Youngest vocalists kick off music festival

Festival Fanfare

Aiden Lake from Radisson has created this year’s winning entry in the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival art contest. Photo submitted


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By Kelly Waters


Let the show begin! The Battlefords Music Festival opens Monday, April 19 at the Dekker Centre with a vocal session for participants six years and under. Livestream viewing is at making it possible for supporters of these budding artists to vie their performances. Imagine the memorable experience of performing on a professional stage accompanied by a concert grand piano.

Only participants, their teachers, accompanists, adjudicators, volunteers and Dekker Centre staff will be allowed to enter the building. Safety precautions for those attending in person include mask use, contract tracing information, assigned seating, social distancing, designated spots for storing instrument cases, no use of backstage areas and frequent sanitizing. Participants are asked to arrive no more than 10 minutes before their session starts.

Ensemble performances are submitting recordings so as to keep the number of people in the theatre at one time to a minimal.

Vocal sessions run in the morning, afternoon, and evening on April 19 with musical theatre performances scheduled during the evening session. Tuesday sessions are in the morning and afternoon with several senior performances scheduled.

Vocal adjudicator, Chris Kelly studied piano and was a member of the Prince Albert Boys Choir, eventually serving as their accompanist and director of junior choirs. He earned a double major, completing performance and academic requirements in both voice and piano at the University of Saskatchewan. He received a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Western Ontario. Chris has been a sessional lecturer in the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Music teaching voice and serving as an accompanist. He has also taught keyboard skills and musicianship. He maintains a private voice and piano studio and performs regularly in recital, opera and oratorio.

 Band and instrumental sessions are scheduled in the morning and afternoon of Wednesday, April 21. Adjudicator Mark Preece brings band and instrumental expertise. He began playing the tuba at age 12 in the Salvation Army. He is the principal tuba and librarian of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. He has master’s and bachelor’s degrees in music as well as a bachelor’s degree in tuba performance. Preece is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator with the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association. He is the tuba and euphonium instructor at Regina's Conservatory for the Performing Arts, teaches tuba and euphonium at the University of Regina, and is also on faculty at the International Music Camp in North Dakota.

Preece’s career has led him to performances in the United States, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan. Mark is also an active chamber musician as a member of Big Sky Brass, Regina’s professional brass ensemble, and the International Tuba Quartet. He has written arrangements for brass band, orchestral brass, brass chamber ensembles as well as pieces for solo tuba and tuba quartet.

The festival closes with three days of piano sessions, scheduled for the morning, afternoon, and evening of Thursday April 22. Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24, sessions are scheduled for the mornings and afternoons.

Piano adjudicator, Janet Tieckur, grew up in rural Saskatchewan culture where landscape has 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, Tieckur 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). She is in demand as a piano teacher, adjudicator, and clinician.

 Congratulations to Aiden Lake from Radisson, the cover image winner for 2021.

“I don't try to write songs that will further my career. I write about things that I care about. I don't have a career as much as I'm having an adventure with a guitar. I never liked the business way of doing it. You have to follow some sort of instinct.”

‑ Jerry Jeff Walker (1942 – 2020), best known for having written the 1968 song Mr. Bojangles

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