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Festival Fanfare: Deep understanding of choral music to benefit adjudications

The 2023 Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival is scheduled to run from March 13 to 25.
Marcia McLean has a long resumé of work with choirs and choral groups.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Vocal, choral, spoken word and the popular musical theatre classes for the 2023 Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival are scheduled to start March 20. This year’s vocal adjudicator is Marcia McLean.

McLean is currently the artistic director of the Swift Current Oratorio Choir and an adult chamber choir, Prairie Spirit. She also teaches private voice lessons, gives choral workshops and adjudicates. She adjudicates for the Saskatchewan music festivals and has adjudicated at the Moose Jaw Band and Choir Festival, Brandon Jazz Festival and Brandon Music Festival. In January of 2014, members of the Oratorio Choir travelled to New York to perform Karl Jenkin’s “Stabat Mater” in Carnegie Hall with several choirs from around the world.

In 2010, McLean retired after 18 years as director of choral music at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School. There she conducted an 80-voice concert choir, a vocal jazz ensemble and the Comp. Chamber Singers. In 2010, the Chamber Singers were selected to perform at the Association of Canadian Choral Community’s convention held in Saskatoon and in 2007, performed at Festival 500 in Newfoundland. In addition, the choir presented showcase concerts at the Rocky Mountain Festival and won awards at Music Fest Canada and the Heritage Music Festival. McLean was the founding director of the Swift Current Children’s Choir and conducted the choir for 12 years. Prior to teaching in Swift Current, McLean taught music and choir at Esterhazy High School for 12 years, conducting both vocal jazz and concert choir.

McLean earned a Bachelor of Music at Brandon University, serves on the board of the Swift Current Music Festival and is a member of the Sask Choral Federation. She served as president of the Sask Choral Federation for four years and has just completed her term on the board. McLean was guest conductor of the Sask Choral Federation choir camp in the summer of 2011 and on numerous occasions served as vocal coach at the SCF summer camps. In 2004, McLean was awarded the “Pro Musica Award” by the Sask Choral Federation for outstanding service in the choral community. In 2001, she received the “Paul Harris Fellowship” from the Swift Current Rotary Club for outstanding leadership and community work with young people.

For local budding visual artists, the festival committee welcomes youth 18 years old and younger in the Battlefords area to enter the annual musical image drawing contest. Selected pieces will be featured in the festival program and in the festival venues. One entry will be chosen as the winner with the artist being recognized. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 26th. Submissions are to be directed to Battleford Central School attn: Lindsay Charabin 252-23rd St. (Box 400) Battleford, S0M 0E0. Though any music theme is considered, the committee is encouraging the theme this year of “Music Lifts Us Up.” Artwork submitted should be on letter-size white paper using a medium of choice (black ink, pencil, coloured pencil, marker, crayon, acrylic, pastels, watercolour) but should have a white background. All artists must print their full name, phone number, school and grade on the back of their entry so their work can be considered for display. All submissions become the property of the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival and may not be returned when the festival is completed.

The festival committee is pleased to be able to offer live streaming for festival sessions again this year. Students invited to perform at the final gala and awards ceremony will again have the opportunity to bring their talent to the world-class stage at the Dekker Centre. For local folks and businesses wanting to support the festival, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Correspondence can be directed by email to the committee secretary Chinley Hinacay at [email protected] or to Box 1301, North Battleford, S9A 3L8.

The 2023 Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival is scheduled to run from March 13 to 25. Band, instrumental, strings is scheduled from March 13 to 16 using the Kinsmen Band Hall and the North Battleford Comprehensive High School Lecture Theatre as performance venues. Voice, spoken word, musical theatre and piano is schedules from March 20 to 25 using the Sanctuary and Logie Hall of Third Ave United Church.

“For me I have learned to enjoy everything, especially performing live, so much more. I used to get horrible stage fright when I was younger and today and just love to sing for anyone who still turns up at my shows. A lot of songs are inspiration and help people through pain, grief and loss.” — Olivia Newton-John (1963-2022)