Professional musician begins pilot project in Stanley Mission

By Derek Cornet
January 7, 2019 - 12:08pm

Residents of Stanley Mission will have a unique opportunity this month to learn from a professional musician who will be staying in the community.

Eliza Doyle arrived in Stanley Mission last week and will be an artist-in-residence until the end of January thanks to a pilot project by the Canada Council for the Arts and Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange. In the last few days, Doyle toured the community, met residents and plans to have open talent night Jan. 11 at the local hall. The event will serve as a chance for Doyle to introduce herself, but also gain an insight about what people want her to do while she is there.

“There is already quite a bit of musicians there, and I want to see what they want and where they think the program can go,” Doyle said. “It’s only going on for a month, but if it looks like there’s a need there, we can figure out how to keep it going a little bit longer.”

Before travelling to Stanley Mission, Doyle put a call out for instruments through various media organizations and the public responded well. Residents will have access to 35 acoustic guitars, several electric basses, keyboards, a piano and more. Doyle hopes she’s able to engage young people during her stay, as well as hold events such as jam nights and writing workshops.

Doyle first began playing the banjo in 2003 and, since then she’s performed in groups and as a solo artist. Most recently she was a member in the Juno award-winning band The Dead South, which she has toured with in multiple countries. Music has such an impact on her life, Doyle said she didn't know where she’d be without it.

“If you’re not exposed to it, don’t have a teacher or never thought about it, then you don’t know it’s even an option,” she said. “It’s so helpful in expressing yourself and bringing people together. I think it makes the world a better place. It’s my hope I can reach as many people as possible.”

Stanley Mission’s Keethanow Elementary School Principal Darryl Flett invited Doyle to the community as he wanted to give students a new opportunity. With 600 students from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12, he noted there should be enough interest for Doyle to complete the project. Flett added Doyle also has a Bachelor of Education degree, so she should have a good grasp of teaching music to others.

“It just gives a different opportunity for students,” he said. “It’s a way of creating a positive self-esteem too, and a way of expressing themselves through music.”


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