Last fall, Yellowknife-based filmmaker Joel Maillet took on the task of documenting some of the poetry component of the Listen Up! NWT project. He visited several of the communities that composer Carmen Braden and I then visited in November for the composition component.

In Listen Up!, students write poetry based on a theme (in this case, the Four Elements), then do composition workshops to set the poetry to melodies. These melodies become the source material for a large work for youth choir and the Gryphon Trio. In the Northwest Territories, we worked with six different communities, and selected students from each community will come to Yellowknife in May to form the youth choir, conducted by Rob Kapilow.

Joel’s lovely film was premiered at the Listen Up! NWT launch concert at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre in October. Of course this was before I met any of these students, so to me they were just kids in a film at that point. It’s fun for me to watch it now, having had the experience of working with them and getting to know them a bit. But to anyone, it’s a testament to children’s innate creativity, which Listen Up! seeks to support and encourage.