June 22nd, 2024

Music and speech arts festival set to return


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on February 5, 2022.

Herald file photo by Ian MArtens Logan Bayly and AJ Drouin warm up with the Lethbridge Christian School Grade 7-8 Band before their performance at the 2019 Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Board of Directors of the Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival Society announced their 2022 festival will be an in-person event.
This year the Festival will run from March 28 to April 9 and registration is now open until 11:59 pm on Friday, Feb. 18.
“We’ve been in the city, one group or another, has been running this music festival for over 90 years,” said Megan Wittig, general manager of the Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival Society.
Wittig said that previous to 2016 the Kiwanis Club had been in charge of the festival for many years.
She said the festival has only been cancelled twice in the 90-plus years it has been running. One of them was in the 1970’s due to a blizzard and the second time was in 2020 due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wittig said that after a cancellation and having to do it virtually in 2021, everyone is excited to be able to offer the 2022 festival in person once again.
She said the festival is an opportunity for amateur performers to perform and get a chance for an adjudicator to grade them and help them grow their passion.
“We’re also affiliated with the provincial festival, so they have the opportunity to be recommended on to the provincial festival in Edmonton,” said Wittig.
She said there will be a big festival in the summer in Saskatoon, and those who get recommended from the provincial festival can go to that one as well.
“This year we’re trying to work around some COVID protocols, so our venues this year will be the Yates Theatre, the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, which is behind the Yates and Saint Augustine’s Church,” said Wittig.
She said they are performing in various venues to provide attendees with enough room to social distance and to utilize the spaces for different types of performances that happen simultaneously.
Wittig said this year they have performances from bands, choirs, speech arts, classical voice, contemporary voice, musical theatre, guitar, and instrumental which includes woodwinds, brass and percussion.
“This year strings is a big discipline for us and then piano as well,” said Wittig.
She said there are a multitude of awards up for grabs, with a list of them displayed on their website.
“It’s quite a bit of money, we have some really gracious donors which allows that to happen,” said Wittig.
The board of directors continues to monitor the pandemic environment and is prepared to adjust the festival format in the best interest of the festival participants, audience, and stakeholders.
Chair of the board of directors Sandy Brunelle said the board actually wears two hats. They are a not-for-profit society, therefore they have to make sure they are in compliance with all the government regulations that are required for a not-for-profit society, but then when the festival approaches they put on a different hat and sometimes they wear both at the same time.
“The board helps in the area of marketing, advertising, hospitality for adjudicators, any of the set up if we have our festival office moved to the Yates, find all the volunteers we need for each of the sessions that we have,” said Brunelle.
She said the board is a working board, but wears different hats at different times of the year and they are currently looking for more members from all walks of life.
To register and for more information about the festival visit http://lethmsf.org

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