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FYI

A Podcast Conversation With ...MusiCounts' Teacher Mary Piercey-Lewis

The new winner of the prestigious award holds a PhD in ethnomusicology and her commitment to the Inuit music community has spanned over two decades. Learn more about her work in this FYI podcast.

A Podcast Conversation With ...MusiCounts' Teacher Mary Piercey-Lewis

By Bill King

MusiCounts recently announced that Dr. Mary Piercey-Lewis from Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit, Nunavut is the winner of the 2021 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation (CST Foundation).


Piercey-Lewis holds a PhD in ethnomusicology and her commitment to the Inuit music community has spanned over two decades. The majority of students at Inuksuk High School are Inuit, and many of those students are third generation residential school survivors. By using music as a means to explore culture, heritage, and identity, Piercey-Lewis' education practice is dedicated towards building a stronger community.

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Piercey-Lewis has published a text of Inuit choral music – the first of its kind - and is working on a second book. She prioritizes collaboration, and encourages students to explore new opportunities through performance. Ensembles from Inuksuk High School have performed at Qaggiavuut Centre for the Performing Arts in Nunavut and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and have counted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau amongst their audiences.

“Dr. Mary Piercey-Lewis exemplifies excellence in music education,” said Kristy Fletcher, Executive Director of MusiCounts. “She is committed to students and expertly delivers culturally-relevant music programming to her community. It is not hyperbole to say that she has changed the landscape of music education in the territory of Nunavut for generations to come. MusiCounts is honoured to recognize such an exceptional teacher with this award.”

“My teaching philosophy is one where artistry intersects with social activism: music education as social justice. In my classroom, music is used as a portal to Inuit culture, language, and identity.”

In the music classroom at Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit, Nunavut, connection is key. Through music, students connect to elders, the land, the Inuktitut language, Inuit culture, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (traditional Inuit knowledge), and each other.

Piercey-Lewis holds a PhD in ethnomusicology and published a text of Inuit choral music – the first of its kind. Piercey-Lewis’ commitment to the Inuit music community has spanned over two decades. The majority of students at Inuksuk High School is Inuit, and many of those students are third generation residential school survivors. By using music education as a portal to Inuit identity, community, and tradition, Piercey-Lewis is helping to foster confident, resilient, and proud young people.

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“My teaching philosophy is one where artistry intersects with social activism: music education as social justice. In my classroom, music is used as a portal to Inuit culture, language, and identity.”

-Dr. Mary Piercey-Lewis

 

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Sidhu Moose Wala
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Sidhu Moose Wala

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