GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – The Kiwanis Club of Grand Falls-Windsor is preparing for thousands of students to embark on the 53rd Central Newfoundland Kiwanis Music Festival this month.
The 2018 festival will take place March 18-23 at various venues throughout Grand Falls-Windsor, including the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts and a number of churches in the community.
“This festival is something to be talked about,” festival co-chair Allan Bradley said. “It’s a chance to showcase music and choral speech talents of students from all over central west region.
“It’s all about children. It’s all about the music. It’s all about showcasing.”
Approximately 3,000 students will participate in categories including school choirs, solo speech, instrumental, brass instrument bands, piano, vocal and musical theatre.
“There are a lot of different genres of music all wrapped up in this one-week festival,” Bradley said.
Participants come from as far east as Lewisporte, south from Harbour Breton and the Bay d’Espoir area, and west from Springdale.
Five adjudicators will give advice and recommendations to participants. Calvin Powell will adjudicate musical theatre; Phil Roberts, junior and senior piano; E. Mark Murphy, senior voice and choirs; Kerry MacPhee, bands and instrumental; and Rebecca McDonald, junior voice and choral speech.
Bradley said two years ago he had the privilege of driving in one of the adjudicators, Ian Sutherland, from St. John’s.
“I found out he was from Lewisporte and won the Rose Bowl here approximately 20 years ago,” Bradley said. “He’s now the dean of music at Memorial University. He told me if it wasn’t for this music festival he wouldn’t be where he is today.”
Adjudicators provide a written evaluation and grade for every piece performed during the festival, Bradley said. They’ll usually talk about what the performers do well and some areas they could to improve.
“It’s always done in a very positive learning environment,” he said.
Adjudicators are educational and can keep the students’ attention, no matter how big the choirs, he said.
“This is a great opportunity for students to not just showcase their talents but experience the things that go with being on stage with a large choir and being adjudicated by a professional,” Bradley said. “The idea of sitting there listening to other choirs is such a wonderful opportunity.”
“Not all families can afford individual lessons, so that’s why we really get excited and try to encourage the choirs and the schools to put them in,” co-chair Sandra Evans added. “That’s one way they can be in there and get that little bit of stage presence and build that confidence.”
Behind the scenes
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to pull off such an event. Along with the co-chairs and music festival committee, many volunteers make it all possible.
There’s someone in charge of coordinating all the venues and appointing coordinators for each venue. They in turn recruit volunteers to help at each location.
There were more than 80 volunteers last year, Bradley said.
Adjudicators have to be selected, housed and supported, and they each have a volunteer accompanist working with them all week.
There’s a volunteer for logistics and volunteers overseeing the awards, making contacts with award sponsors and ensuring someone will be on hand to present the major awards at the Highlights of the Festival Concert.
During the week there are also public events highlighting the many talents of participants.
They annual Family Night this year has been changed to Family and Friends Night Wednesday, March 21, 7 p.m. at the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts. Tickets are available at any of the venues where sessions are held throughout the week.
“That’s always a fun night,” Evans said. “It’s so great to see the family involvement because for a lot of children, this is probably the only opportunity they have to perform and I firmly believe this festival is a real confidence builder.”
The annual Rose Bowl will take place at 1 p.m. on March 23 at the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts, followed by a minor awards ceremony 3 p.m.
The Highlights of the Festival Concert, where major awards will be presented, will be held at 7 p.m.
A weekly pass covers the Rose Bowl, or there’s a cost of $5 for general seating.
The minor awards ceremony has free admission for general seating.
Tickets for the Highlights of the Festival Concert can only be purchased at the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts box office for $20.