A Requiem for a Glacier comes to Invermere

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A Requiem for a Glacier slides into Invermere from June 25 to 30. It will be kicking off its opening reception on June 25 at 7 p.m. with artist Paul Walde giving his remarks following the screening at 8 p.m.

“I wanted to draw attention to the fact that these are endangered wild spaces… Declaring it dead in some ways, prematurely, would galvanise people to do something about it,” said Paul Walde artist and composer in a recent media release.

Free for all to take in and marvel at, A Requiem for a Glacier will play on a big screen out of the Columbia Valley Centre in a 40-minute loop. The requiem will be open to the public from 3 to 8 p.m. from June 26 to 30, except on Tuesday, June 28 when the exhibit will be closed to accommodate David Thompson’s graduating students.

A Requiem for a Glacier is part of Wildsight’s Fire and Ice program which will kick off on June 18 with a two-part book club running out of Invermere Public Library. The concept for Fire and Ice ignited from a program Wildsight Branch Manager Karen Barkley worked on with the Resilience Institute in Canmore.

“The program focuses on the 2 major elements of climate change in this area – wildfires and melting glaciers – and how those will impact our lives, wildlife, and our landscapes,” says Barkley. “Wildsight has been working on climate change impacts and solutions for many years, but this program brings an overall focus in all our events.”

This aural odyssey was both performed and filmed in 2013 on Farnham Glacier with many layers to it to reveal the impacts of climate change by converting temperature readings in the area from the years 1969 to 2010 into musical notation. All who stop by to marvel at this musical masterpiece will also take in a beautiful backdrop. The majesty of the mountains aims to remind the masses of our need to protect natural spaces for animals, forests, and ecological diversity. In response to a proposed resort development in the beautiful Jumbo Valley and the 700 square kilometres around it, the Requiem for a Glacier was formed and performed on Farnham Glacier by the Requiem Volunteer Orchestra and Chorus.

In early 2020, with support from both the provincial and federal government declared this area of the Qat’muk Indigenous Peoples a protected land. Walde’s sound and video performance is both a passionate and resonating musical expression that depicts melting glaciers worldwide. This requiem draws attention to the local Purcell mountains and the struggle that lasted decades to ensure: Jumbo Valley would remain safe and free from future development.

Walde’s musical lament highlighting the impacts of climate change was conducted by Ajtony Csaba of the University of Victoria Symphony with Veronika Hajdu as the soloist while the orchestra itself was made up of both amateur and professional musicians across the west and east Kootenays. It was a private profession of love performance for the glacier, as it was only the performers and the production crew. A Requiem for a Glacier is just the tip of the iceberg for Wildsight’s Fire and Ice program that is underway and will run until Nov. 20, ending with their annual fundraiser the Wild and Scenic Film Festival.

Those interested can also take a hike to Farnham Glacier in August where the requiem was performed. “This hike is an important part of our program as this was the site for the recording of Requiem for a Glacier. This hike will also give participants a chance to hike with glacier expert Caroline Aubry-Wake,” says Barkley.

“Our overall goal and hope of this program is to bring awareness to the community of the climate issues we are facing, education is the first step in encouraging people to take action. We all need to act faster to mitigate climate impacts, not only in our own behaviour, but more importantly pushing and supporting governments to make the needed regulation changes to protect our futures.”

For more information on the Fire & Ice program as well other events visit wildsight.ca.

Chadd Cawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer

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