brothers were there again to provide songs and to help out with the concert. Bernard Mekanak provided music as well as the sound equipment that we used throughout the evening.”
In addition to the Thunder Bay talent, Roy Fiddler and his son Gabe Fiddler travelled down from Muskrat Dam to perform in the concert.
“We really appreciated it,” Thunder said. “That was a long trip but it was really nice to have them come and share their talents.”
Thunder said the open mike also attracted a variety of local talent to the stage.
“I had a lot of grateful comments about the evening concert,” Thunder said. “We had a really good turnout.”
The concert was held on June 21 at the Victoria Inn’s Embassy Room, which holds about 500 people.
“We had people from Saskatchewan, we had people from Manitoba,” Thunder said, noting the Embassy Room was about 75 per cent full. “All in all, we had a successful event. I just want to say thank you to the sponsors and to the people who came in from different areas to help support the event.”
Abe Kakepetum enjoyed performing at the concert.
“The people were enjoying it — there were a lot of people there,” Kakepetum said. “There seems to be a good response when we have a gospel concert.”
The Kakepetum brothers began playing gospel music in the 1970s after first taking up rock music in the 1960s.
“The (rock) lifestyle was not good for us because of the addictions,” Kakepetum said, noting they used to play rock music in the bars. “To stay away from it (addictions) and to keep on playing music, we turned to gospel music. We started going to church at the same time.”
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs and Regional Chief Stan Beardy also greeted concert attendees at the concert.
Thunder said the conference portion of the event, held during the afternoon, was a success.
“In the afternoon we provided information about residential school,” Thunder said. “We had counsellors from Reverend Tommy Beardy Family Treatment Centre provide pamphlets and information about the treatment centre. As well, they did a video presentation on the treatment centre.”
Thunder is looking forward to a bigger event next year.
“We would like to concentrate on bringing some talent from other provinces,” Thunder said.
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