Celebrating local music talent in the New Year

Festival Fanfare

Here’s to 2020 and celebrating local musical talent through the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival. This year’s festival is scheduled to run from March 24 to April 5. Deadline for entries is Saturday, Jan. 20. Fees for solos, duets, trios and small ensembles are $15 per entry. Band, choir and large ensemble entries are $30 per entry. Late entries will be accepted with a $25 late registration fee per participant. As the festival entry system moves along with technology, an online profile can be created for the entry system (Music Festival Suite) at any time, even for those not ready to submit entries. If a student or teacher has a profile from last year, it will be saved in the system, accessible by password.

Participants are welcome for adjudication by experts in the field of each musical discipline and recommendation to the provincial and national competitions. To be eligible for scholarships and awards, participants must be 19 years or under and have lived in the Battlefords and district for a minimum of six month prior to the festival or be furthering their education elsewhere, but still supported by parents living in the Battlefords district. Areas of competition for musicians include voice, piano, guitar, strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, pipe and electronic organ, choir/school music including special education, multicultural, speech arts (individual verse and speech therapy classes, storytelling), small ensembles and band and orchestral classes.

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Information about regional, district and provincial music festivals can be found on the Saskatchewan Music Festival’s website http://smfa.ca. The Saskatchewan Music Festival Association was established in 1908. The Battlefords festival is one of 47 district festivals in Saskatchewan. The SMFA is committed to promoting excellence in music and speech arts by providing performance and educational opportunities through competitive music festivals. The SMFA provides a provincial syllabus, entrance to annual provincial, concerto and opera competitions, as well as the National Level of Music Festival competition. Member festivals are organized by local volunteers and judged by qualified professional musicians. Entrance to SMFA festivals is accessible to all ages, all ethnic groups and people of all religions. Participants may enter any classes for “adjudication only” and forego marks and scholarships. The SMFA hires more than 170 qualified professional musicians to serve as adjudicators each year.

The board of directors for the SMFA announced, for the 2020 festival year, the creation of the SMFA Senior Excellence Classes, available to competitors at the district festival level with opportunity for advancement to provincial finals. Also, the first SMFA musical theatre competition will take place in February and the new concerto classes, at provincial finals.

The committee of volunteers is always looking for more parents, grandparents and community-minded people to step forward and say, “How can I help?” If you have any interest in offering support, contact a committee member or indicate interest on your child’s registration. If your time is not available, but you or your business would like to support the festival monetarily, consider sponsoring an award to be presented at the final gala event, sponsoring a session for a music discipline or being recognized as a patron or friend of the festival.

“Finally, my father said to get a job or go to school. So, I looked into Juilliard. I asked my father if he would pay for it if I got in by audition. He said he would. So, I practiced the most complicated pieces I could find. I took the audition, and when I was done, there were no smiles or frowns. A week or so later, a letter arrived. I was accepted into the school. I was exposed to classical music and became amazed at how much jazz harmony came from Stravinsky and Ravel. We’d analyze the scores of classical works, which got me into arranging. Eventually I was devoting as much time to music theory and writing as I was practicing the saxophone.”  – Words from an interview with Jazz Legend Ray Santos (1928- 2019)

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