After competing at the local and provincial level, 17-year-old Meagan Milatz has qualified to compete in the prestigious 39th annual National Music Festival. The event takes place in Montreal, Quebec from August 13 to 15, where Milatz will compete against the top pianists from across Canada.
Sixty musicians ranging in age from 13 to 28 years, representing the top winners from 10 provinces, will compete for cash awards in eight different categories: piano, strings, voice, woodwinds, brass, guitar, chamber groups, and percussion.
This will be the third time Milatz has represented Saskatchewan at the national level. Last year she received second place for her performance, solidifying her future as a pianist.
"(Winning competitions) has helped me be more motivated and a bit more certain that I want to do music in the future," said Milatz.
To compete in the National Music Festival, the musicians have to receive a first place standing in one of Canada's 230 local festivals, and Milatz did just that. She received two awards for her piano playing at the Weyburn Music Festival in March - the Rotary Club Alex Findlay Memorial Award for $400 and a $150 bursary from the Weyburn Arts Council.
After winning at the local festival, and upon adjudicator recommendation, Milatz proceeded to the Provincial Music Festival held this June in Prince Albert. She came away from the provincial competition with a first-place finish in piano and $1,200 in prize money.
At the national competition, the winner from each of the eight categories will receive a cash prize of $1,500, second-place earns $1,000 and third-place gets $500.
Each first place winner will then move on to the Grand Award Competition, in the form of a gala recital, where they perform in front of a panel of eight adjudicators. The judges decide which performer has given the outstanding performance of the evening, with a $5,000 prize to be won.
Milatz said that performing for a crowd on the piano is her passion and she hopes to pursue a career in her chosen discipline some day. However, despite receiving several awards for her skill, the young pianist remains modest.
"I would probably want to go the performance direction in music but there are many, many amazing pianists out there so the competition is tough," said Milatz. "Teaching piano is an option, as well."
The National Music Festival is held under the auspices of the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals. A National Music Festival has been held in different locations in Canada since 1972.
The festival provides a showcase for the country's finest amateur classical musicians and provides them with the opportunity to compete against other elite amateur musicians, be critiqued by world-renowned adjudicators, attend master classes and receive substantial scholarships.
Milatz has been taking piano lessons since she was five years old with piano instructor Cherith Alexander.
Milatz will be entering her final year of high school at the Weyburn Comprehensive School this fall. She lives on a farm with her family east of Weyburn in the Griffin area. She is the daughter of Paul and Brenda Milatz.