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Abley, Henry T.

  • Person
  • 1917-1994

Henry T. Abley, also often known as Harry, was an organist, choirmaster and composer, born in 1917 in Knighton, Wales. He studied at Trinity College of Music, London. He had fellowships at that college, and the London College of Music, and was an Associate of the Royal College of Organists.

He immigrated to Canada in the late 50s and worked as the organist at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Sault Ste Marie, ON from 1957-1959. From 1961-1967 he worked as the organist at First Baptist Church in Lethbridge, Alberta. Subsequently he worked as an organist and choirmaster at St. John’s Cathedral in Saskatoon, SK from 1968-1977, then at Third Avenue United Church also in Saskatoon, SK from 1979-1985. His last engagement as organist and choirmaster was at Church of the Advent in Montreal from 1985 until his death in 1994.

He was a recitalist known especially in Germany during the 70s and 80s, where he performed frequently in East and West Berlin, Bremen, Norden; as well as Geneva, Switzerland and Oxford and Cambridge, England. He excelled in music of the German School, but was also a fine exponent of Franck, Liszt, and 20th-century composers Olivier Messiaen and Jéhan Alain. Abley was also a composer of mainly sacred works, and his large output occasioned a 1981 concert in Saskatoon composed entirely of his music.

Abrahamson, Joanne Margaret

  • Person
  • 24 January 1963 - present

Joanne Abrahamson was born in Saskatoon on 24 January 1963. She worked for most of her career at SaskTel; after nearly twenty years there she left to pursue a career in Library Studies. Her father was a police photographer, and the family had a darkroom in their home; but she is largely self-taught, and has taken no formal photographic training.

Adaskin, Murray

  • Person
  • 1906-2002

Born in Toronto on March 28, 1906, Murray Adaskin began his violin training at the age of ten. Additional training was received in New York and Paris including periods of composition study with John Weinzweig, Charles Jones and Darius Milhaud. A violinist with Toronto Symphony for ten years, Adaskin also served as director of music for the CPR hotels. As Head of the Music Department at the University of Saskatchewan from 1952 until 1966, and then Composer-In-Residence from 1966 until 1973, Murray, along with his first wife soprano Frances James Adaskin, initiated and supported much of the rich musical life which remains as a cultural focus in Saskatoon today. Among his many honours were Saskatoon's citizen of the year for 1970, a 1980 appointment to the Order of Canada and a D.Mus from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984. Murray Adaskin retired to Victoria in 1973. He was later married to Dorothea Larken (Adaskin). He composed his final work in 2000 and died in 2002 at the age of 96.

Ahenakew, Freda

  • Person

Freda I. Ahenakew, a Cree woman, was born on February 11, 1932, at home on Ahtahkakoop First Nation, Saskatchewan. The second of eight children born to Edward and Annie (nee Bird) Ahenakew, Freda spent her childhood on Ahtahkakoop where she attended the Sandy Lake Day School. As a teenager, Freda lived in Prince Albert where she attended the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute, and resided at St. Alban's Residence. In 1951, Freda married Harold Greyeyes from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and together they had twelve children (Dolores Carol 1951, Brenda Vivian 1952, Barbara Ruth 1954, Harold Dennis 1955, Judith May 1957, Anita Elaine 1958, Lawrence Edward 1959, Gloria Lynn 1960, Kevin Ray 1962, Spencer Garth 1963, Nancy Cecile 1972, and Josephine Marie in 1975). As a result of her marriage, Freda became a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. In the early years of their marriage, Freda and Harold lived on both the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and the Ahtahkakoop First Nation. To earn extra income, Harold went to work in British Columbia in the lumber industry. In the fall of 1956, Freda and four of their children accompanied Harold to British Columbia, where in 1957 their fifth child Judith May was born. The family returned to Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in 1959 where they began operating their own small mixed farm. In 1979, Freda returned to school and received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. That same year she was the recipient of the Mother of the Year award from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). In 1979, Freda's marriage to Harold Greyeyes ended. Freda began her teaching career on the Lac La Ronge First Nation in 1979 and taught there for one year. Freda also taught at the Saskatoon Survival School (now the Joe Duquette High School in Saskatoon) for the 1980-1981 school term. Freda then moved to Winnipeg to study at the University of Manitoba where she received her Masters of Arts in Cree Linguistics in 1984. Freda's published thesis Cree Language Structures has been reprinted seventeen times. From 1983-1985, Freda worked as an Assistant in Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, she then became the Director of the Saskatchewan Indian Language Institute from 1985-1989. Freda returned to Winnipeg in 1990 where she began work as an Associate Professor of Native Studies at The University of Manitoba and was appointed Head of the Department of Native Studies until 1995. Freda returned to Saskatchewan in 1995 to work as a First Nations Language Consultant to the Prince Albert Grand Council until she retired in 1997. Throughout her career as an educator Freda has worked to preserve the Cree language. She has authored a number of books including kohkominawak otácimowinawáwa (Our Grandmothers' Lives, as Told in Their Own Words), kwayask é-ki-pé-kiskinowápahtihicik (Their Example Showed Me the Way: A Cree Woman's Life Shaped by Two Cultures) and wisáhkécáhk (Flies to the Moon). Freda has also translated various children's books and produced a number of textbooks and technical dictionaries. Her contributions have helped ensure the survival of the Cree language and culture. Freda has received many awards and honours for her contribution to education and the preservation of the Cree language and culture. These include: the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Citizen of the Year (1992), an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan (1997), the Order of Canada (1998), National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Education (2001), and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2005). Freda is now retired and living on Muskeg Lake Cree Nation where she enjoys spending time with her many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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