HAMILTON – We are elated to welcome Jeremy Dutcher to share the stage with our orchestra at FirstOntario Concert Hall on October 22, 2022 at 7:30pm for Jeremy Dutcher & The HPO. The operatic tenor, composer, musicologist and activist will perform works from his debut album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, with Lucas Waldin as conductor. 

Jeremy Dutcher is a member of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, where the traditional language of his people is Wolastoqey. His music on Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa incorporates traditional songs recorded over 110 years ago, seamlessly weaving the singing, speaking and laughter of his ancestors into accessible modern pop works. The original archive recordings were collected by anthropologist William H. Mechling and stored on wax cylinder (and later digitized) in the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. With so few fluent Wolastoqey speakers alive today, Jeremy Dutcher is passionate about language and culture revitalisation. Outside of his music activities, Dutcher is currently assisting his mother Lisa Perley-Dutcher with her dream of opening the first Wolastoqey immersion school in New Brunswick. 

Jeremy proudly identifies as queer and two-spirit and appeared as a guest judge on season 3 of Canada’s Drag Race airing in August 2022. Many Canadians were introduced to Dutcher as the 2018 Polaris Music Prize winner and may remember his daring performance outfit of just high-waisted boxer briefs and a long sheer black cape. On CBC’s Unreserved, he shared the questions that guided this fashion statement: “What kind of images would have been really helpful or useful for me to see as a young Indigenous person growing up in rural New Brunswick? What would that have felt like to be able to turn on the television and see big, brown bodies taking up space?”  

Jeremy Dutcher was also the 2019 Juno Award winner in the category of Indigenous Music Album of the Year and used his acceptance speech as a call to action to the Canadian government around Truth and Reconciliation. His important message was cut short when music started to ‘play him off the stage’ before he could finish speaking, but he was invited back up to the microphone by the final award-winners of the night, The Arkells, to finish his speech. This moment lives on as an unforgettable act of allyship broadcast to the nation at large. 

“It is such an honour for us to perform the orchestral versions of works from Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa with Jeremy Dutcher and provide a platform for his efforts in language preservation and revitalisation through his stunningly evocative music,” says HPO Executive Director Kim Varian. “Dutcher’s music is transcendent, transporting us back in time and carrying these traditional songs forward to their rightful inheritors. We know our Indigenous and non-Indigenous Greater Hamilton community will love Jeremy’s message as much as we do and will be deeply moved by the power of this beautiful musical bestowment.” 

Dutcher’s music has been arranged for orchestra by Lucas Waldin and Owen Pallett.  

This concert is mask-friendly with an intermission and open concessions. 

Saturday, October 22 at 7:30pm 
FirstOntario Concert Hall 
1 Summers Lane, Hamilton 
Tickets: $20-$100 on hpo.org

Published September 29, 2022