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First place at Canada West Performing Arts Festival for UCHS student

Steyn Hoogstad's winning year continues in speech arts competition.
Steyn Hoogstad
Steyn Hoogstad, centre, with his first place prize from the Canada West Music Festival event in July in Saskatoon.

UNITY — Steyn Hoogstad, 16-year-old soon-to-be Grade 11 student at UCHS, captured first place at the Canada West Performing Arts Festival.

The provincial performing arts associations of Western Canada (Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia) partnered to create the newly formed CWPA Festival. Starting in 2022, this festival offers the final level of competition for music festival participants in Western Canada.

For this win, Steyn received a mounted certificate and $1,000 in prize money.

Steyn started out by participating in district music festival, and in his case, performed at the Prairie Sunset Music Festival Association. Steyn was recommended from adjudicators to the provincial music festival finals, with the best performers at the provincial level invited to perform at the Canada West level.

Steyn’s mother, Helena Hoogstad, says, “Participating in this event requires many months of intense preparation. During the first four to six weeks, Steyn and his drama teacher, Stacy Berg-Lloyd, work through many plays, poems and books to find wide-ranging and challenging pieces that would offer him opportunities to grow as an actor.”

Research, character development, technical elements such as breath support, vocal range and resonance are also fine-tuned for performances. Local competitions offer the performer a chance to test audience reaction to their piece and build on valuable feedback from adjudicators, as well as gather new ideas and inspiration from other participants.

Steyn took part in the speech arts, 17 years and under, category.

How does Steyn balance high school academics, athletics and music festival preparation? “With a lot of effort, “Steyn says.

Academics are important to this student, and he also likes to play piano and violin as well as participate in wrestling, archery and cross country running. Because he lives in Macklin, his bus ride to Unity starts after 7 a.m., only returning home close to five in the afternoon. This results in extra effort to find additional time to prepare for music festivals and one of his strategies is to select and begin work on pieces as soon as possible and finds the travel time on the bus helps with his memorization work.

Helena adds, “Steyn is fortunate to have Stacy Berg-Lloyd from Provost as drama teacher. She is an outstanding teacher whose emphasis is on his growth as an actor.”

During the Canada West finals, Stacy had four students who participated in the speech arts category, with a first placement for Steyn, a second place in the under 12 category for Liné Linde in Macklin, and a third place for Paige Salyn from Provost in the under 24 category.

“She was the teacher with the best overall performances in speech arts. Steyn also worked under Antoinette Erasmus from Provost, who has played an important part in helping him develop his acting skills,” Helen adds.

Gaye Lynn-Kern, Canada West speech arts adjudicator said of Steyn’s performances, “Powerful, poised and polished with beautiful vocal tone, dramatic expression and intelligent phrasing.”

Steyn also saw successes in 2022 as he was a SHSAA provincial silver medalist for cross-country running with UCHS. He qualified for javelin for SHSAA provincial track and field and won a bronze medal in his first year of high school wrestling at SHSAA provincials.

Willem, Steyn’s brother, also advanced to the Canada West finals in the speech arts category. Willem is 14 years old and was one of the youngest competitors in the same 17 years and under category that Steyn performed in. The adjudicator praised Willem’s remarkable programming, outstanding imagination and the physicality of his characterization.