Four Yukon youth will be receiving $675 each from the Inspire Song – North for 90 Award to help them write original music.
Yukon musician, Gordie Tentrees, established the award to honour the memory of Aylie Sparkes, a fellow Yukon musician who passed away from cancer in 2005 at the age of 38. Born Peter Thiessen in Steinbach, MB, Sparkes arrived in the Yukon in 2001 with a truck full of guitars and $5 to his name. In the first year he made his presence felt performing an unheard of 250 shows, mainly at the Discovery Bar (Taku) where people would queue down the street to get seat. With Aylie, they could expect the unexpected. Though influenced by Hendrix, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, and Duane Allman, his slide guitar diversity was his strength, paired with his innate ability to draw his audience into his light, whether he was playing country, blues, gospel, or funk. He supported many local artists on stage and in recordings before releasing his debut record “Beautiful & Deranged”, which was nominated for “Blues Album of the Year” at the Western Canadian Music Awards.
Tentrees established the Inspire Song – North for 90 Award to help youth and young adults, aged 12 to 18, who are inspired to write original songs or music in any lyrical/musical format in any genre. The awarded funds must be used as tuition or fees for lessons or mentorship with a Yukon songwriter or musician of their choosing.
Tentrees says, “I am very grateful to all the writers that performed in concert, bringing light to the power of song writing, and the support of the Bob Hamilton family, Casey Prescott, Michelle Emslie, as well as the Yukon Arts Centre with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Yukon Government in making this possible for Yukon youth.”
Lukas Wright, Jack Walcher-Wegmann, Taryn Morrison, and Phoebe Qui are the first-ever recipients of the award and will be presented with their cheques at Tentrees’ Arts in the Park performance in LePage Park on July 30, 2019 at 12:30pm.