Prairie experiences influence piano adjudicator

Festival Fanfare

Last Festival Fanfare column, we introduced the vocal adjudicator, Chris Kelly, for the 2021 Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival. Chris was born in Prince Albert where he studied music, sang in the local boys choir, and eventually went on to enter the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan.

In keeping with the spirit of keeping travel circles small this year, piano adjudicator, Janet Gieck, also grew up in rural Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan culture and landscape have profoundly affected her musical output. After completing music degrees from Prairie Bible College (Three Hills, Alta.) and the Royal Conservatory of Music, she has had her compositions performed at many concerts, new music festivals and on CBC radio. Her pedagogical compositions are now listed on many different syllabi across the country. Passionate about sharing music with those in her community and beyond, Gieck is a member of the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects, the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association (currently serving as president of the Swift Current branch) and the composer’s collective Red Leaf Pianoworks.

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Currently, Gieck works as a member of the fine arts department at Millar College of the Bible in Pambrun, where she lives with her husband and three children. She is also in demand as a piano teacher, adjudicator and clinician.

With more than 200 festival entries in hand, the festival committee is adjusting dates so all the entries may be heard between April 19-24. There will be performances in piano, vocal, musical theatre, speech arts, strings and instrumental solos. All solos, duets and trios will be heard at the Dekker Centre with sessions live streamed and a small audience attending on-site.

Entries submitted by recording give students (and teachers) an opportunity to gain skills in that process that will probably serve everyone well as we move into the future post-COVID-19. Bands and other ensembles will be heard by recording made in the venue that the group usually uses for rehearsal. 

Vocal, musical theatre and speech arts classes will run April 19-20.  Bands and instrumental entries will be heard April 21.  Piano classes will run April 22-24. A recorded gala concert including the announcement of award winners will be created and made available for viewing.

Keep in mind volunteers are needed for the festival. Those who would like to add their name to the volunteer list can talk to any Committee member or email Also please encourage youth with visual art interests to create musical-themed entries for consideration in the annual drawing contest. The deadline is Feb. 26.

Influential songwriter and musician John Prine passed away this past year. He influenced many with his first 1971 album performed mostly on acoustic guitar. Bruce Springsteen said shortly after his death, “John and I were the ‘New Dylans’ together in the early ‘70s. He was never anything but the loveliest guy in the world – a national treasure and a songwriter for the ages.”

“Soon as I could play one guitar chord and laid my ear upon that wood, I was gone. My soul was sold. Music was everything from then on.”‑ John Prine  1946-2020

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