Early Music Vancouver has announced that it will be offering free concert tickets to Indigenous people as a gesture of reconciliation.
The news came in a July 13 release that said its offer—which will include events for the 2021 Vancouver Bach Festival—makes Early Music Vancouver (EMV) "the first major music organization in Vancouver to do so".
“We want to open our doors to Indigenous peoples and welcome them into the early music scene both on- and off-stage,” Suzie LeBlanc, EMV artistic and executive director, said in the release. “We are committed to connecting more deeply to Indigenous communities through action and by removing the barriers that inhibit the sharing of our cultures.”
The initiative came from summer artist-in-residence Jonathon Adams, a two-spirit Cree-Métis baritone from Alberta who is currently based in Montreal and the Netherlands. Adams has worked and toured with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir, was a fellow of the Netherlands Bach Society last year, and has performed internationally, including a solo début at Belgium's Concertgebouw in Bruges and a performance of Bach cantatas at England's famous Snape Maltings Concert Hall.
“It is my hope to help enact lasting change through this residency,” Adams said in the bulletin, “and to help bridge the gap between EMV and Indigenous communities in the Vancouver area. I am honoured to be involved in these initiatives and the restorative, community-building work EMV is committed to.”
EMV also noted in its release that the organization "operates on and from the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations. By offering these tickets to the natural stewards of this land, EMV honours the Coast Salish peoples and the grounds from which EMV produces art."
Any Indigenous person who presents "a status card, band membership, or other identification at the will call desk" can obtain a ticket—limited to one per person—to any Vancouver event.
"This initiative is a step towards redressing the historical injustices that have led to the continued oppression of Indigenous peoples," EMV stated. "It is our goal that these actions support the Indigenous resurgence that is already taking place and help bring about a more just and equitable society that values and upholds Indigenous practices."
Founded in 1970, EMV studies, produces, and performs traditional and classical music using “historically informed performance practices”, including period-authentic musical instruments from the time of the chosen compositions. It presents up to 50 concerts per year, and its summer Vancouver Bach Festival is in its sixth year.