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Outlook & District Music Festival grows in 2024

Festival set to begin

OUTLOOK - The Outlook & District Festival of Music is set to begin March 11 and will take place over four days, an increase of a full day after the festival’s rebuilding year in 2023.

At the finale concert last April, it was noted that there was some nervousness in bringing the festival back after a three-year absence due to the pandemic. But the event was a resounding success. Festival president Sandy Stephenson remarked, “It was such a treat to bring the festival back and give students the opportunity to perform for an adjudicator and in front of an audience. We had a wonderful week and are so excited about the future.”

That optimism proved to be well-founded as an increase in entries in some of the disciplines is shaping up to make the 2024 event even better.

This year’s festival will feature performances in piano, handbells, choir, children’s chorus, choral speech, strings, spoken word, vocals and musical theatre.

The week-long event kicks off with piano performances adjudicated by Hannah Marple, a registered music teacher in Saskatoon who has been teaching piano and theory since 2008. She is passionate about bringing music to life by nurturing a curiosity in students that connects with real life.

Marple received her ATCL performance diploma from the Trinity College of London in Vancouver in 2017, became an RCM Elementary Piano Specialist in 2019, and a certified Music For Young Children teacher in 2020. She is currently pursuing a diploma in piano pedagogy with Kathleen Lohrenz Gable, in addition to solo studies with Bonnie Nicholson. She thoroughly enjoys collaborating with other artists, choirs, and instrumentalists, takes voice lessons and especially enjoys working together with her duet partner at the piano.

Hopefully while she is in Outlook she will have a few moments to check out the view because when she is away from the piano, Hannah says she is usually found outdoors – skiing, running or cycling along the South Saskatchewan River.

The other adjudicator for the week is Daniel McElroy, a singer and teacher born and raised in Saskatchewan. McElroy is completing his MMus: Vocal Performance degree at the University of Regina where he studies with Dr. Ron de Jager. He graduated from Briercrest College and Seminary in 2020 with a BA Music: Vocal Performance. A prolific performer, his recent roles include Perchik (Fiddler on theRoof), Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Adam (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). Having grown up competing in Saskatchewan music festivals, Daniel has received several major awards. In 2022, he took first place in the Moose Jaw Arts in Motion Sylvia Wilson Vocal Competition.

McElroy teaches voice, piano, music theory, musical theatre, and choir with the Briercrest Conservatory of the Performing Arts and has extensive experience with students from the elementary to college levels. He’s delighted to help the next generation of young performers realize their potential.

Printed programs outlining all the performers, classes, venues and times for the festival are now for sale at Outlook Printers and Riverbend Co-op. The festival finale, featuring selected performances from the week, will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Sunday March 17 at 2:30 pm.

With the festival ready to take center stage in town, the community is encouraged to come and check out the hard work of the performers. Stephenson said, “It’s a forum for young people to share their talents through song, individual instruments, musical theatre and spoken word. It is truly a celebration of music.”