June 22nd, 2024

In-person Music and Speech Arts Festival wraps successful return


By Ry Clarke - for the Lethbridge Herald on April 9, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke LCI Samuel Yamamoto directs one of the LCI band ensembles Friday, as the Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival wrapped up this week after returning to an in-person event.

Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival came to a close this week on Friday.
The second week of the festival hosted a collection of artists from around southern Alberta competing live in-person after having to cancel its 2020 season and restricting its 2021 season online. The return to in-person was much needed for the artists, many younger performers who compete in the festival but also gain experience from adjudication while connecting with fellow artists in the region.
Riley Vanderburgh competed in multiple classes during the festival, including Musical Theatre and Contemporary Voice, saying the event was a great opportunity to perform to live audiences.
“It’s really fun, just awesome to be able to perform and it’s nice to be able to get all these tips from the adjudicators, so that was really nice to get.”
Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival Society will work year-round securing venues and adjudicators for next year’s festival.
“It’s an all year thing,” said Megan Wittig, general manager for Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival Society. “We have the dates already booked for next year, because the Yates books up so fast. We have to get the venues sorted and then we sort out the adjudicators. The Board, in the meantime, is getting things approved for the budget. Then registration opens [around] December. After that, it’s the general manager’s job to schedule everything. Knowing how many classes, what’s going to be happening, creating a draft schedule of when we think things are gonna happen.”
Artists looking to compete also begin rigorous training going into next year’s competition. Starting in the fall, Lethbridge and District helps prepare artists with selecting pieces preform and working with younger performers, helping ease nerves and introducing them to festival style competitions.
Wittig says the rules are key to succeeding in the festival and making sure performers know the process helps them practice and succeed.
“It’s a learning opportunity, because preparing yourself for something like this is a whole other skill that doesn’t even have anything to do with your music. I know a lot of people are so much better at public speaking because they did this as a kid. It gives you the confidence; if I’m prepared, I can do it.”
Artists who performed this year have the opportunity to win trust scholarships, cash awards, and trophies. The Rosebowl, in honour of Dale Bartlett, will be awarded to the festival’s top performer at a ceremony held in May, along with a selection of competitors being recommended for other festivals, like Edmonton’s Music and Speech Festival.
The festival offers performance in southern Alberta an opportunity to experience art with other artists in the community along with honing their craft with adjudication from experts to grow and go further in their field.

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