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'Focus on good things in life' violin virtuoso tells Pikangikum youth

Thursday November 18, 2004

PIKANGIKUM - Just 14 years old, Sierra Noble is not only an accomplished violinist and fiddle player, she is also doing her part to better the lives of children worldwide.

November 18, 2004: Volume 31 #23 

Noble began playing the fiddle seven years ago and at the age of 10, she became an advocate for the removal of landmines. The teenage humanitarian was in Pikangikum, Oct. 25 to 29, to attend a youth conference.

Noble used the opportunity to share her love of music and dance. She also performed Oct. 27 and then spoke with the youth the following day. A Metis from Winnipeg, Man., Noble called her visit to the community an "honour."

From her perspective, Noble said the youth of Pikangikum need help realizing they do "not have to follow the lives of the past generations and the abuse that their families have gone through." She said the youth have the opportunity and a right to live a good life. "Accept and embrace your troubles," she told a group of youth who gathered to hear her words.

"Find the good things in life and focus on them." Culture, music, and dance have made a huge difference in her life, she said. Music and dance have been positive influences for her and she asked the youth to make a conscious decision to live a healthy life.

"There is no need for drugs because it ruins a good life," she said. And "drinking ruins a good life." For the past two years, Noble helped Manitoba youth through a program designed to help keep kids off the street. The program, called Big Heart, is run out of the Manitoba Metis Federation office in Winnipeg.

Big Heart features fiddling, jigging, guitar playing, recording technology, and video programs. Noble has also made school presentations over the past three-and-a-half years. Noble said part of her work is helping youth become more aware of global issues such as the effects of war, landmines, and refugees. She said in Cambodia alone, there are three landmines for every child.

"It's important to be aware of this issue and the suffering that goes on in the world." Another goal the young fiddle player has set for herself is to help preserve Metis culture through her music. She said "Not too many people choose to play old time Metis music because of the different tuning of the fiddle."

Noble, a classically trained musician, said many violinists are unable to separate classical music and fiddle music but she said her teacher had a feeling Noble was capable of doing just that. From her many experiences, Noble said her most exciting memories are ones of the time she spent in Japan.

She travelled to Japan to represent Canada at the World Youth Landmine Conference. Noble quickly fell in love with the country and said she would like to return in the future. Last summer, Noble also organized a benefit concert called Sierra's Hope Concert for a Landmine Free World. The concert featured her friends and local Manitoba bands. For her efforts to help create a safer and better world, Noble received a Young Humanitarian Award in 2003 from The Manitoba Teachers' Association.

Added to her growing list of achievements, Noble is also Manitoba's junior fiddling and jigging champion. Following her recorded six-song CD demo, Noble now has hopes of doing some touring. She is also hoping to release a full-length album in 2005. She added music is the love of her life and when she plays that's when she feels "almost, really, truly happy."

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