Brass Band Workshop | Tittulausijattet Illinniatitsi Katigenningit is a pilot project focusing on the Labrador Inuit Brass Band tradition.

For the Inuit Moravian brass bands on the coast of Labrador, challenges have been amplified and have put the bands (which have served the community for nearly 250 years) at risk of dissolving and ceasing to exist. The Brass Band Workshop/Tittulausijattet Ilinniatitsi Katigenningit aim is to not only to help cultivate an interest and performance expertise in the brass band literature but to equip these vital community ensembles with the tools required to become fully self-sufficient and sustainable for decades to come. With the generous support of the International Grenfell Association, the Brass Band Workshop implemented a strategy that ensures a more stable future for these groups that so vitally serve the Inuit people on the North Coast of Labrador.

The project arrives on the tenth anniversary of the International Grenfell Association’s investment in Tittulautet Nunatsiavuttini | Nunatsiavut Brass Band Workshop.

The initial goal of the 2013-2015 brass band workshops was to reinforce a passion for a tradition that is believed to be held strongly among the three targeted communities of Hopedale, Makkovik, and Nain. This proved to ultimately be true, as they were able to build three successful bands with members of all ages and experience levels. This culminated in an international trip to the Unity Festival in Herrnhut, Germany. This not only sparked joy and enthusiasm for their members on the coast but also continues to serve as the benchmark of what the Moravian brass tradition can be at its absolute best. The Inuit Moravian Band has helped to inspire international communities around the world. From the United States to South Africa, their bands proved to be the embodiment of community and collaboration.

The immediate objectives of the current project are to provide timely support to anyone looking to work in the Labrador Inuit Brass Band tradition and to work with players to develop a sustainable path towards Inuit-directed stewardship of the tradition.

This project is intended to create a sustainable and self-sustaining organization that will be able to train, support, and enrich the Moravian Inuit Brass Band for years to come. With the lessons learned and information gained over the years of their previous projects, the aim is to transfer the operations of this project to a community lead board and assume advisory positions as needed.

Brass Band Workshop | Tittulausijattet Illinniatitsi Katigenningit was delivered by Terry Howlett, Dr. Stephen Ivany and Dr. Mark David Turner. During their project, they hoped to conduct in-person workshops as well as using this time on the coast to begin investigations into the needs and challenges the bands were facing in each community.

Identifying and training local mentors will help foster the skills required to keep this program running successfully when this three-year project is completed. Each year the community mentors will receive more training to undertake more responsibilities with the final goal of having these community members be able to run all day-to-day functions of the brass bands. The identification and relationship building with non-local allies will help to create a strong support network to further benefit the local programs.

While the original plan was for Howlett, Ivany and Turner to visit Nain, Hopedale and Makkovik this past August, weather prevented them from traveling to Makkovik. The time in Nain and Hopedale was well spent however, and the first steps were taken towards developing a representative organization called Brass Band Workshop | Tittulausijattet Illinniatitsi Katigenningit which is being incorporated this fall. The aim is to transfer the operations of this project to a community leading board and assume advisory positions as needed (ultimately to place the power and creative direction of the Brass Band tradition firmly back in the control of members of the Inuit coastal communities).

With support from the IGA, they are currently re-designing their website which will serve as a landing spot for band members where they can find resources pertaining to the brass band, access to sheet music, recordings, and other learning resources. It will also serves as a landing page for people interested in learning more about and supporting this unique tradition.

The IGA is very pleased to have been able to support this very worthwhile initiative!