The Skeena River Métis Community Association (SRMCA) is sponsoring a handful of Métis youth to take music lessons at Sight and Sound, a local Terrace musical instrument store. The sponsorship was put into place by the SRMCA board in order to give anyone 32 years of age and younger the opportunity to take part in eight weeks of music lessons.

“There aren’t many Métis families who don’t have at least one musician in the family. Many of today’s Métis families lack musical resources for various reasons, including financial. A door needs to be opened for them to find a way to express themselves through music,” says Rosanne Forget, Director of SRMCA.

“These lessons teach discipline and to develop a passion for a skill,” says Tony deMelo, General Manager of Sight and Sound. “I think this will teach youth discipline and to work in a team environment. There’s plenty of skills that this group will walk away with after the lesson program.”

Forget says their goal is to help younger community members who may not be able to afford lessons, access these kinds of opportunities.

“It gives them an opportunity to have freedom of expression through music and I think that will really benefit them. Music is an extension of our culture. What they learn, the music they pursue, and the music genres they play will be presented to future generations.”

Additionally, the Métis community holds an annual three-day music festival, which brings in local and regional musicians. Next year will mark its 10-year anniversary. Forget hopes to see some of the younger members in the community on the roster of musicians who perform.

“In the past we have featured a few talented youth at our festivals. They bring a lot of joy to our elders; for them to see the children jigging, dancing, playing fiddle or guitar, to hear them sing from their little hearts is a blessing for many of us. It brings a lot of our musical pasts to the forefront. ”

Sight and Sound will be celebrating their 60th anniversary in October, a milestone that deMelo says is incredibly exciting. deMelo has been passionate about music for decades and wishes to share that passion with others.

“When you are able to just play a chord on a guitar or play your first drum beat and are in sync with three or four other people, that feeling of joy washes over you. This is something the younger generation needs to experience.”

Applications are due by August 30th.

More information can be found on the Skeena River MétisCommunity Association’s Facebook page.