Music of Saskatchewan
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Music of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is one of the Prairie Provinces of Canada. Music in the province includes a variety of genres including Indigenous music, folk, country, jazz, and classical traditions.


In the early days of settlement, the musical landscape of the province was defined by military and police bands, church choirs, immigrant teachers, and many travelling groups of artists who travelled by rail across the continent.[1]

Cultural centres


Regina was incorporated in 1883, and became the provincial capital in 1905. Early in its history, the city boasted numerous bands, including a brass band, Musical and Dramatic Society[2]:134 and a number of church choirs.[3][4]

Frank L. Laubach, a professional Scottish musician arrived in Regina in 1904, and was a prominent figure for eighteen years. During that time, he founded the Regina Philharmonic Society (1904), the Regina Orchestral Society (1908), the Regina Operatic Society (1909) and the province-wide Saskatchewan Music Festival (1908, with F. W. Chisholm).[4]

After Laubach's retirement in 1922, three choral and orchestra society groups exist: Regina Symphony Orchestra, Regina Male Voice Choir and Regina Choral Society. Only two years later, the three societies again merged to form the Regina Philharmonic Association. The Regina Symphony Orchestra later departed from that association, in 1926.[4]

Musicians from Regina include Edith Fowke, Helen Dahlstrom, Nina Dempsey, Norman Farrow, Barbara Franklin, Colin James, Audrey Johannesen, Muriel Kerr, Gary Kosloski, Peter Clements, June Kowalchuk, Owen Underhill, Gaelyne Gabora, Jack Semple, Rob Bryanton, Val Halla,[5] Ron Scott, Brett Dolter, Beth Curry, Joel Fuller, Tyler Gilbert, John Dick, Dagan Harding (formerly of Despistado and Geronimo),[6] Kenny Shields of Streetheart,[7][8] and Paul Sloman from A Horse Called Horse.[9]

Bands from Regina include The Dead South, Birds are Dinosaurs, Def 3, E Tea, Ghosts of Modern Man, Intergalactic Virgin, Into Eternity, LazerBlade, Library Voices, Pnice, Rah Rah, Tinsel Trees, and The War Doves.

Dj's and Electronic Music Artists Neon Tetra, Limbo, Guidewire, Jeff Galaxy, Short Fat Steve and Hardtoe, DIG.IT.ALL,[10] Mike Trues, Submit, Pulsewidth, Cueball, DR. J, Jadybug, Square Sound Round Body, and A Horse Called Horse.[9]

William Earl Brown founded the Soundaround label starting in the 1960s which featured many of the local country and ethnic bands recording in his basement studio.[11] Mel West & The Meteors, and The Canadian Downbeats had a few singles on the Soundaround label, later picked up Canada-wide via Stan Klees' "Red Leaf" label. Mel West & The Meteors would chart Canada wide with their tracks "Sad & Blue" and "Seventh Saint".[12] Earl had later success with the Grand Coulee Old Tyme Jug Band, and sold a number of albums via TV infommercials in the 1980s.[13]

Most current bands/artists produce CD's by themselves or with the aid of the Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association (SaskMusic). But an increasing number of artists have moved to posting their music on websites such as Myspace.


The city of Saskatoon was founded in 1882 and incorporated in 1903. During that time, the city's population grew swiftly. In the early 20th century, operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan, vaudeville and minstrel shows were among the most common forms of musical performance.[14] Saskatoon's first concert was held on December 1, 1884 by the Pioneer Society. It featured solos, duets, choruses, readings, and recitations.[15]

The Saskatoon Philharmonic Society was founded in 1908,[2]: and won a prize at the first Saskatchewan Music Festival in 1909. The number of professional groups continued to grow. The Saskatoon Oratorio Society was founded in 1913,[16] performing Handel's Messiah with nearly 200 singers at Third Avenue Methodist Church in December 1913.[17] The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra formed under that name in 1931, after several earlier attempts to form an orchestra had occurred.[18][19]

With the Great Depression in the early 1930s the musical community suffered. However, private teacher Lyell Gustin and his students presented twenty concerts a year in Saskatoon during the thirties, as well as teaching in surrounding areas. The Western Board of Music was organized in 1936, lead by Arthur Collingwood, Chair of Music at the University of Saskatchewan. The music festival movement continued to expand, and in 1936 the Music Teachers' Association was established.[3]

The Celebrity Concert Series, held by the Saskatoon Kinsmen Club, began, in 1944, to introduce international celebrities every year for twenty-six years.[14] Other groups include the Saskatoon Lyric Theatre Society (active 1955), the Saskatoon Opera Association (founded 1978), and the Prairie Opera Inc. (founded 1986). At the University of Saskatchewan, the student chorus the Greystone Singers was founded in 1959. Alumni of the Greystone Singers founded the Saskatoon Chamber Singers in 1977.[14]

Musicians from Saskatoon include Joni Mitchell, Neil Chotem, Jen Lane,[20][21]John Antoniuk,[20]Brenton Price Dutton,[22]Susan Pesklevits Jacks,[23]Lorraine McAllister Richards,[24]Irene Bubniuk,[25]Brenda Baker,[26]Chris Lindgren,[27][28]Paddy Tutty,[29]Kyle Riabko,[30]David Swan,[31]Lesia Zubrack Romanoff,[32][33]Kim Brandt, Mike Ferbey (of the Rhythm Pals)[34][35] and Walter Babiak.[36]

Bands from Saskatoon include Loop Bias, This Autumn Low, One Bad Son, and Wide Mouth Mason.

