June 21st, 2024

Inspiration is the goal for music festival adjudicators

By Lethbridge Herald on March 30, 2022.

Herald Photo by Ry Clarke Melanie Baux, adjudicator, gives helpful tips to performers in the Junior Voice Class on Tuesday at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.

Ry Clarke – for the Lethbridge Herald

The 2022 Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival is a great opportunity for artists to take to the stage and get real world guidance from adjudicators, helping them hone their craft. 

The festival began Monday with its Musical Theatre Classes at the Yates Memorial Theatre, and this week also includes performances from solo to choral singing, guitar performances, along with piano, band, and speech. 

Adjudicator Melanie Baux says she looks forward to the festival and getting to listen to amazing young performers. 

“My goal is to give them something tangible as a takeaway. But also make them feel encouraged and inspired.” 

Megan Wittig, general manager for the festival, notes the adjudication process is a mixture of judging and teaching, looking to see what the performers bring, but also how they can improve upon it. 

“They like to see what’s really good, what’s growing, what’s already developed. Then they look for things to improve on […] so that they can leave, feeling really good about what they did.” 

Coming from all areas, the festival is given a list of candidates from the Provincial Association that submit yearly reviews on the adjudicators making sure the judges are professional and practicing fair judging. 

“Some of them have been around for a really long time. They’re really well known, within Alberta, which is really great. And lots of them have done national work as well” and bringing that experience to the festival so their advice and judgement can help performers grow.

Baux says one of the goals of adjudicating is being able to help cement the lessons they have already learned and get performers to open up and grow. 

“You need to realize that the adjudicators come in to hopefully give you a takeaway. But I always realize that most of the things I’m saying they’ve probably heard from their teacher, but it’s just good to hear in a different way or from another person to reinforce it. Sometimes it’s just enough to get you to do that one extra step to help you grow and encourage you to do something that maybe you’re scared to try.”

The lessons performers learn at the festival helps them grow strong with their work and helps them to place higher. But the adjudication process can also aid students outside of competitions, with the chance for scholarships and grants. 

Wittig says adjudicators have great technical knowledge in their fields that help focus on details others might miss. 

“We talk [to adjudicators] when we’re getting awards, seeing if there’s anyone we’re recommending or if there’s someone they really want to encourage. Because some of that scholarship money can go towards further education as well.”

The festival goes until April 9 with daily performances on weekdays, tickets are $3 or $15 to get a program booklet which allows entry to all sessions. 

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