Any venture backed by persons possessing talent, enthusiasm and a capacity for hard work is bound to succeed.
Back in 1986, two local teachers with a common interest, Jo Anne Knobbe and Monte Anderson, combined their talents, and that of their students, to form the Focus on Youth festival in Creston. This very successful festival was expanded the next year to include local public and private schools. Under the leadership of Margaret Lavender and with significant contributions from Elizabeth Hutton, Alanda Green and the local school district fine arts committee, this festival has developed in to a weeklong series of delightful concerts at the Prince Charles Theatre and an art show at the Creston and District Community Complex.
Prince Charles Secondary School has made donations, but with ongoing funding being cut by the school district, the Focus on Youth committee must raise additional funds to cover the cost of the theatre and technical time. To this end, a special alumni and friends concert is being organized for 7:30 p.m. May 5 at Prince Charles Theatre. Many former performers, along with adults who support this festival, will be performing in this one-time concert.
Jo Anne Knobbe, who is returning from Regina, Sask., to attend this 30th Focus on Youth festival, will be performing on the piano. Monte Anderson will also be lending his support to this concert with a turn on the piano as well. Rita Macdonnell, Margaret Lavender and Lynn Johnson, three very strong supporters of the festival, and all retired teachers, will be singing for the enjoyment of the audience.
Emma Kade, who is making a name for herself on the local music scene, performed with her Erickson school classes. Her dad (Ivan Boutet) taught her to play guitar when she was 13. She started writing songs shortly after that. People liked her songs, which motivated her to become a professional musician.
Brooke Douma, the Prince Charles Secondary School drama teacher, performed in the first two FOY concerts. In 1986, she also played the part of Ruth, the pirate maid, in the Adam Robertson Elementary School production of Pirates of Penzance.
Christie Beier, a noted local dance instructor, performed dance numbers in the festival from 1986 through 1991. As an instructor she had students performing in concerts from 1993 until 2010.
Tim and Jenny Plouffe, who performed in FOY from 1992 until 1997 have also performed at the Snoring Sasquatch. As well as B.C., they have performed in Alberta and Manitoba.
Sisters Brittney Boehmer and Simone Wiebe will also lend their talents to the show. Boehmer recently played Julie Jordan in the Footlighters production of Carousel. Wiebe has not only performed in many Footlighters shows but has also been their musical director. Another performer, with a long list of Footlighters shows to her resume, and is performing as a friend to FOY, is Suzanne Chubb.
Micah Snow will perform a guitar solo. After school in Creston, he attended the four-year Selkirk College music program, and has performed regularly in professional and amateur shows ever since.
Additional performers in the show include Ilana Cameron, and Aaron Francis and his son Max.
This strong lineup of talent should make for an interesting evening of entertainment. Tickets for this special concert are adults $10 and children $5. Tickets are available at Black Bear Books or at the door.
—FOCUS ON YOUTH