By Heather Fleming
For the past 36 years, the Kiwanis Music Festival of Guelph has been providing performance opportunities for young, aspiring musicians in our community that are second to none. Every spring, venues across the city resound with the musical offerings of talented, young performers. Professional adjudicators offer constructive feedback and encouraging critique to performers of all ages and levels in a wide variety of disciplines including piano, strings, voice, brass & winds, recorders, guitar, harp, pipe organ, digital piano, speech arts, chamber music, choirs, bands, and orchestras.
It has been my pleasure to serve as the Festival Coordinator for the past eight years and as an assistant before that for several years. Every year, I am amazed by the incredible musicianship and talent displayed by all the developing musicians I have the pleasure of hearing. From the tiniest little 5-year-old string and piano players to the experienced teenagers ready to head off to post-secondary degrees in classical, jazz, and theatre programs, it is very evident that everyone is so dedicated to their craft and has worked so hard to develop their technique and prepare for their performances. Our local teachers, as well as the parents and the performers themselves, are to be commended for their dedication and hard work. Some 150 teachers encouraged their students to participate in the Festival this year, and there were over 900 entries. If we count all of the performers in the choirs, bands, and orchestras, we can estimate that approximately 2,500 performers participated in the 2017 Festival! The Kiwanis Music Festival is the largest youth services program in the arts in our community.
Every year, students look forward to the Festival with great anticipation. Participants get to experience the opportunity of performing for an appreciative audience, listening to other performers, and having the benefit of receiving valuable feedback from professional adjudicators. Aspiring young musicians need performance opportunities to work toward, and the Kiwanis Music Festival provides this valuable experience. Receiving constructive critique from a professional musician other than one’s teacher can be very inspiring and educational. It is also wonderful to watch the camaraderie that develops between solo competitors and members of ensembles as well. Music is the universal language, transcending race and culture, and helping young performers develop empathy, tolerance, and appreciation for the incredible uniqueness of each other.
On Friday, May 12 at St. George’s Anglican Church at 7:00 PM, the Highlights of the Festival Concert & Awards Ceremony will be taking place. The entire community is invited to attend this stunning concert featuring some of the finest performers heard during this year’s Festival. A wide variety of disciplines and styles will be represented by various ages and levels, and each performer is sure to impress! Over $13,000 in scholarships will be awarded to some 160 deserving soloists and ensembles as selected by this year’s adjudicators. Tickets are available in advance through the River Run Centre Box Office or can be purchased at the door on Friday evening. $15-Adults, $10-Seniors/Students, $5-Children 12 & Under.
Hope to see you there!