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Working around the pandemic to celebrate music

Festival Fanfare
festival fanfare

One constant during a pandemic is change. The Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival is committed to accommodating live performances at the Dekker Centre for the 2021 event. With continued restrictions for public safety, appropriate adaptations are being created.

Current guidelines from the SHA state that no audience members will be allowed in the festival venue. That means a “live” festival with the adjudicator in the room, along with participants, teachers, volunteers, videographer and venue staff. The performances will be live streamed for all others interested to see and hear.  

SHA is calling this a “virtual” festival in keeping with government guidelines for sports and activities. Singers and wind instrumentalists are permitted to perform without a mask so long as a mask is worn while entering and exiting the stage, removing it to perform. There will be plexiglass barriers in place in front of the performers for added safety. Pianists, string players and percussionists will wear masks as they perform.

Current scheduling accommodates students being in groups of 10 while in the theatre area, giving plenty of leeway in terms of staying under the maximum number of 30 people allowed at one time. This group will be able to hear each other perform and listen to live adjudications.

A global pandemic is a time in which we navigate and navigate we will. The 2020 festival, as many other events this past year, was cancelled making its perseverence this 2021 music festival season exciting no matter the circumstances.

All three of this year’s festival adjudicators are from Saskatchewan.

Vocal adjudicator, Chris Kelly, studied piano and was a member of the Prince Albert Boys Choir, eventually serving as their accompanist and director of junior choirs. He earned a double university major, completing performance and academic requirements in both voice and piano at the University of Saskatchewan. He received a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Western Ontario. Kelly has been a sessional lecturer in the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Music teaching voice and serving as an accompanist. He has also taught keyboard skills and musicianship. He maintains a private voice and piano studio and performs regularly in recital, opera and oratorio.

Piano adjudicator Janet Tieckis grew up in rural Saskatchewan. Culture and landscape has profoundly affected her musical output. After completing music degrees from Prairie Bible College (Three Hills, Alta.) and the Royal Conservatory of Music, she has had her compositions performed at many concerts, new music festivals and on CBC radio. Her pedagogical compositions are now listed on many different syllabi across the country. Passionate about sharing music with those in her community and beyond, Tieckis is a member of the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects and the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association (currently serving as president of the Swift Current branch). She is in demand as a piano teacher, adjudicator, and clinician.

Adjudicator Mark Preece brings band and instrumental expertise. He began playing the tuba at age 12 in the Salvation Army. He is the principal tuba and librarian of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. He has master’s and bachelor’s degree in music as well as a bachelor’s degree in tuba performance. Preece  is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator with the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association. He is the tuba and euphonium instructor at Regina's Conservatory for the Performing Arts, teaches tuba and euphonium at the University of Regina and is also on faculty at the International Music Camp in North Dakota.

Preece’s career has led him to performances in the United States, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan. He is also an active chamber musician as a member of Big Sky Brass, Regina’s professional brass ensemble, and the International Tuba Quartet. Preece has written arrangements for brass band, orchestral brass and brass chamber ensembles as well as pieces for solo tuba and tuba quartet.

With more than 200 festival entries in hand, the festival committee is creating the performance schedule, adjusting dates so that all the entries may be heard between April 19-24.  A recorded gala concert including the announcement of award winners will be created and made available for viewing. Keep in mind that volunteers are needed for the festival. Those who would like to add their name to the volunteer list can talk to any committee member or email

In way of honouring the passing of artists from 2020, Nicholas Eduardo Alberto Cordero was a Canadian actor and singer born in Hamilton, Ont. who eventually made his way to Broadway. He passed away last July due to COVID-19 complications at the age of 41 after battling the disease for 95 days. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role as Cheech in the 2014 Broadway musical Bullets Over Broadway and was twice nominated for Drama Desk Awards.

Cordero met his wife, Amanda Kloots, when they were both performing in Bullets over Broadway. They married in 2017.Cordero is survived by their one-year-old son, Elvis. Throughout his COVID-19 battle, Kloots gathered virtually with fans and well-wishers at 3 p.m. every day to sing and dance to Live Your Life cheering on Cordero’s recovery. After his death, Koots said on social media that “3 p.m. will forever remind me of Nick. Thank you so much for the past 95 days singing withme.”


“My parents were big Motown fans, I grew up with a lot of soul music in the house, but as a young person getting involved with theatre I became exposed to the standards, there were cabaret shows with Hollywood songs, war songs, things like “I’ll Be Seeing You”, I became exposed to those lyrics which were from early pop songs. One of the reasons I connected to this score (A Bronx Tale) is because it reminded me of early pop music, we have the doo-wop sound, and a Bobby Darin sound, but we have something like “One of the Great Ones” which is Sinatra style.” ~ Nick Cordero(1978 – 2020)