- 2023 Louis Riel Day
Amy Wuttunee Eustergerling
Amy grew up in Battleford, Saskatchewan - the traditional territory of her Cree ancestors. She began playing the piano at an early age. As a teenager, Amy and her brother Winston played for square dances after school every Friday afternoon. She was also a member of the Wuttunee Orchestra that travelled around the Battleford area playing for dances.Amy has been active in the Vancouver music scene for many years. In the 60’s and 70’s, she was a member of the Dairyland Glee Club in Burnaby, performing weekly at seniors’ homes. She was a long-standing member of a drama group in Port Moody, and was involved in all facets of production. She played piano at Port Moody’s Golden Spike Day productions. She was a member of the Fraser Valley songwriters group in 1984/85 and produced the album Spirit Walker. She recently produced another album Land of the Eagles, a compilation of traditional and original songs.
In the early 1980’s, she began formal musical training and received her certificate from the Toronto Conservatory of Music in 1986. She later worked at the Native Education Centre and was responsible for the monthly student newspaper. In 1990, she received her Certificate of Music Therapy from Capilano College in North Vancouver.
In 1992, she became involved with the Vancouver City Farmer group, which encouraged use of composting for city gardens. She became an advocate for worm composting and went on to teach it in the Greater Victoria School District. While learning about composting, she realized she was working with the element of earth, the living soil, and how the elements of fire (sun), water and air combine for photosynthesis to take place. They need to work together in harmony and balance for the process of photosynthesis to take place in a good way. This has been the foundation for her teachings ever since. Amy lives in Surrey and is the proud grandparent of two little girls.
JJ Lavallee was born and raised in the small town of St. Ambroise, Manitoba. Part of a large Métis family that includes many accomplished musicians, JJ started playing music and singing at a young age. At the age of 16, his Uncles took JJ under their wing and introduced him to the music industry, playing Métis festivals, family gatherings, and a variety of concerts. After branching off from his family, JJ has become an accomplished musician in his own right, releasing 3 CDs, capturing nominations and winning an APCMA award for best fiddle album in 2006, and opening up for country music stars like Charlie Major, Johnny Reid, Marty Stewart, Jesse Ferrell, and Shane Yellowbird. As well as being a passionate entertainer, JJ is also a gifted songwriter and composer, with many of his original songs and fiddle compositions included on his 3 CDs.
Kathleen Nisbet is a fiddle player and singer from Vancouver, BC Canada. Classically trained at the Vancouver Academy of Music, She returned to her Métis roots, pursuing more traditional fiddle music. Since then she has worked with artists in a variety of genres. A collaborator and regular accompanist with Compaigni v'ni dansi Métis traditional dance, she also has composed music for independent modern dance. Recent theatre credits include A Christmas Carol with Pacific Theatre and Salmon Row with Mortal Coil. Kathleen is an active member of Vancouver's thriving bluegrass and folk scene, performing and touring regularly with her band Viper Central with whom she has recorded three albums. She has toured with Vancouver bands, The Fugitives and CR Avery and has made guest appearances with Hedley, Fred Eaglesmith, The Belle Game, and The Vicious Cycles to name a few. She works regularly as a studio musician and has numerous studio recording credits. She is a teacher at Saint James Music Academy where Downtown Eastside kids are provided free music lessons.
Born in Saskatchewan, raised in a musical family. Moved to B.C. in 1965.
Began entering Old Time Fiddle Contests in 1983. Competed in contests in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. During this time was introduced to métis style fiddling. Twice, won B.C. Old Time Fiddle Provincial Championship. Taught beginner fiddle class at the 108 Mile Bluegrass Camp. Played backup guitar for well known Canadian fiddle artists for their Guest Show Performances; Graham Townsend, Calvin Vollrath, John Arcand, Patti Lamoreux, Ivan Hicks, Al Cherney, Peter Dawson. Played guitar on two recordings with the late Frankie Rogers. Guitar instructor at Fiddle Camps in Saskatchewan and B.C.
Have been playing at Métis events for the past four years.
Ron Gerard is a master fiddler, with a penchant for fiddle tunes that cross cultures. His knowledge of the traditional tunes includes the genres of Métis, Scottish, Irish, Cajun and Nashville. Ron grew up playing fiddle in a musical family and when Elvis came along he also picked up the guitar. There was no turning back. Ron has traveled with his guitar and doubled on fiddle, playing with prominent performers for most of his career.