A decades-long tradition will be making its return to the southeast corner of the province next month.
The 61st annual Carnduff and District Music and Arts Festival will take place March 8-12 at locations in Carnduff and Oxbow. About 250 entries have been received for the event.
It will open with the strings and guitar competition on March 8. Piano will be March 9-11, and instrumental and band will also happen March 11. Speech arts, vocal performances and musical theatre happen March 12.
“As always, we have a great deal of talent in our area,” said Pamela Dmytriw, who is the president of the music festival committee. “We are finding that in our guitar and our speech arts and our vocal, we lost a few senior students last year, so we’re kind of in a building year with the younger children again.”
The piano division has several skilled senior students who will graduate high school in 2020, she said, so it’s a great year to come out and listen to them before they move on to post-secondary education.
All of the disciplines are at the Carnduff branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, except for band and instrumental, which is at the Oxbow Prairie Horizons School.
The festival highlights and awards program will be March 16 at the Carnduff legion. Twenty-four of the top performers from the different disciplines will be invited to play their selections from the festival, and all those selected to receive scholarships this year will be recognized.
Four adjudicators have been lined up. Rudolf Sterndel will be the adjudicator for strings and guitar, Loren Hiebert will be tasked with piano, Wendy Zander McCallum will look after band and instrumental performers, and Brett Mitchell will evaluate vocal, speech arts and musical theatre.
Kicking off the festival’s activities will be a strawberry tea Feb. 29.
“It will be an opportunity for anyone in the community to perform,” said Dmytriw. “They can be festival participants and practise their festival pieces. It’s at the legion, the same as our festival is, so it’s a chance to use the piano and the use the space to see how it feels. But we also welcome community members to participate.”
Those who want to be part of the tea can contact Sharlene North at 306-482-7276.
The festival also features an arts component. Traditionally submissions have been based around a theme for the festival, but this year it has been opened up to any artistic piece. Then the artists will be divided into categories.
“Instead of having to create a piece of art based on the theme, this year anyone can enter, any child, and we also have an adult category as well.”
They will be eligible for various prizes and awards. Categories include black and white, colour and paint submissions, as well as one listed as other, which includes mixed media or collage. Participants are also divided into age groups of primary (nine and under) intermedia (under-13), senior (under-18) and adult (18 and up).
The arts component usually attracts 200-250 entries. Dmytriw credits the schools for being really good at getting their classes to participate and create something artistic. The committee hopes that this year’s changes will result in a more diverse selection of art for the festival.
She noted the festival wouldn’t exist without its volunteers, patrons and sponsors, and Dmytriw is grateful for their continued support.