Lakota Music Project coming to area communities

Farm Forum

The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and the Creekside Singers will bring their spring tour of the Lakota Music Project to Eagle Butte Friday, Sisseton Saturday and Mobridge April 21.

The concerts are free and open to the public.

After starting the tour Thursday in Pierre, the musicians will visit Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School at 7 p.m. Friday. The concert at the Sisseton Performing Arts Center begins at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Mobridge concert begins at 2 p.m. April 21 in Scherr-Howe Arena.

The orchestra is headed by music director Delta David Gier. The Creekside Singers are from Pine Ridge.

In addition to Dakota and Lakota musicians, the symphony will be joined in Sisseton by Bryan Akipa, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. Akipa, who lives near Sisseton, will play the traditional Dakota flute in the premiere of a work composed especially for the Sisseton concert.

The Dakota drum group, Wahpekute, will perform side-by-side with the orchestra in the first half of the Sisseton program. According to a news release, the program “offers musical depictions of how each culture treats experiences common to the human condition — love, war, grief and joy.”

The Sisseton Arts Council commissioned the piece Akipa will play more than a year ago with the intent of showcasing something distinctly Dakota in the Sisseton performance of the Lakota Music Project.

With matching funds from a South Dakota Arts Council Project Grant, the Arts Council enlisted composer Jeffrey Paul of Sioux Falls to create the piece. Over the months, he worked closely with Akipa on the project. The audience in Sisseton will be the first to hear a public performance of “Pentatonic Fantasy for Dakota Flute and Orchestra.”

The Lakota Music Project began several years ago through collaboration between the South Dakota Symphony and the Porcupine Singers from Pine Ridge and has since evolved to include other Native singers and musicians performing together across the state.