Deck the halls at Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre

Beginner fiddle and guitar concert attracted festive crowd

The Christmas concert at the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre featured Deanndra Oleman

By LeRae Haynes

Fellowship, great food and a Christmas concert drew a festive crowd to the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre in 100 Mile House on Dec. 8.

The concert was a result of beginner fiddle and guitar lessons offered through the Friendship Centre. The lessons were taught by Friendship Centre director Mary Thomas and her grandson, Roman Thomas, to participants from five years old to seniors.

I love seeing kids as young as five years old interested in playing music: it’s really encouraging,” says Rob Diether, Program Host and Coordinator at Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre.

It’s nice to see another generation of musicians coming up who are interested in acoustic instruments; the generation span is a natural and beautiful part of First Nations culture.”

Music lesson and concert participants came from Canim Lake, Canoe Creek, 100 Mile House and Williams Lake, with musical support from Rob Diether, Richard Minato and more.

The music lessons were spearheaded by Mary, who works at the Cariboo Friendship Centre in Williams Lake. She is a director at the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre and formerly the chair.

Rob also helped with some instruction for the beginner guitar players.

Rob says Mary has been involved with Stemete7uw’i Centre from the very beginning.

She loves music, and playing fiddle and her grandson is a talented young man; they’re both very good instructors.”

There was a spaghetti dinner with support from Save-On-Foods, Safeway and the Chartreuse Moose Bar & Bistro. There was also a silent auction with donated items.

This was the second annual event. The plan is to do music lessons again in the spring, followed by a concert,” Rob says.

It’s a great atmosphere here: warm and inclusive, cozy and all about family.”

Rob, who came on board when the centre opened, says there was a lot of hard work and vision behind it.

The Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre Society formed in 2013 and the Centre itself opened July 2015. Overall, the vision of the centre is to provide fellowship that is open to everybody.”

Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre held a very successful celebration this past summer for National Aboriginal Day, with more than 100 residents, tourists and visitors in attendance, he adds.

It was wonderful, and next year will be even better.

We have done drum making workshops and will offer them again. We’ve had movie nights here and hope to run other programs in the future.”

The centre is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and everyone is welcome. It is located behind St. Timothy’s Anglican Church at the corner of Horse Lake and Blackstock roads.

For more information about the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre, phone 250-945-5259 or e-mail