Noah Koehoorn and Hannah Ryckman (with page turner and teacher Anita Stushnoff) in last year's Creston Festival of the Arts showcase concert.

Noah Koehoorn and Hannah Ryckman (with page turner and teacher Anita Stushnoff) in last year's Creston Festival of the Arts showcase concert.

Creston Festival of the Arts showcasing talent in music and drama

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The Creston community is invited to enjoy the upcoming Creston Festival of the Arts, starting at Feb. 26 and ending with the grand Festival Showcase concert on March 6. For the most part the festival is free for spectators, but donations are gratefully accepted.

First, about the festival: The Creston Valley Music Teachers’ Association has a festival committee. The mission statement of the festival committee is “to encourage and promote musical education and advance public understanding and appreciation of the performing arts as a beneficial aspect of community life.” The committee members, who are all volunteers, do this by holding an annual approximately weeklong festival, where registered participants are adjudicated by top quality adjudicators (brought in from across Canada) in designated levels of classes. Top performers, chosen by the adjudicators, then perform at a final showcase concert at the end of the festival. Some of these chosen performers have the opportunity to proceed to the provincial level of tiered festivals.

How does the Creston Festival of the Arts work? To start with, funds need to be raised to pay for the festival, with about 60 per cent of the raised funds going toward the cost of the adjudicators. For instance, this year’s piano adjudicator is Susan De Burgh, the artistic director of the piano academy at Victoria’s Conservatory of Music.

There is purposely a minimal registration fee for participants to ensure a large reach. Registration fees do not nearly cover the costs of the festival. Most of the funds come through the Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Initiatives Program, from Regional District of Central Kootenay Areas B, C and the Town of Creston. Area A has also granted funds for past festivals. For all the years of the Creston Festival of the Arts, the committee and participants would like to sincerely thank Areas A, B, C, and the Town of Creston for helping the community grow in the performing arts. Many have benefitted from these festivals, and many past registrants have gone on to further their careers in the performing arts.

Besides funding, the festival’s syllabi have to be published online, adjudicators have to be procured — and all the arrangements made for their stay in Creston — venues have to be booked, registrants have to be organized into classes, award monies have to be collected for presenting to top performers, registrations with the BC provincial festival and national festival have to be done, and also the adjudicated classes and the showcase concert have to happen. This all takes an army of volunteers besides the 10 or so that are on the festival committee — drivers to pick up adjudicators from the airport, adjudicators’ assistants for each of the classes, front of house people and more.

This year’s FA has three disciplines: strings, piano, and speech arts and drama.

Piano and strings recitals will be held at the Creston Baptist Church, with piano ensembles and speech arts and drama at Prince Charles Theatre.

Strings starts at 1 p.m. Feb. 26 and proceeds through the evening of Feb. 27. There is a strings workshop, open to the public, at 10:15 a.m. Feb. 27.

Piano starts at 9:45 a.m. Feb. 29 and proceeds through the afternoon of March 1. There will be a piano workshop at 10:30 a.m. March 2. The piano workshop is free to all festival registrants, with a $10 drop-in fee for teachers and others who wish to audit this lecture.

The community can also benefit from the speech arts and drama classes, which are occurring from March 1-4.

The Festival Showcase concert is 2:30 p.m. March 6 at Prince Charles Theatre. There is no admission charge, but donations would be most welcome.

Schedules and information about the Creston Festival of the Arts can be found at www.crestonfestivalofthearts.ca.

CRESTON FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS