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Festival Fanfare: Talented students shine

2023 festival wraps up with gala awards night.
Music 3
More than $9,000 in awards and scholarships were presented as the festival wrapped up at the Dekker Centre March 28.

THE BATTLEFORDS — The annual Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival culminated March 28 at the Dekker Centre with the celebratory gala awards evening. Students invited to perform had the opportunity to bring their talent to this world-class stage.

The more than $9,000 in awards and scholarships were possible due to the generous support of local individuals, community groups and businesses. 

One of the awards highlighted was the Norm Lehman Trophy for the most outstanding instrumental performance. Lehman was a retired military band director who, more than 50 years ago with an iron baton, helped develop the tradition of excellence thriving in bands and instrumentalists.

Local teacher Phoebe Cutbush, whose students dominated the voice and choir classes for many decades, is another festival ancestor who was honoured with an award; the Phoebe Cutbush Crystal Cup for outstanding vocal performance of a Canadian composer.

The most prestigious award for piano at the gala is the Hickson Cup presented to the most outstanding piano Solo. Engraving on this Cup extends well back into the last century, illustrating the generations of pianists who have passed through the festival system. 

During band sessions, adjudicator Daryl McKinnon spoke of the history and reputation for excellence in Battlefords area band programming. He said he was pleased to see this continuing. He applauded the high-standard work of local teachers in primary and secondary schools. With 36 bands and small ensembles entered, the festival committee was pleased to see entries starting to return to their pre-COVID levels.

Another area of the festival that saw an increase in numbers was spoken word. Marcia McLean, who also adjudicated musical theatre and voice, was impressed by the poise and stage presence of the young competitors. Musical theatre was, as always, a crowd-pleaser. The number of vocalists who have been recommended by the adjudicator to provincials is indicative of the high calibre of local students and teachers. Piano adjudicator, Maria Medlow, was also impressed with the level of preparation of the students reflecting their dedication and commitment. 

Congratulations to participants selected by adjudicators for the competitions beyond local; the provincial competition in June in Regina and the Canada West Performing Arts Festival in July in Edmonton. 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 all volunteers, we thank you for all the time, energy and dedication you put into the 2023 music festival as it’s not possible to run a successful festival without you. Thank you to all the teachers, parents and family members that support music education in our community. We now look forward with excitement to the 2024 Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival.

“I don’t think about commercial concerns when I first come up with something. When I sit down at the piano, I try to come up with something that moves me.” - Lamont Dozier (1941 - 2022; an American singer-songwriter from the Motown era


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