July 20th, 2024

Music and speech arts festival a success

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on April 2, 2024.

Trombonist Tavis Dueck plays the lead during a performance by the LCI Gold Jazz Band as part of last month's Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival. Photo by Ian Martens

Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival is a competitive art festival which ran from March 11 – 23, this year featuring approximately 2,500 performers from ages five and up.

“It was just a really beautiful gathering of arts in the city. And it was an amazing way for all of these students to showcase the hard work that they put into their craft,” said Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival general manager Jaimee Jarvie this week.

The festival wrapped up with the “Stars of the Festival Showcase” concert which highlighted 15 exceptional performances, as selected by the adjudicators.

“We had our stars of the festival showcase concerts, and that has performances from all disciplines to cater for the outstanding work that they did during the festival, so I could not be happier with how things went honestly,” said Jarvie.

The festival was held at various venues downtown, including Casa, Southminster United Church, Sterndale Bennett Theatre, St. Augustine’s Church, and the Owl Acoustic Lounge.

Jarvie said although it is a competitive festival this year the adjudicators took the opportunity to make the festival into an educational learning experience for competitors.

While first and second place finishes are awarded, adjudicators ran sessions as little master classes for performers.

“These kids would just get up, they would do their stuff. And then the adjudicator would bring them back up one by one, and almost give them a mini lesson in front of the entire audience and other competitors.

“I really noticed that a lot of these competitors started to make friends with each other, and they would come back to other sessions to support each other. Although it is a competitive festival, it really is starting to feel like a community,” she said.

She expressed the appreciation the Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival has for all its sponsors and donations.

“Every year we have an awards night where we give out thousands of dollars in scholarship awards that are donated to us… The festival couldn’t run without these people. It’s pretty fabulous that we have the support of the community.”

Jarvie said she was impressed with the community turnout.

“I was really impressed with the turnout. That was the one thing this year that I was really hungry to see grow because these performers work so hard to pull this off…

‘There was a few people that I ran into, and they had their programs and everything was bookmarked, and they were gonna go to this session on this day and this session on that day. It’s a really amazing way to see like pretty world class performances for next to no money. So, if you’re into the arts, that’s the place to be.”

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