Napi and the Rock

Napi and the Rock


Join us for a free 30-minute online concert

Discover the traditional Blackfoot story of Napi and the Rock in a new virtual performance combining music and drama. This special collaboration with Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society features music by Cris Derksen and Sonny-Ray Day Rider performed by Calgary Phil musicians, combined with engaging storytelling and set design.

Artist Bios

Juno-nominated Cris Derksen is an internationally respected Indigenous cellist and composer. In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — gets labelled and slotted into simple categories, Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta, she comes from a line of chiefs from North Tallcree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. Derksen braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music. As a performer, Derksen has appeared nationally and internationally as a soloist and in collaboration with some of Canada’s finest, including Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte Marie, Naomi Klein, and Leanne Simpson, to name a few. Recent concert destinations include Hong Kong, Australia, Mongolia, Sweden, and a whole lot of Canada: the place Derksen refers to as home.

Derksen’s 2021 commissions include pieces for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Ottawa’s Chamberfest, the City of Toronto, Edmonton New Music, the Edmonton Symphony with support from the National Arts Centre, Vancouver’s Blueridge Chamber Festival, Vancouver Transform Cabaret, and a four-part docuseries for the Knowledge Network.  A new album of Cris Derksen’s works will be released in 2022.

Sonny-Ray Day Rider (B.A., Music) is a Blackfoot composer, pianist, from the Kainai Blood Tribe. Sonny-Ray has a broad musical palate working with many genres.

Sonny-Ray is pursuing advanced studies (M.mus) in music composition at the University of Lethbridge. He shows great promise in the field, having accumulated a large breadth of significant creative projects as an emerging Kainai (Blackfoot) artist in an impressively short time span. He also currently has a seat on the Indigenous Advisory Circle to the Library and Archives Canada and is past faculty alumni to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Cory Beaver is a passionate and creative individual from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation who is actively involved in the arts as a dancer, performer and actor. He is also a strong individual who always strives to make a change. In 2019, he Co-Chaired a summit called Sevengen, gathering over 200 Inuit, Metis, and First Nation youth from every province and territory. Since then, Cory has been an advocate for youth and indigenous people on various platforms. Cory is very optimistic and ambitious and believes that every voice matters. He is well-rounded with aspirations to inspire, empower, and uplift as many people as possible. Cory currently sits on the advisory board for Clouds Way Theatre company and is also involved with the Making Treaty 7 cultural society. When he is not training or performing, he is out in the mountains hiking or biking.

Marshall is an Actor, Director, Podcaster, and Drag Performer from the Kainai Nation in Southern Alberta. They are a recent graduate from the University of Lethbridge where they received their Bachelors of Fine Arts, specializing in Theatre Performance. They are especially interested in using theatre for community development, having been involved in various projects both locally and internationally aimed at using artistic practices to encourage social change. They work as an advocate for diversity in the performance sector, while also lending their creativity to several Queer Youth initiatives. Marshall is the recipient of the 2018 Theatre Calgary Stephen Hair Emerging Actor Award. When they are not acting, Marshall can be seen teaching as an Artist-in-Residence at Trickster Theatre or Improvising with Dirty Laundry.

Caleigh Crow is a queer playwright and performer from Mohkinstsis of Metis and settler heritage. Her work tends towards themes of metaphysics, class struggle, and joy. She is currently researching the magnetosphere.

Meredith is a Mohkinstsis (Calgary) based theatre artist. She stage manages, teaches and generally administers people and things for many different companies. For the Calgary Phil: Paintbrush for Piccolo. Other Companies: Alberta Theatre Projects, Bad Knaps Theatre, Black Radish Theatre, Calgary Young People’s Theatre, Handsome Alice Theatre, Heritage Park, Lunchbox Theatre, Making Treaty 7, Major Matt Mason Collective, One Yellow Rabbit Theatre, Theatre Calgary, The Shakespeare Company, Spontaneous Theatre/Arts Club Theatre, Quest Theatre, Verb Theatre, Vertigo Theatre. Meredith is so grateful to Making Treaty 7 and the CPO for bringing this wonderful Indigineous story to the masses.

Telly is an actor/playwright born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He is a graduate from Mount Royal University’s Theatre Arts Program. This is Telly’s debut with November Theatre, Theatre Network, and Touchstone Theatre. He is beyond thrilled to be part of such great companies. As an actor, Telly has been seen in Beyond Eden (Theatre Calgary/Vancouver Playhouse); The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (National Arts Centre/Western Canada Theatre); The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Alberta Theatre Projects); The Tempest and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare in the Park, Calgary). In his spare time, he is writing plays or making music with his band, Mia’s Matic.

Michelle Thrush, who is Cree with French and Scottish intermingled was born and raised in Mohkinstis also known as Calgary Alberta. She is the recently appointed Artistic Director of Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society as well as a founding member, past director and actor of this theatre company which began in 2012. She is best known for her film work and for her leading role as Gail Stoney in BLACKSTONE. In 2011 she won the Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. Michelle has been an actor writer and director in film, television and theatre for over 30 years. She believes that is is through the arts we are able to shine light into places that help us heal as Indigenous peoples. She is invested in how the arts can build bridges and bring voices together.”It is hugely important, as the Artistic Director, to create a safe place for artists to be vulnerable and to become a community to each other. Using an Indigenous-led process will always be the strength of what makes MT7 so successful.”

