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Festival Fanfare: Students connect to audiences

Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival April 15 to 27.
music teacher student
Festival committee president says students learn perseverance, dedication and commitment.

THE BATTLEFORDS — The opening day of the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival is right around the corner. Printed programs are available to purchase at Sobeys. Inside that program are “welcomes” from our local festival president and the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association (SMFA) president. Our Battlefords area president, Kitty Morin, reflects that “students learn perseverance, dedication and commitment through working towards their festival performances. Through their talent and artistic abilities these students create a connection with their audience. These experiences will enrich their lifelong growth as members of the community.”

Jeri Ryba, the SMFA president cheers, “Good luck to all participants, and thank you for working so hard to prepare. Audiences across the province are ready to support your endeavours. Adjudicators are ready to encourage and guide you on your journey.”

Opening the 2024 festival on Monday, April 15, with adjudicator Mark Tse, are young instrumentals in small ensembles and duets. Younger students will be sharing their skills throughout the morning and the afternoon. The evening features the North Battleford City Kinsmen Bands (NBCK); both the youth and the adult bands. Tuesday will continue at the band hall with school-grade ensembles and young soloists. Band classes run through Friday, April 19. Strings classes are also during that week at the band hall scheduled in the evening of Wednesday, April 17th at 7 pm. Vocal classes, which include speech arts and musical theatre, are scheduled Monday, April 22 through Wednesday, April 24 in the Third Avenue United Church. Piano classes are scheduled Wednesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 27, also hosted in the Third Avenue United Church. 

The gala awards, at the Dekker Centre, is Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. Performances at the gala are highlights from the festival chosen by the adjudicators. Awards and scholarships will be presented at the gala award concert; recipients must be present. Tickets are $10 for seniors, and $15 for adults and children under 18 years of age free. Donors, sponsors and performers are also free. Tickets for the gala may be purchased through the Dekker Centre or at the door that night.

Local participants also have the opportunity to be recommended for the provincial competition being held this year in Saskatoon May 30 through June 2. District festivals are allowed two district winners to the provincial finals for each Provincial Scholarship Class and each Canada West Excellence Class provided the qualifying mark (88 minimum) has been attained. To qualify, participants must enter and compete in at least two solo classes in the same discipline at their district festival. Performers must not exceed 28 years of age for Provincial Scholarship Classes, or 24 years for Canada West Excellence Classes. Memory work is mandatory at the provincial level. The Canada West Performing Arts Festival is being held this year in Victoria July 25 through July 27.

In way of reminders for festival participants, it is important to be on time and to hand in your music (with the first bar of each line numbered) to the session secretary before the session starts. Note that practising in festival halls during the festival week is not permitted. Any questions or concerns should be directed to committee members as the adjudicator should not be approached. No unprogrammed entries will be accepted unless the failure to include the entries resulted from a festival committee error. Any change must be approved by the festival committee and will be performed for adjudication only. Using copyrighted photocopied music is illegal unless accompanied by a letter of permission from the holder of the copyright; using photocopied music subject to copyright results in disqualification.

In terms of reminders when viewing performances, common courtesies include entering or exiting the hall between performances and turning off cell phones or computers while in the festival venue. Photographs and videos of performers and adjudicators cannot be taken in the festival hall. Please note that the festival venues are scent-free. Be sure to celebrate the accomplishments of each performer with congratulations always in order.

We have a tradition of passing our history orally and singing a lot of it and writing songs about it and there’s kind of a calling in Irish voices when they’re singing in their Irish accent.”— Sinead O'Connor (1966-2023)