BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The 36th Annual Lacombe & District Music Festival is only a few weeks away, and registrations are needed before Jan. 16th.
The Festival takes place from Feb. 27th to March 8th, bringing an array of experts in various musical fields to work with students and community members in building their skills.
Educators and experts in the fields of strings, guitar, piano, choral choirs, bands, vocals and even speech will be available through the week to share their knowledge.
“The festival is primarily a chance to give students someone to listen to their work, and to give them positive feedback and little hints about how to improve a little more,” said one festival organizer, Judy Foulston.
“We want more students to be involved and more access to experiences. It’s fabulous to be getting more teachers here and kind of picking their brains to see what we can learn from. It’s great for the teachers, it’s great for the students – we can all learn from it.”
Registrations are being accepted until Jan. 16th. People can go online to lacombemusicfestival.com to view, download or print the registration forms and for more information on application guidelines.
Foulston said the Festival is focused towards students aged 24 and under, but there is plenty of room and available classes for adults in the community to participate in.
“For example, within the choirs category we see church choirs, adult choirs and a variety of other groups coming to enter. It’s just fun to learn from the experts – at any age,” she said.
Awards are presented during the Grand Concert at the conclusion of the festival, in a variety of cash prizes from $50 to over $250.
“The rewards are based on the opinions of the adjudicators. We give them a form to keep note of top performers in each category or area there is an award for. Those awards are assigned based on results of performances and the potential of students.”
During the Festival, students can be recommended to continue onto the Alberta Music Festival and further onto a national platform. Foulston said these positions are of great value to the music festival guests and that they allow for growth and new opportunities for the students.
“At each of those levels, awards are given out as well, but more importantly, students are given more exposure to practice and performing, as well as expertise and advice from professionals.”
Foulston said this year she is hoping to see greater numbers of people signed up for the speech category.
“When I first came here, small children from as young as four- or five-years-old would learn a poem and go up to present that. Lots of young people would do readings or poems from classic or even modern poetry, and now we have quite a few less people taking part in that. I would love to see more people take advantage of that program.”
Foulston said the festival is also seeking volunteer help.
Meanwhile, those wishing to participate are encouraged to register before the spots fill up and the deadline of the 16th hits.