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Music festival returning to Preeceville, Sturgis

Music steeped in tradition scheduled to make a come back through music festival.
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The Parkland Music Festival is scheduled to return to Preeceville and Sturgis. (File Photo)

PREECEVILLE - The Parkland Music Festival is returning to Preeceville and Sturgis in April of 2024 after several years of interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last festival in Preeceville and Sturgis was held in 2019, stated Miles Russell, spokesperson for the Music Festival committee.

The Music Festival is a long time tradition in which music students are given an opportunity to perform in front of an audience, be adjudicated and possibly recommended to go on to provincial competition.

The Parkland Music Festival Preeceville, Sturgis Branch met Sept. 12 to make plans for this significant event. Local Parkland Music Festival President, Anna Russell, listed the areas to be covered in this year’s festival in a letter of invitation to participate, sent to local teachers for the April 15-18, 2024 Festival. The list includes “piano, vocal (singing), speech arts (individual and choral speech), musical theatre, bands, solo(instrumental), duets, ensemble, strings, guitar, classroom choral.”

The Parkland Music Festival serves the areas of Preeceville, Sturgis, Canora, Kamsack, Norquay, Invermay and communities in between. In the past about 180 entries involving 250 children were part of the Parkland Festival. The planning for the Parkland Festival is shared between the Preeceville and Sturgis Committee and the Canora Committee, alternating each year between communitiesThis year the Music Festival will be one of approximately 47 festivals throughout the province. The Music Festival system was established 115 years ago in Canada, by then Governor General Lord Earl Grey who not only donated the Grey Cup for football, but got the ball rolling for music festivals nationally, with Saskatchewan and Alberta being the first provinces to respond to his initiative.

Many local people over the years have been part of Music Festival and have gained so many things besides a “score” on their entry piece. The Local President, Anna Russell has written that “Festival is an awesome opportunity for children to gain confidence in performance of music and speech. The constructive comments and encouragement of the experienced and supportive adjudicators help children grow in their abilities to present themselves and their material to the world.”

The Saskatchewan Music Festival Association’s web site offers this insight into the benefits of the Music Festival: “Music not only provides enjoyment, but also a means of self-expression. Studying music is an interesting way to learn the value of practice discipline, and in the case of a band, orchestra or choir, the elements of collaboration. In the festival scenario, the competitive aspect allows students to set and attain goals, to learn stage deportment, to listen, to win or lose graciously and to become good audience members.”

In addition to Russell, the Parkland Music Festival committee includes Nathan Seghers, secretary, Debbie Treen, treasurer, Carla Lewis, entry secretary, and members at large are: Sheila Ivanochko, Bonnie Lisitza, Miles Russell, Elfreda Fenske as well as other volunteers who contribute much time and effort throughout the year. 

“The Committee is very excited about the prospect of reviving the opportunity for a Music Festival in 2024. The public is encouraged and welcome to come and support the participants by attending any of the sessions, enjoy amazing musical performances, and be inspired by the dedication of students and teachers who develop the gift of music in our communities,” stated Miles Russell.

The Parkland Music Festival Committee has already begun the work of organizing the event. The preparation for the Festival takes many volunteers and several months of preparation. It is hoped that many in the Preeceville and Sturgis area would support the Festival by attending, and also volunteering. The location of the various performances will be confirmed in the new year.

The Parkland Music Festival Committee is planning a final concert showcasing some of the participants, as well as presenting scholarships and awards, on Sunday April 21, 2024 to which the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.