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Lacombe Performing Arts Festival marks another successful run

Dancers Kaitlyn Worr and Nevaeh Russell performed during the Lacombe and District Performing Arts Festival. (Photo submitted)

This year’s Lacombe and District Performing Arts Festival marked another successful showcase of local talent.

Performances were held at various venues in the city including Burman University, St. Andrew’s United Church, and the Lacombe Memorial Centre from March 11-15.

The number of participants this year topped 587 — including those in groups like choirs and orchestras, said Emily Elder, one of the festival committee’s members.

Things wrapped 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.

The grand concert also served as the ceremony where awards were handed down for first-place performances from the festival.

“The grand concert was such a great selection of all of the different areas of the festival. There was fiddle, dance, duets for piano and violin; there was a cello duet, and there were speech arts. I thought that it was such an enjoyable concert with all of the different styles.

“It’s a great showcase overall of what has happened throughout the festival,” she said, adding that the turnout for the event was excellent as well.

“I think that (parents) also appreciate having this opportunity in the community for their children to grow,” she added of the overall event.

It also provides a means for helping prepare students to feel more confident in sharing their skills on more of a public platform as well, she said.

“I like that the feeling of our festival isn’t so much about competition, as much it’s about learning and sharing,” she said.

“That is the main goal and focus of our festival.”

Elder said things went very well during the event.

“The adjudicators are also always so encouraging to the participants,” said Elder, adding that not just Lacombe and area students take part, but many come to the city from across the Central Alberta region too.

“We have an open festival. Some festivals are only for the area where the event takes place, but we open it up to our surrounding areas as well,” she said.

“And now, some of the students will go on to provincial festivals to represent Lacombe and the area.”

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 participating 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 feels like a big accomplishment for them,” she said of the event’s impact on the students.

Meanwhile, Elder said the committee is always looking for new members to join and help organize the event.

For more about the Lacombe and District Performing Arts Festival, or to find out more about getting involved, visit

Stanesha Deligence performs at St. Andrews United Church. (Photo submitted)

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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