A Renewed Festival Returns

The annual Shuswap Music Festival returns April 11-29 and reinstates the full range of disciplines. The Pandemic had forced the cancellation of the 2020 festival, necessitated a virtual festival in 2021, and required a much-reduced festival in 2022.  For the 2023 Festival, Choirs, Piano Ensembles and a much larger Band section rejoin the event. The venues have also changed. Sessions for Piano, Strings, Vocal and Choral will all be at Nexus at First Community United Church. Bands will perform for the first time at Song Sparrow Hall. Acclaimed professional musicians adjudicate all performances. They critique and coach performers and inspire excellence–a hallmark of the Shuswap Music Festival. 

At pre-pandemic festivals, the Choir and Piano Ensemble evenings drew large crowds. This year, six choirs have entered the festival. Three adult choirs will be performing the evening of Wednesday, April 12, starting at 6 PM, and three school choirs are scheduled for the morning of Friday, April 14, beginning at 9 AM. Piano Ensembles, slated for Wednesday, April 19 (6-9 PM), feature costumed pianists performing duets and ‘two piano-8 hands’ selections.  Its great entertainment! The adjudicated sessions are open to the public, and admission is by donation.

A highlight of the festival will be the 13 school bands performing at Song Sparrow Hall. From Tuesday, April 18 to Thursday, April 20, the bands from throughout the local School District will have the chance to play in a professional performance centre, learn from adjudicators, and compete for awards generoously provided by SASCU. This huge increase in the band competition is atrributed to the enthusiasm and support of Michelle Reed, Vice-Principal of Music, School District 83. “Festival is a fabulous opportunity for the music program,” exclaims Reed.” And Song Sparrow Hall is a treat and a draw for bands ready to get back to performing, post-Covid.”

The festival concludes with a Gala concert and awards ceremony on Saturday, April 29, at Nexus. This community event showcases the development of fine young musicians and vocalists in the Shuswap. Admission to the Gala is $10 per person or $20 per family. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Festival Programs and more information, including the biographies of the professional musicians adjudicating this year’s festival, are available online at www.ShuswapFestival.com.

Volunteers to help host the festival are needed and can register online.