Suki Simington plays the piano. Photo submitted

Kootenay Festival of Arts begins April 3

350 entries from 150 students


Special to the Star

As a former violin student and frequent participant performer in the Kootenay Festival of the Arts, I remember this being the time of year spent in sheer anticipation of both excitement and nerves. Performing on stage in front of my peers and the esteemed adjudicators lasted only minutes, but it took months of preparation and polish to define that performance at the event that was considered to be the pinnacle of my year—the showcase where all my family, friends, and peers could witness my artistry and musicianship. The chance to perform at a highlight concert with the best and be invited to the Provincial Festival or perhaps even win a monetary prize made the Kootenay Festival of the Arts, deeply rooted with history and tradition, feel so grand. Regardless of it’s grandeur, the Festival created an atmosphere of praise and encouragement for all of it’s participants, no matter the age, skill level, or hometown, and offers acknowledgement for the countless hours of hard work spent preparing for the momentous live performance. I can attest that it’s truly an elevating experience for the performer and for the audience who are honoured to take home the memory of witnessing the performer’s passion for their art.

This year’s Kootenay Festival of the Arts on Tuesday, April 3rd in Nelson with workshops and performances in dance. There are 350 entries from 170 students participating in dance classes this year in ballet, contemporary, modern, tap and jazz including group numbers. Of particular interest will be the ballet and modern classes on Wednesday, April 4th with the stage and more modern classes on Thursday, the 5th and Friday, the 6th. Dancers will be given feedback in ballet and modern dance from adjudicator Chelsea Beamish, a well-traversed member of the dance world for over 25 years who has danced, taught dance, and manages dance companies all over the world including India, Ireland, England and South Africa. Adjudicating the stage classes will be Lori Birk, who has taught and performed internationally and has choreographed performances for TSN’s 4 Nations Cup and the NORCECA Games Opening Ceremonies amongst other showcases. Dancers are coming far and wide for the Festival from the Okanagan, Kamloops, Grand Forks, Spokane, and of course, within Nelson, Trail and Rossland. All the dance classes will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre, with the Highlights concert in dance on Saturday, April 7th at 7:00pm. Audience entrance to all the sessions of the festival is by donation.

Following dance will be strings, guitar, piano, winds, chamber groups, choral, speech and vocal arts all starting on Tuesday, April 17th and taking place at church venues around Nelson. This year’s profile adjudicators are Ingrid Attrot for voice, Carla Birston for strings, Murray Nichol for piano, and Doug Sonju for winds. The Festival will conclude with a Highlights concert in these disciplines on Saturday, April 21st starting at 7:00pm at the Capitol Theatre.

The Kootenay Festival of the Arts is made possible by its generous sponsors and financial donors, a list too long to mention here. The festival is run entirely by a dedicated committee of volunteers who would like to thank those individuals, businesses and organizations who have donated, for without them the festival would not exist. The festival committee would also like to acknowledge the Columbia Basin Trust, the City of Nelson, Nelson & District Credit Union and the Osprey Foundation for their support.

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