Final registration for the annual Prince Albert Kiwanis Music Festival is on Saturday, with the event’s co-ordinator hoping for an eclectic turnout.
“It’s such an individual activity -- you practise your piano at home,” Linda Alberts said of most musicians. “It’s not something like hockey, where it’s such a public event all the time … It’s nice to give these kids a little bit of exposure.”
Last year’s festival, which took place throughout March, saw about 1,500 local area musicians turn out to share their talents with audiences of both judges and spectators.
“We cater more to the 18 and under, but if an adult wants to (come), we wouldn’t turn them away,” Alberts said, noting that only those 18 years and younger will be judged.
This year’s event will begin on Feb. 24 and stretch until the end of March, with participants divided into five categories.
The “voice” category is the first to perform, from Feb. 24 to 26, wherein participants sing theatre, classical, song, coral and speech arts.
Speech arts is unique within the festival, in that it doesn’t involve music, instead featuring youth reading poems.
“It would be nice to see some classes get involved and doing that,” Alberts said, noting that this is one area the festival has been lacking in during past years.
“It’s self-esteem building. It gets them out into the public and speaking, which can be hard to do at some times.” They will perform Feb. 27 to 28.
Another category is strings, which Alberts described as consisting of “all of the stringed instruments.”
Last year broadened the category to this degree, include the popular category of fiddles for the first time.
Pianists have a category of their own, performing March 4 to 7.
This category includes some pretty interesting sub-categories, Alberts said, including two pianos with four musicians station themselves at, playing off one another. Another category has students and teachers play a duet on two pianos.
The bands category will have judges attend schools from March 12 to 14, as it’s easier to move the few judges than it is the whole band, Alberts explained.
The final category, instrumental, will have everyone else perform from March 18 to 21. Brass, woodwind, percussions and various other musical instruments will be featured during this time.
Native drumming is included in this category, though Alberts said that they’ve never had anyone enter -- a shame, since there are lots of drumming circles in the community.
All categories are judged, with winning participants having the potential to advance to the provincial and national levels, with this year’s national event to be held in Waterloo, Ont.
“We bring judicators in from Saskatchewan, but from outside the P.A. area, and they come in and they give feedback to these kids so they can maybe improve their piece or give them some ideas as to where they can go next as to their studies – kind of encourage them to keep in it, keep progressing,” Alberts said.
Youth interested in participating in this year’s festival are encouraged to stop by the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library on Saturday anytime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
This, Alberts said, will be the last chance for people to register.
Fees are $15 for solos and duets, and $30 for groups of three people and more.
As the festival’s Feb. 24 nears, the Daily Herald will provide readers with in-depth information on how to enjoy this year’s festival, including a schedule of events.
In the meantime, more information on the festival can be found online, at www.smfa.ca.