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Winnipeg gearing up for 2014 Juno party

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HERE in Winnipeg, "We Speak Music."

In the months leading up to the 2014 Juno Awards, which will take place in Winnipeg from March 24 to 30, you'll be seeing that slogan a lot. Carole Vivier, co-chairwoman of the Winnipeg Juno host committee, says the local brand, which was rolled out during a press conference on Tuesday morning at the Metropolitan Event Centre, pays tribute to our musical heritage and history as well as highlighting the importance music plays in our every day lives.

It's true that music contributes to the fabric of our culture -- and it also contributes to our province's economic growth. As Premier Greg Selinger said in his opening remarks at Tuesday's press conference, Manitoba's music industry has an annual economic impact of over $70 million.

"People say that culture is a frill," he said. "It's not." The Junos are expected to have a $10-million impact.

Winnipeg will definitely be speaking music at the week-long Juno celebrations, which culminate with the Juno Awards broadcast on March 30 at the MTS Centre. The untelevised Saturday night gala dinner -- at which 35 of the 42 Junos will be handed out -- takes place March 29 at the RBC Convention Centre.

A host of other marquee events will happen before the big show. The MTS Iceplex will host the much-loved Juno Cup -- an annual celebrity hockey game that pits musicians against former NHL greats in support of MusiCounts, Canada's music education charity -- on March 28.

For music lovers, one of the gems of Juno Week is JunoFest, a two-night music festival running March 28-29 that showcases emerging Canadian talent. Nearly half of the lineup will be composed of local talent. Submissions for JunoFest are now open; artists wishing to participate can apply at

Of course, none of these events are possible without volunteers. Those who would like to help out with the 2014 Juno Awards can apply at

One of Winnipeg's brightest exports will be honoured during Juno week with the 2014 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday morning that Winnipeg-born singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, along with her husband Raine Maida, are this year's recipients of the prestigious award, which recognizes Canadian artists who have made a positive difference through exemplary humanitarian work. The award will be presented to the couple at the Juno Awards gala on March 29.

While Kreviazuk and Maida are among Canada's most critically and commercially successful artists -- Kreviazuk is a two-time Juno winner and Maida is a four-time Juno winner (and 25-time nominee) as frontman for Our Lady Peace -- they are also well-respected for their humanitarian work, particularly with War Child Canada, of which Kreviazuk is an honorary founder.

The couple has visited Iraq, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of the Congo on behalf of several causes, including women's rights, war refugees and child education.

"Chantal and Raine are more than deserving recipients for this year's award," said Melanie Barry, president and CEO of CARAS/The Juno Awards & MusiCounts, in a release. "Their passion and dedication to countless charities and organizations over the course of their careers is truly remarkable."

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Kreviazuk, 39, stressed the importance of education -- for ourselves, and for each other. Education, she says, is the entry point to making a difference, big and small, in our world.

"I think that looking toward a life of balance, a life of education his how we can be the best us," she told the Free Press. "And as we get more and more educated and as we dig in more, we're going to find ourselves, and we're going to find opportunities for how we can give. Everyone's journey is different."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 6, 2013 C1

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