ASSINIBOIA — Roy Ayers once said, “The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.”
It’s that time of year when local musicians and music teachers are preparing to showcase their work at the annual Assiniboia and District Music Festival. The 2024 event takes place March 20-23.
Music festivals bring communities together, foster local pride as well as provide a great way to form partnerships. The event allows attendees to mingle and share a positive, enriching experience featuring local talent.
The Saskatchewan Music Festival website states, “Cultural Impact, since 1908, the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association (SMFA) has grown with our province, always in step, always in tune. Our mandate requires us to work closely with the many people who come together to keep the festival movement alive and well in Saskatchewan, including: music and spoken word students; teachers; parents and extended family; volunteers; donors/supporters, and audience members.”
Assiniboia’s annual Music Festival offers entertainment, the ability to support those young people performing and can offer positive inter-generational connections. Because of the opportunities of each year’s music festival, students can set goals to showcase their abilities with the added benefit of receiving adjudication from professional musicians.
Julie Petersen of ADMFA committee says, “From the best of our knowledge ADMFA has been running since 1935. “
The 2023 event had 140 entries with performances taking place at Assiniboia Alliance Church.
“Currently the ADMFA board and volunteer committee are working hard planning the upcoming festival, including: booking the venue, planning the program, booking hotel for the adjudicator, making sure there is a plan for the piano to be tuned,” adds Petersen.
A steak night will take place March 14 and the committee is hoping for continued community support for that prelude event as well as the festival itself.
A volunteer schedule is being created for those to help run the music festival, working on grant applications to help fund the festival in addition to contacting their generous donors who are from a variety of local businesses, organizations and individuals that provide scholarships wanting to see the arts continue in the community. Petersen notes that some of the donors have been contributing for many years while the committee has seen some new ones come in this year.
A popular festival wrap-up event follows the week’s performances known as “Stars of the Festival” and it takes place March 28, with the scholarship’s winners, picked by the adjudicator, performing their numbers.
The volunteer board includes Julie Petersen, president; Raegan Rasmussen, co-chair; Karen Reisner, treasurer; Cecette Brons, Rhodes communications secretary; Tina McCaslin, entry secretary; and committee members Leese Kuntz, Iryna Kenes, Teri Hanstock and Michelle Guan.
“The music festival is a great asset to the local community. Local businesses, hotels, and restaurants are supported by the adjudicator as well as the friends and family of the performers.”
ADMFA says, “There is a minimal charge to enter, it is always worth it and spectators will get to see who the current and upcoming musicians in our community and local area are. “
This industrious committee is working on planning festivals for upcoming years, choosing dates already for 2025 and 2026, to ensure venue is confirmed.
Funding for the operation of the festival which includes paying adjudicators, printed programs, venues and other expenses, comes from generous donations and entry fees during festival week.
Come and experience the broad talent from Assiniboia and area performing a wide variety of musical options in piano, string, voice, spoken word, choir and lively musical theatre performances. Performers range from juniors all the way to seniors and work hard to perfect their pieces for each year’s music festival.
Henry Wadworth Longfellow best describes the making and performing of music in our world, saying, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”