July 18th, 2024

Annual music and speech arts festival nearing

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on March 6, 2024.

File photo - Members of the LCI jazz band perform and work with an adjudicator at Southminster United Church during last year's Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival is gearing up to welcome artists from all ages to this year’s festival running from March 11 to the 23rd at various venues across downtown Lethbridge.

Festival general manager Jaimee Jarvie says the festival this year will see the return of accordions to its repertoire.

“We have lots of incredible disciplines, tons of participants within Lethbridge and surrounding districts, and this year we’re really excited we have accordions back,” said Jarvie.

She said they will have an accordion ensemble play at St. Augustine Church on Monday at 6:45 p.m.

“This is the first time in decades that we have seen accordions in this festival, so we’re really happy that we are growing and welcoming back all of the musicians and all of the amazing talent that Lethbridge has to offer,” said Jarvie.

She said this year the festival is offering three concerts with the firstbeing the kickoff concert March 13 at Southminster United Church starting at 7 p.m. Jarvie added admission will be done by donation with the proceeds going back to the Festival.

“That one is going to feature instrumental ensembles, so we have the Chinook and U of L guitar ensembles, the Windy City accordions, the LCI jazz band and the Con Brio Trio which is a chamber ensemble who won first place in the provincial festival and the Canada West festival,” said Jarvie.

She said the second concert will take place on March 16 at 2 p.m., also at Southminster, which will be showcasing musical theatre.

“That will showcase outstanding performances from the musical theatre discipline this year selected by our adjudicator,” said Jarvie.

And the final concert, the “Our Stars of the Festival” will take place on March 23 at 2 p.m., also at Southminster, to highlight members of all disciplines said Jarvie.

“Each adjudicator gives us outstanding performances in both the music and the speech arts and we invite them to come and showcase their performance for a concert,” said Jarvie.

She said she hopes many resident come out this year to support the hard work and dedication artists have poured into their disciplines.

“Every session is open to the public and we would love to fill the seats. These kids have worked so hard, and I think we just all need to come out and support them and enjoy some really outstanding music and speech arts,” said Jarvie.

The festival will be taking place in six different venues including The Owl Acoustic Lounge, Southminster United Church, Sterndale Bennett theatre, St. Augustine Church’s Hall and Sanctuary and the Casa community room.

“There are multiple venues going on a daily basis, so your best bet would be to purchase a program booklet because that gives you not only free access to everything that we do during this festival, but it gives you the full schedule day to day with the list of all of the venues,” said Jarvie.

While music related performances take up the majority of the festival, Jarvie said speech arts is something people won’t want to miss.

“We have a pretty outstanding community of speech arts in this city. I had the opportunity to check out some of the sessions last year and these kids are phenomenal, they do everything from Canadian poetry to Shakespeare,” said Jarvie.

 She added some write their own monologues and speeches, and since it takes place at St. Augustine’s Hall it gives them the opportunity to provide an intimate performance.

 “It always fills up, it’s just so exciting to see them, they are just outstanding. Definitely worth checking out,” said Jarvie.

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