Submitted by: Donna Grayer, MNO Windsor-Essex Métis Council Women’s Representative

windsor games opening
Maidstone 4H Heritage Club waiting to go on stage for the Opening Ceremony Aboriginal greeting
produced by Donna Grayer.

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Windsor-Essex Métis Council Women’s Representative Donna Grayer was an associate producer for the Métis, First Nations and Inuit greeting performed for the 2013 International Children’s Games (ICG) opening ceremony held held on August 15 in Windsor Essex.

The IGC is an Olympic sanctioned youth event. This year’s ICG hosted 32 countries and 84 teams to compete in various sports. The Opening Ceremony is an artistic multi-faceted spectacle showcasing Windsor-Essex culture and talent and featuring the Parade of Athletes, live music, dance, aerialists and specialty performers including local young people in most of its segments, reflecting the “In Sport We Are One” theme.

Grayer was asked by the game’s creative director, executive producer and choreographer Melissa Williams, at the beginning of the year to help plan the opening ceremonies.

The theme of the opening ceremonies was to illustrate the connection between past, present and future.

“I incorporated a heritage group to enact the 1812 time period with the emphasis on Métis Voyageurs,” explained Grayer. “They were the Maidstone 4H Heritage Group. I also included our council member’s children and grandchildren.”

The First Nation portion included a traditional song with beautiful regalia with all groups participating in three round dances.

“The few flukes that happened would only be noticed by me,” said Grayer, “but perfect timing is hard to do when you are not used to doing large productions and little. I was very happy for the opportunity for our community to be involved and to experience such an event.”

“The process of creating the right sound effects, music, video and so much more was as much fun as it was challenging,” she continued. “I met and worked with some of the best in choreography and production in the area, a few who came back, from all over the world, in order to be part of the event and represent their home.”

The opening ceremony proved to be a success and was televised. “The entire opening was absolutely breath taking,” said Grayer. “I was humbled and honored to be part of it.”