At the Strings session during the last week of the Shuswap Music Festival, Andrea Case, strings adjudicator, praises the violin performance of four year old Michaela Vrana who was accompanied on piano by her sister, Georgina. The finale Gala concert, showcasing the Best of the Festival in Vocal, Piano and Strings, is on Saturday, April 29 at Nexus on First, 7 PM. Admission is $10 per person and $20 per family. Everyone is welcome. Discover more at ShuswapFestival.com.
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.
Nancy Leatherdale was born in Vancouver in 1915. Throughout her life, music played a prominent role. Even while raising her family of four children, she studied to obtain a performers diploma in solo singing from the Trinity College of Music London. While in Vancouver she began teaching music and was active in the Vancouver Women’s Music Society.
In 1971 when she moved with her husband Ken to Salmon Arm, she began to host guest performers at “living room concerts” on her grand piano. Musical recitals were also a regular occurrence in their home. Nancy loved to teach and quickly acquired a full roster of students in voice and piano, ranging from beginners to full degree level coaching. She taught music for sixty years
She helped form the Shuswap Chapter of the B.C. Registered Music Teachers Association and was the local representative for the Royal Conservatory. As well, she joined forces with the Shuswap District Arts Council to raise funds for a grand piano to be used for community events.
Nancy continued to attend music workshops and learn from master teachers throughout her life. She eagerly attended the Shuswap Music Festival, appreciating the opportunity to listen to the adjudicator’s remarks. At the age of 80 she began cello lessons.
The scholarship established in her memory is meant to assist future performing students to continue their studies in music.
The Shuswap Music Festival Society is elated over the arrival of its latest acquisition–a 52 Inch Upright Kawai piano. The full-size upright has the same size string board as a grand piano. Purchased by the Society with a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Salmon Arm- Shuswap, known as the “Evening” club, the piano arrived late January, in plenty of time for the 2023 Festival in April. Jane Hein, a Festival Society board member, was instrumental in arranging the purchase and delivery of the piano from a private owner in Penticton. “We are so lucky”, exclaims Hein, “The piano is in immaculate condition! it’s a very high-end piano.” The purchase of the piano actually generates a significant cost-saving for the Festival Society by eliminating the recurring annual piano rental and moving expenses. “Within two years we will recover the cost of the piano.”added Hein.
The new home for the piano is First United Church. With the piano at the Nexus venue, Festival organizers are assured of offering the full-range of piano categories including duets and other two-piano entries at the Shuswap Music Festival. The Upright Kawai has a smaller footprint than the Church’s Grand Piano, making it an ideal option for accompaniments to violin, cello, vocal, musical theatre, and choirs. The Board of Directors for the Festival is grateful to both the Shuswap Rotary Club and the First United Church for their generosity and support.
The 2023 Shuswap Music Festival runs from April 11 to 29. This is the first year since 2019, due to Covid-19 restrictions, that the Festival is able to include the full range of disciplines–Piano, Strings, Vocal, Choral, and Band. Registration for entries closed January 31 and plans are underway for the April event. The Festival culminates with a Gala concert showcasing the Best of the Festival. Everyone is invited to attend. This community festival is only possible through the sponsorship of the three Rotary Clubs of Salmon Arm and the support provided by the generous donations and grants of the Shuswap Community Foundation, City of Salmon Arm, SASCU, private foundations, local businesses, and private donors. Community volunteers are essential to assist with hosting the Festival. To learn more and to become involved, check the website at www.ShuswapFestival.com.
Rotarians from the Shuswap Rotary Club of Salmon Arm gather to admire the newly arrived Upright Kawai piano at the First United Church. The club donated the funds for the purchase of the piano to the Shuswap Music Festival Society. Housed at the First United Church, the piano will be used for Festival sessions at Nexus.
Highlights of the Festival Gala — A Musical Journey
‘Youth and Age’ bookended the first performance at the Shuswap Music Festival Gala held Friday April 29 at Nexus in Salmon Arm. The celebratory event showcased a range of young musicians on their musical journey. The youngest performer in the Festival–five-year old violinist Georgina Vrana– accompanied on piano by the much elder nonagenarian, Tom Brighouse, captured the hearts of the audience with their opening performance.
