Nelson is set to host the Kootenay Festival of the Arts in 2016.

Nelson to host Kootenay Festival of the Arts

Annual festival set to run March 28-April 16 at Capitol Theatre.

It’s Nelson’s turn to host the Kootenay Festival of the Arts in 2016.

The festival opens with its dance events March 28-April 2 at Capitol Theatre. Piano, speech arts, choral and vocal, strings and guitar, and woodwinds run April 11-15, also at the theatre, while a festival highlights concert wraps everything up April 16.

The Kootenay Music Festival had its inception with representatives of the Trail Veteran’s Orchestra and the Nelson Symphony Orchestra setting up a joint committee to plan for a Kootenay-wide festival in the spring of 1930. Founders realized that one of the most challenging problems was a suitable venue for the large number of participants and audiences anticipated. The decision to use both the Trinity Church and the Opera House proved very wise as, within a short time, nearly 1,000 competitors were registered in 187 classes.

The very first Kootenay Music Festival was held on May 29 and 30, 1930 in Nelson’s venerable old Opera House. Shortly after, on July 17, 1930, the Nelson Musical Festival Association was incorporated under the Societies Act as the governing body of the annual Nelson Music Festival, or Festival of the Arts as it is referred to today.

With financial and artistic success behind them, planning for a 1931 festival in Trail began. A Trail Music Festival Association was assembled, and the Kootenay Music Festival has alternated between Nelson and Trail almost every year since that date, with a wartime break from 1943-46, and from 1964-67 when, with help from the Canada Council, it was once again revived.

This venerable two-week festival has been a cultural cornerstone of the history of Nelson and Trail and all the surrounding communities since 1930. Indeed, it is one of the oldest festival traditions in British Columbia. Its goals have always been to inspire, educate, evaluate and promote regional students in the performing arts disciplines of piano, strings, voice, choral, dance, drama and speech arts. The festival supports the many disciplines of performing arts teaching in our region, through schools and private teachers. The Kootenay Festival of the Arts has embraced new forms of performing arts expression, while respecting and upholding the historical forms.

The Committee must receive entry forms by Jan. 31, 2016. Extra entry forms may be downloaded from our website, kootenayfestivalofthearts.ca. Completed entry forms must be surface posted or couriered, and received by the Jan. 31 deadline. Entries submitted after the closing date will be accepted up to Feb. 10th and must include a late entry fee of $10.00 per entry in addition to the regular entry fee.