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Environmental Sound Creation Workshop At The Creation Centre – May 21st – May 31st

Reit Mellink and Dennis Van Tillberg, artists from Holland co lead a creation workshop for Debajehmujig staff animators in soundscape and audio track creation and production for live performance. Dennis is a composer, using recorded environmental sound loops, created instruments that mimic sounds in the natural environment, wind harps, steel drums, bells, string instruments, drums, flutes, pipes and more.  Reit Mellink is well known for her site specific work with the Peer Group in Holland, the Oerel Festival in Tershcelling and multi disciplinary and storytelling festivals in Holland. She is an accomplished actor and Director working with artists developing site specific multi- disciplinary performance work.  The workshop began with an exploration of sounds found within our environment at the Centre. We moved through the Centre, tapping, pinging, vocalizing, clapping, stomping…making sounds and associating them with emotions,  moods and reflections. By the end of the first phase of the workshop, we came together in the studio with our new found object/instruments and created a symphony.

We took our explorations further afield at High Falls and in Manitowaning Bay. We listened fully, then returned to the studio and used everything we could find to re- create our favorite sounds. We put the sounds together and recorded magical, eerie, jovial passages of soundscape. Everyone was innovative in their re-creations and together the final pieces were a surprising delight to all of the new composers.

The second phase of the workshop started with a favorite resource acquisition activity – exploring the dumps of Manitoulin for the materials to make instruments. Propane tanks, steel pipes, Christmas cookie tins, pvc pipes, bells, bicycle wheels, umbrellas, washed and snatched from their demise at the dump, proudly assembled in the parking lot early Monday morning. For two days the production shop opened for the transformation of our found objects. They were tuned and prepared to support the telling of stories with original sound. Our final homework assignment was to choose a story to tell.

The workshop culminated in a beautiful intimate performance at Richard Lathwell’s farm in Sheguiandah. A reformed quarry on the land served as an ideal environmental sound bowl for the speakers, wind harps and recording equipment. A small local audience of friends, colleagues and family members were treated to a hot picnic, a bon fire and an evening of story telling.

Joe Osawabine, Bruce Naokwegijig, Elsiha Sidlar, Jessica Wilde Peltier, Josh Peltier, Jason Manitowabi, Sarina Merling and Joahnna Berti each took a turn telling their story while the rest of the ensemble provided a live improvised sound scape for each of the pieces. The environment echoed with the sounds of our new instruments on a beautiful warm early summer evening as the light turned golden and the sun began to set. Reit and Dennis opened a new world of sound creation at Debajehmujig and we have been so fortunate to be guided into their process.