A suite of talented musicians in strings, piano and vocal, from entry levels to the highest grades entertained the concertgoers. Students were recognized for their achievements at every level with awards and scholarships made possible through the generosity of donors, sponsors and memorial funds. Adjudicators select the winners. The “Best of the Festival” awards go to the top performers.
Autumn Sunderland won “Best of the Fest in Strings”. Kathy Dunfield, Shuswap Rotary Club, presented this talented 13-year old with the award. Autumn performed Elgar’s Salut d’amour Op 12 to a mesmerized audience. When the strings adjudicator heard her play this piece during the Festival, he held back tears and exclaimed that he had no advice to improve her perfect performance!
Matteo Thiessen won two top awards: “Best of the Fest in Vocal” presented by Garry Hoffat, Rotary Club of Salmon Arm, and the Mary Fowler Memorial Scholarship from the Shuswap Community Foundation. Matteo is also an accomplished cellist.
Rich Smith with Daybreak Rotary Club presented the “Best of the Fest in Piano” to Teslyn Bates. Teslyn has participated in many Shuswap Festivals and this will be her last. In the fall, she will be entering the University of Victoria to study music. Teslyn also received the Klein Family Award from Gabi Klein. A beautiful performance by Teslyn of Chopin’s Etude Op 25 no. 7 concluded the evening of entertainment.
Nathan King won Outstanding Senior in Piano and the Blair Borden Memorial Scholarship from the Salmon Arm Arts Council. Evje Knutson and Sadie Maddigan shared the Georgina Lazzarotto Vocal Award. Awards for Band provided by SASCU and presented by Darlene McBain went to A.L. Fortune for Best Middle School Band and to Jackson Grade 10 for Best Secondary School Band and Best Jazz Band.
The list of Festival Awards includes:
PIANO: Outstanding Junior: Anna-Maria Zebroff
Outstanding Intermediate: Nico Glanville
Intermediate Duet: Amy Milne and Aimee Glasser
Outstanding Senior: Nathan King
Senior Duet: Nathan King and Jenna Maclean
Concert Class: Julianne Derochie
Level 1: Georgina Vrana
Level 2: Liam McBride and Tamara Mead
Level 3: Liam Spencer
Level 5: Brodie Maclean
Level 6: Gideon Breugem
STRINGS: Outstanding Junior: Charles Weathermon
Outstanding Intermediate: Aya Swerdelian
Outstanding Senior: Anya Massa
VOCAL: Outstanding Junior Classical: Evje Knutson
Junior Musical Theatre: Evje Knutson
Outstanding Intermediate Classical: Sadie Maddigan
Intermediate Musical Theatre: Sadie Maddigan
Senior Musical Theatre: Ariel Klim
Congratulations to the winners and to all the musicians who participated in the Festival. By next year, post-Covid-19, the Festival organizers plan to re-instate Choral in the disciplines offered.
The Shuswap Music Festival is one of 34 regional festivals in BC. Eligible Candidates from these festivals are recommended by the adjudicators to compete at the BC Performing Arts Provincial Festival. This year the provincial competition will be held in Virtual format. Mayor Allan Harrison announced the candidates recommended for the BC Provincial Festival as follows:
PIANO: Intermediate: Teslyn Bates (Alternate: Nathan King)
STRINGS: Junior A: Autumn Sunderland (Alternate: Hannah Breugem)
VOCAL: Junior Classical: Evje Knutson
Junior Musical Theatre: Joy Braby Pel (Alternate: Leah Parenteau)
Intermediate Classical: Matteo Thiessen
Intermediate Musical Theatre: Sadie Maddigan
Senior Musical Theatre: Ariel Klim
Winners from the BC Provincial Festival are eligible to compete at the Canada West Performing Arts Festival in Saskatoon from July 21-23, 2022. Good luck to our Shuswap candidates as they continue their journey.
The Shuswap Music Festival is made possible by many volunteers and the generous donations of patrons, Rotary, the Shuswap Community Foundation, City of Salmon Arm, SASCU, and local businesses. Visit the website at ShuswapFestival.com for a full listing of donors, more about the Festival and this year’s award winners. Follow us on Facebook.