Music Festival underway

Stettler-area performers are ready to show off their talent at this year’s Stettler and District Music Festival.

Stettler-area performers are ready to show off their talent at this year’s Stettler and District Music Festival.

“We hope it will go really well,” said festival committee president Sherry Rempel. “I guess it just depends on how prepared the students are.”

The festival runs from April 1 to 12, and participants will compete against each other and be marked by an adjudicator.

Performances will occur at the Performing Arts Centre and St. George’s Anglican Church. The festival gets performers from Castor, Coronation, Gadsby, Erskine, Bashaw, and more.

The performance categories are as follows:

Piano- April 1 to 3

Dance- April 4 and 5

Vocal- April 6 to 8

Speech- April 7 and 8

School chorus- April 9

Band- April 10

Musical theatre- April 11 and 12

“Speaking as a teacher, it’s good for the students to have something to work towards,” Rempel said. “They have to work a little harder at a song in order to perform it.”

The festival in its current form began in 1969, and has expanded from three days to ten days. This year’s festival has close to 500 entries, and is helped run by about 100 volunteers who fulfill the roles of announcers, secretaries, ticket sellers, and door co-ordinators.

“It’s a lot of people who enjoy going and listening,” she said. “It’s a good way to go listen to an afternoon of music.”

The adjudicators are accomplished performers from western Canada. Piano adjudicator Teresa Allred grew up in Cardston, Alta., and has adjudicated music festivals throughout western Canada for the last two decades.

Dance adjudicator Carmen Peacock has been dancing since age 7 and owns her own dance studio.

Vocal and speech adjudicator Gaye-Lynn Kern has performed professionally in Canada, the U.S., and England, and lives in Saskatoon.

School chorus adjudicator Bill Hamm has been the music director at Rosebud Centre of the Arts near Calgary for 25 years, and is the musical director for the Canadian Badlands Passion Play.

Band adjudicator Steve Sherman has been teaching music for over 35 years, and has been a full-time instructor at Red Deer College for ten years. Musical theatre adjudicator Tara Laberge teaches and performs in opera, theatre, musical theatre, and oratorio. She is an adjunct professor of music and theatre at Rocky Mountain College in Calgary.

Anyone who wants to watch the performances must pay $2 to drop in, $5 for a daily pass, or $15 for a festival pass. Passes are available at the door.

The grand concert to wrap up the festival is April 15 at 7 p.m. Students with high marks are recommended by the adjudicator to play in the festival. Awards are also given out at the grand concert.

Competitors who get a high mark and the recommendation of the adjudicator can continue on to the provincial music festival.

“It builds confidence for the kids,” Rempel said. “It’s very good education for the community.”