This year the Carnduff and District Music Festival showcased participants' performances on video through their Facebook page, while staying true to its core goals.
Pamela Dmytriw, the Carnduff and District Music Festival board president, spoke about this year's online festivities, which ran throughout the month of March.
She explained that the board opted for a showcase approach versus a virtual adjudicated festival to ensure accessibility for participants who may not have high-speed Internet.
"We decided to go with the showcase option because it still let us do all of the things about the festival that were important to us: to give the kids an opportunity to perform and allow them to share that performance with people."
Dmytriw shared that she got involved in the festival over a decade ago while teaching choir and drama in Oxbow. She wanted to show her students that anyone could perform at the festival, so she participated as an adult. Since then, she has taken on numerous leadership roles within the board to continue sharing her passion for the arts.
With this event, the board's priority was to recognize participants' hard work and foster performance art skills instead of focusing on judging or adjudicating.
"I think that it's really important for us to honour and celebrate the kids who are taking the time out of their lives to learn an instrument or to work on their vocals or to study the ability to write speeches and perform speech arts. I think that these are just as important as other extracurriculars that kids have the opportunity to do."
Dmytriw would like to emphasize that this creative approach to the festival was made possible by the determination and dedication of all board members.
Board member Jeri Geiger, who managed publicity, was instrumental in making sure all the participants understood the logistics of how to upload their performances. She also made sure that all of the posts were found and featured in the Facebook showcase.
Dmytriw and Lisa Macfarlane worked hard to stay in touch with the festival's sponsors and patrons, many of which enthusiastically jumped on board with the online showcase. Their generous donations provided participants with prizes and established a fund for a new piano.
Dmytriw expressed that "the community is amazing for making sure that the kids are celebrated, and that art and music are alive in our community."
A randomized prize wheel was spun each week for participants who performed during that time to encourage maximum participation. Additionally, those who participated multiple times were entered in draws for three $50 gift certificates.
Impressively, the festival received enough support from community members to give all of the participants a $25 gift certificate as a token of their work ethic in this year's festival.
Dmytriw is excited to see what the Carnduff and District Music Festival will look like in the future.
"I look forward to 2022 being an in-person festival and having the opportunity to all come together again, celebrate, go back to adjudication, and be able to work together to have a really successful event."
Ultimately, she feels that this year's festival made its mark on the community by providing performers with the chance to share their talent.
"I think it's just the opportunity to find something you love and be able to do it, and that's what we hope that we provided."