Winnipeg Arts Council

Sounding Thunder: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow

Sounding Thunder is a musical journey into the life of the renowned Ojibwe WWI sniper, decorated officer of the Canadian military and Indigenous political activist, Francis Pegahmagabow. The 65-minute performance is divided into three acts, exploring Pegahmagabow’s early years immersed in the world of the Anishinaabe spirits, his extraordinary accomplishments in the trenches of WWI, and finally his political life as Chief of the Wausauksing Ojibwe and founder of the early Indigenous political moment in Canada.

Sounding Thunder was co-created by multi-award-winning Ojibwe author Armand Garnet Ruffo and JUNO-nominated composer Timothy Corlis, with consultation from Brian McInnes, great grandson of Francis Pegahmagabow, with additional musical material from Anishinaabe singer Jodi Contin-Baker. The production draws on the memoirs of Pegahmagabow himself, family memories, and historical sources to introduce audiences to a little-known side of Canadian history while offering a fascinating story and dynamic musical experience. The production has a track record of strong reviews, often naming as its main strength the respectful way First Nations and Settler communities collaborated to share the story of Francis. After its initial performance in Wausauksing First Nation, Murray Sinclair wrote: “I am overwhelmed by this amazing performance and the story that it tells.”

Sounding Thunder, the Song of Francis Pegahmagabow is produced and presented in Winnipeg by Agassiz Music Inc., and the 2024 Agassiz Chamber Music Festival, Sounds in the Key of Spring. Sounding Thunder will take place on the festival’s closing night: Saturday, June 8th, 7:30 pm, at Jubilee Place Concert Hall (181 Riverton Avenue) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Tickets are $35 and available at

The cast of Sounding Thunder features an impressive array of highly respected creators, chamber musicians and Indigenous artists:

Tim Corlis – composer

Armand Garnet-Ruffo – librettist

in consultation Brian D. McInnes and Jodi Baker Contin

Jodi Baker Contin – Wasauksing Singer, Songwriter,

Actor, Consultant

Keenan Keeshig – Anishinaabe Actor

Brian D. McInnes – Narrator, Consultant, Great

Grandson of Pegahmagabow

Larry Beckwith – Conductor, Actor

Karl Stobbe – Violin

James Campbell – Clarinet

Christian Sharpe – Bassoon

Beverley Johnston – Percussion

Rachel Thomas – Trombone

Guy Few – Trumpet

Joel Quarrington – Double Bass

Ken MacDonald – Horn

and with

Chris Anstey – Violin

Elation Pauls – Violin

Susan McCallum – Violin

Elise Lavallée – Viola

Sam Nadurak – Cello

Meredith Johnson – Contrabass