Michelle has spent the last few years touring with her highly successful newest solo show Inner Elder. A comedy about the challenges of growing up as a brown girl, with alcoholic parents in a city of white privilege. Her 2020 tour this award winning show was meant to open at the National Arts Centre as part of their Indigenous programming season but was cancelled due to Covid Besides working many years in the film industry Michelle is best known for her work in communities across Canada with youth and children, which is her greatest passion. She created characters such as “Majica”, the Indigenous Healing Clown, and “Kookum Martha”, a sprite old Indian Elder which she takes to reserves to explore healing through performance and laughter. She continues to write, direct, and produce theatre, and has played many leading roles on stage across Canada. Her most important production to date is her two beautiful daughters which Michelle admits was a co-production.

Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Neil grew up in Anishinaabe territory of the Robinson-Huron Treaty. He is honoured to be part of the Making Treaty 7 team, helping amplify the Indigenous stories, practices and cultures of the Treaty 7 peoples. Neil is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter based in Calgary. Neil is best known for his work at Lunchbox Theatre including – Outside, Anomaly, Security, Last Christmas, The After Party, He Said, She Said (with Glenda Stirling), and Spare Parts (Stage One 2018). Neil is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Past President of the Alberta Playwrights’ Network, and a tenacious winger most mornings between 7-8am.

Sometimes referred to as The Swiss Army Knife of Theatre, Neil is also a theatrical designer. Some past design credits include: Okotoks, 509 (MT7 & Niitsitapi Dance), Come Home (Urban Stories), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Ground Zero, Hit & Myth), In A World Created By A Drunken God, And So It Goes, Goodness, Bone Cage, (Downstage). A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream (CYPT), The Vajayjay Monologues (Pot of Jam, Urban Curves), Snowblind, Last Christmas, Shopaholic Husband Hunt (Lunchbox Theatre), An Almost Perfect Thing, The Kitchen Witches, The Attic, the Pearls, and Three Fine Girls (New West Theatre).

Originally from Siksika Nation, Elizabeth is a proud Niitsitapi from both Treaty 7 and Treaty 8 territories. Liz has studied at the University of Lethbridge’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program, where she specialized in performance. She is now a Calgary based artist focusing on theatre and dance; specifically traditional jingle dress and other contemporary forms, and most recently became the Artistic Associate for Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society. Aside from the arts, Liz shares a passion for politics and community development by providing youth programming. She was also chosen as one of 70 Indigenous women across Canada to represent her riding and take a seat within the House of Commons on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

Canadian musician Karl Hirzer is an emerging talent on the global stage of young conductors. Honing a passionate will to collaborate with musicians and communicate with audiences, he has garnered both critical and professional acclaim as a captivating presence on the podium.

Since September 2016, Hirzer has held the position of Resident, then Associate Conductor with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been guest conductor with the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Regina Symphony Orchestra, and is a regular guest conductor with the contemporary group Land’s End Ensemble. American composer John Corigliano hailed a collaboration with the latter on a performance of his song cycle, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ stating: “Mr. Hirzer brought a combination of detailed accuracy and intense musical feeling to the work, resulting in an absolutely marvelous performance.”

In the past, Hirzer has acted as Assistant Conductor for the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. He has also worked with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and with the Gstaad Festival Orchestra as an active member of the Menuhin Festival Gstaad Conducting Academy. He was a Conducting Fellow at the 2017 Cortona Sessions for New Music. A diverse musician and collaborator, he has performed with various renowned soloists such as Evelyn Glennie, Jonathan Crow, Chris Botti, Owen Pallett, Agata Szymczewska, and many others. During the 2019/2020 season, Hirzer enjoyed taking on the additional role of Assistant Chorus Master with the Calgary Philharmonic.

An advocate of presenting new music to audiences in complement to canonical works, Hirzer’s repertoire ranges from Mozart and Haydn, to Boulez and Lachenmann. He has conducted numerous world premieres, and advocates inviting audiences to discover the full spectrum of eras, nationalities, and experiences pervading the classical and contemporary catalogues. A steadfast educator, Hirzer was recently on faculty as conductor and chamber coach at the 22nd Morningside Music Bridge program in Warsaw, Poland.

Hirzer has been taught by Guillaume Bourgogne, Alexis Hauser, Boris Brott, and Ajtony Csaba, and he has participated in masterclass sessions with Neeme Järvi, Leonid Grin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Zsolt Nagy, and Chris Younghoon Kim.

Trained as a pianist, Hirzer holds bachelor’s (University of Victoria) and master’s (McGill University) degrees in performance, as well as an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto Diploma, obtained at age 17. His piano teachers have included Ilya Poletaev, Bruce Vogt, Michael McMahon, Walter Prossnitz, and Anne Wilson Unger. He was a winner of the Johann Strauss Scholarship Competition, funding studies at the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg, during which time he studied in the class of Robert Levin.

Program Information

SONNY-RAY DAY RIDER Blackfoot Sunrise (Overture)
CRIS DERKSEN Napi and the Rock

Collaboration with Making Treaty 7 tells traditional Blackfoot story through music and drama

A new online production combining drama and music is bringing a traditional Blackfoot story to life. Napi and the Rock, a collaboration between Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, celebrates local Indigenous culture through an engaging musical performance for families. The concert was pre-recorded in the Jack Singer Concert Hall and will be available to the public for free at starting Saturday, November 20.

Read the full blog post here.

Additional Resources

Sponsors + Supporters

Logo: Keyera Corp

Sponsors + Supporters

Logo: Keyera Corp