An excellent end to this year’s Peace River North Festival of the Arts on Sunday, with more than $1300 in music scholarships awarded and two more delegates chosen to represent the region at provincials in June.
Ranita Luo was selected the delegate for Junior A piano, and Geneva Iten the delegate for Intermediate Woodwind, both high and rare achievements for their respective divisions.
“We don’t get a lot of music delegates because the standard at the provincial level is so incredibly high, even at a really young age,” says festival organizer and president Margaret May. “It is really quite an achievement."
The eight-day festival, which began April 21, was the first in three years, and for students a return to the stage from the pandemic after competing virtually the last two years. This year's festival also saw more than $6000 in dance scholarships awarded, and 20 delegates selected for provincials.
“It’s such a treat because it’s been a while since we’ve seen them on the stage,” says May. “I’m always impressed at the talent and ability we have in the community, and the work that goes on behind the scenes to produce all the performances. That is thanks and credit to all the teachers that put in all those hours.”
And it was a treat for visiting adjudicators too, among them dance adjudicators Justine Fraser from Kelowna and Alexandra Clancy from Vancouver, and music adjudicators Norene Morrow from Kelowna, Dr. Michael Keddy from Victoria, and Frank Ho from Edmonton.
"It's my first festival in three years, to come and adjudicate, and come and help students grow from what their teachers have been doing with them. It's great to have the opportunity to share music because that's what music is all about,” said Keddy, the performing arts instructional leader at St. Margaret's School, and music director of the University of Victoria Don Wright Symphonic Winds and the Greater Victoria Concert Band.
"I look for them to have some joy in what they do," Keddy added when asked what he looks for when evaluating a student. "They're learning about music but learning to be personable with it, make a connection to music, and with each other."
"Where there are a lot of good things are happening and the sound is really good. The student is working on things like balance and blend, so they make the style of music sound like it was intended," he said.
May says organizing the annual festival is always personally fulfilling, while also an opportunity for students to watch their peers perform — “always inspirational,” she says— and to get feedback from accomplished professionals to set goals they can hone with practice.
For young artists in the community, the chance to learn a discipline, improve their discipline, and be given the opportunity to perform in public, even if it can be terrifying, are invaluable life skills, says May.
“What festival and music training gives you is beyond measure,” she says. “The opportunity to perform and present brings life skills that kids carry with them their whole lives.”
An honours concert featuring provincial delegates and best of festival performances is scheduled for June 4 at the cultural centre, where this year’s provincial team will also be formally introduced. This year's virtual provincials will start June 5 and run until June 9.
May says the local honours concert on June 4 is one residents won’t want to miss.
“I encourage everybody to come to the honours," she says. "If you have one night to go check out the festival, that’s the night to do it because there’s a little bit of everything."
- Own choice, All Grades Scholarship: Esperanza Iten
- Baroque, Grade 1-3 Scholarship: Janelle Zacharias
- Baroque, Grade 4-8 Scholarship: Carissa Zaldy
- 20th Century/Classical, all Grades Scholarship: Renaldy Zaldy
- Romantic, Grade 2-3 Scholarship: Janelle Zacharias
- Romantic, Grade 5-10 Scholarship: Varenka Iten
- Baroque, Grade 4-6 Scholarship: Andrew Jones
- Baroque, Grade 8-9 Scholarship: Stella Jarnagin
- Romantic, Grade 6-9 Scholarship: Simon Jones
- Impressionistic, Grade 9 Scholarship: Ranita Luo
- 20th Century, Pre-Grade 1-Grade 1 Scholarship: Sylvia Hanna
- 20th Century, Grade 2-3 Scholarship: Malachi Jopio
- 20th Century, Grade 4-8 Scholarship: Quinelle Pereira
- Classical, Grade 1-5 Scholarship: Tamara Belcher
- Classical, Grade 6-9 Scholarship: Ranita Luo
- Duet: Simon and Andrew Jones
- Popular: Jimin Kim
- Canadian, all grades: Adaora Okafor
— with files from Dave Lueneberg
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