Hundreds of musicians from five different disciplines will have the opportunity to share their art. Vocal performances are slated for Feb. 24-26 at Rivier Academy, followed by strings from Feb. 27-28, also at Rivier Academy.
The upper hall of the United Cavalry Church will host the pianists from March 4-7, bands will take to St. Mary High School from March 12-14 and instrumental performances will unfold at the Messiah Lutheran Church from March 18-20.
“It’s really an opportunity for the children learning music to gain confidence and see where they’re at, make friends through the music festival and have fun at the same time,” said Val Ormerod, a former volunteer who has held many positions with the event.
The festival was borne out of the Saskatchewan Festival movement, which began in 1908, according to Ormerod.
While there are dozens of vocals, string, piano and band and instrumental scholarships to be awarded at the festival, as well as adjudicators assigned to each discipline and the opportunity to qualify for national and provincial championships, the music festival’s history is rooted in creating a comfortable atmosphere for musicians.
“The awards and scholarships are nice to attend … It’s more of a relaxed atmosphere. It’s not the competition level, so the children are more relaxed because there isn’t as much pressure on them,” event co-ordinator Linda Alberts said.
While there were already a variety of disciplines to showcase at the festival, Alberts said there have been some additions.
“This year, we’ve got some speech arts involved, which we haven’t had any speech arts for probably the last five years,” she said. “Last year was our first year to have fiddling entries, so we’ve got quite a few fiddlers this year as well.”
Adjudicators will include U of S music department lecturer Chris Kelly for vocals, fiddler, violin and viola performer Kim de Laforest for strings, Audrey Watson for junior piano and Jaya Hoy for piano, bassoonist Peter D. England for band and Glen Gillis for instrumental solos and ensembles.