The best musicians and theatre arts performers are putting their talent on display as the Kootenay Festival of the Arts continues in Nelson next week.
“The Kootenays have got talent,” said Bruce Hunter with the festival. “We’ve been going since 1930 and this is the way Canada’s talent is discovered and mentored.”
The Kootenay Music Festival began 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.
“We are one of 34 festivals in British Columbia and it’s non-competitive,” said Hunter.
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.
Hunter said the festival is really a jumping off point for students and teachers to not only get feedback about their performances but to go on to provincial and national festivals.
“Some of the kids are chosen by the adjudicators — we have four adjudicators who are part of a pool of adjudicators used by those festivals — to go to the provincial festival and sometimes we subsidize them if we can if we’ve been able to earn enough money locally,” he said.
Many of the students who participate in the Festival of the Arts are taught by private instructors.
“With the private teachers — and this is a public school teacher talking — that’s where you get the focused attention on improving your skills so that you can get out there and market them,” said Hunter.
Last week there were more than 100 students from the Kootenays to the Okanagan to Spokane performing in dance at the Capitol Theatre.
A selection of those dancers were chosen to perform at the dance gala.
“That was well attended and well received,” said Hunter. “Next week it’s all the others — strings, piano, vocals and speech arts — and they are happening at three churches and they all culminate for the gala on Saturday, April 13 at the Capitol Theatre.”
For a full schedule of events head to kootenayfestivalofthearts.ca.