There will be loads of entertainment for the community to take in during the Lacombe and District Performing Arts Festival which runs March 11-15.
Performances are held at various venues in the city including Burman University, St. Andrew’s United Church, and the Lacombe Memorial Centre.
“We always like to get the word out for the community to come and watch the performances,” said Emily Elder, one of the festival committee’s members.
She said a schedule will soon be posted on the festival’s website as to when and where particular performances will be held.
The deadline for entries has passed, but as Elder mentioned, encouraging the community to come out and cheer on the youngsters who take part is an essential part of the process as well.
Things wrap up with a grand concert on March 17 at St. Andrew’s United Church, which Elder described as a great showcase of what the festival is all about.
“They try to (show) all of the different disciplines that are in the festival,” she said.
“There is dance, there are strings, piano, speech — a whole bunch of different kinds of highlights during the grand concert.”
The grand concert is free to attend, and it also serves as the awards ceremony where they hand out awards for first-place performances from the festival.
According to the festival website, the Lacombe and District Music Festival Association was formed in the fall of 1981 and the first festival was held in the spring of 1982.
“The first festival had a total of 502 entries with an estimated 1,450 contestants taking part in vocal, choral, piano, accordion, band and instrumental, handbells, and speech.
“In the beginning, most of the entries came from Lacombe, but through the years the festival has become a focal point for the performing arts in the surrounding areas, including Delburne, Benalto, Sylvan Lake, Rimbey, Blackfalds, Lacombe, Bentley, Rocky Mountain House, Mirror, Ponoka, Tees, Clive, Red Deer, Rosedale Valley and Alix.”
Things have broadened a bit over the past while, as dance and fiddle disciplines have been added back into the competitive mix after having not been on the roster for some time, said Elder, who is also a local piano teacher.
She said the benefits of taking part are many.
“I think that it helps with confidence, and with providing inspiration and motivation,” she said, referring to her students.
“It gives them something to work towards as well, and then they go in and see other kids taking part, which in turn increases their sense of inspiration and motivation as well.
“I love getting the kids together who are preparing for the festival, and I also just love the fact that they get instruction from someone other than myself,” she added with a laugh.
“I don’t think that I’ve had anyone that has said after being in the festival that it was a horrible experience, or that they never wanted to do it again,” she added.
As to the festival itself, adjudicators are brought in to grade the performances as well, so it’s a rich time of learning for those taking part.
Meanwhile, Elder said the festival committee is always looking for new members to join and help organize the event.
“Also, the donors for the prizes come from different businesses and people within the community, too. If they have a certain discipline they’d like it to go to, they can also specify which one,” she explained.
“We are also looking for people who want to help out during the week of the festival, for example at the door (or ushering). If anyone wants to be a part of it that way, that is an option.”
For more about the Lacombe and District Performing Arts Festival, or to find out more about getting involved, visit www.lacombemusicfest.com.