In 2004, Theresa Sokyrka, born in Moose Jaw and since moved to Saskatoon, became first runner-up in the second season of Canadian Idol with her jazz and blues-influenced musicianship. Lionel Richie, appearing on one episode, said that Sokyrka had inside her the soul of an old black woman.[37]

Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw is home to the Moose Jaw Band and Choral Festival, which has been held every year since 1950.[38][39] The city co-hosted the Juno Awards of 2013.[40] Connect-22, billed as Saskatchewan's 22nd and Final Electronic & Tribal Music Festival is scheduled for Besant Campground near Moose Jaw in 2017.[41]

Bands from Saskatchewan


External links


  1. ^ Saskatchewan, Cory Toth - Encyclopedia Of. "The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan | Details". Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b Keillor, Elaine (2006). Music in Canada : capturing landscape and diversity. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 9780773530126. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ a b Swales, Robin. "Music". The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Brandhagen, William L. (2006). "Music in Regina". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "Val Halla Online".
  6. ^ Adams, Gregory (March 2, 2015). "Dagan Harding 'Best Times' (album stream)". Exclaim.
  7. ^ "Kenny Shields". Kenny Shieids and Streetheart. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Shields and Streetheart continue to answer the call of their fans". Regina Leader-Post. August 20, 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ a b "A Night View of Prague". A Horse Called Horse. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "DIG.IT.ALL". Soundcloud.
  11. ^ "William Earl Brown". Find-A-Grave. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "Mel West & The Meteors Rock & Roll from Regina, Saskatchewan". Super Oldies. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ "Grand Coulee Old Tyme Jug Band". Sunshine Your Music Your Heritage. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ a b c Mills, Isabelle M.; Brandhagen, William L. (2006). "Music in Saskatoon". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ Brandhagen, William L. "Music in Saskatoon". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved .
  16. ^ Seiler, Robert M.; Seiler, Tamara P. (2013). Reel time : movie exhibitors and movie audiences in prairie Canada, 1896 to 1986. Edmonton: AU Press. p. 63. ISBN 9781926836997.
  17. ^ "Choirs - Saskatoon Oratorio Society". Saskatoon Public Library. Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ James, Kevin; Elvin, Florrie V.; Gillis, Glen (2006). "Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ "History of the SSO". Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Saskatoon's Jen Lane & John Antoniuk on Tour". Grateful Web. 07/10/2015. Retrieved 2016. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. ^ "Jen Lane Music".
  22. ^ Vachon, Jean-Pascal (2006). "Brenton Price Dutton". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ "Susan Jacks". All Music. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ "Lorraine McAllister". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2006. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "Irena BUBNIUK Obituary". National Post. August 9, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ Belford, Richard. "Baker, Brenda (1959-)". The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ Manning, Edna (May 15, 2013). "Harpist shares love of music, storytelling". The Star Phoenix. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ "Chris Lindgren".
  29. ^ Gregory, David (2006). "Patricia Lorraine Tutty". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016.
  30. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (2008-05-14). "An Awakening star is born: Kyle Riabko goes from Saskatchewan open mike jams to Broadway stage - and he's just 20". Toronto Star. E1. Retrieved 2016.
  31. ^ "David Swan". Naxos Records. Retrieved 2016.
  32. ^ Church, Sarah (2006). "Lesia Zubrack". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016.
  33. ^ "Lesia Romanoff". PA Now (Prince Albert). July 3, 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  34. ^ "The Rhythm Pals". The Canadian Country Music Association. Retrieved 2016.
  35. ^ "The Rhythm Pals". BC Radio History. Retrieved 2016.
  36. ^ Berke, John (2006). "Walter Babiak". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016.
  37. ^ "Theresa Sokyrka". Corporate Entertainers. Retrieved 2016.
  38. ^ Crann, Justin (May 13, 2014). "Highland Festival hits 65th year". Moose Jaw Times-Herald. Retrieved 2016.
  39. ^ "About the Moose Jaw Band and Choral Festival". Moose Jaw Band and Choral Festival. Retrieved 2016.
  40. ^ Lawrence, Rebecca (14 September 2011). "Juno awards coming to Moose Jaw and Regina". The Moose Jaw Times Herald. Retrieved 2012.
  41. ^ a b "About". Connect. Retrieved 2016.
  42. ^ "Music-related festivals popular", Regina Leader-Post, 2002-07-16, p. B7.
  43. ^ Sharpe, Krista (July 16, 2016). "The Craven Country Jamboree by the numbers". Global News. Retrieved 2016.
  44. ^ Sharpe, Krista (October 27, 2016). "Same party different name: Craven Country Jamboree rebrands". Global News. Retrieved 2016.
  45. ^ "SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival : Archives". Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  46. ^ "Our Roots". Ness Creek Music Festival. Retrieved 2016.
  47. ^
  48. ^ "The Thirteenth Annual". Gateway Festival. Retrieved 2016.
  49. ^ "Festival Info, The History". All Folk'd Up Music Festival. Retrieved 2016.
  50. ^ "About Grilledcheesapolooza". Grilledcheesapolooza. Retrieved 2016.
  51. ^ Morin, Chris (May 31, 2012). "MazzFest Returns to Saskatoon". Ominocity. Retrieved 2016.
  52. ^ Murphy, Sarah (March 22, 2016). "MoSo Fest Gets Buffy Sainte-Marie, Suuns, Shotgun Jimmie for 2016". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2016.
  53. ^ Beatty, Gregory (May 14, 2015). "Noise Fest". Prairie Dob. Retrieved 2016.
  54. ^ "Phantasm Festival". Retrieved 2016.

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