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Tradition of music gets set for its 25th year

For the 25th anniversary, there’s even more Festival Nelson to experience.
The Trafalgar Middle School band warmed up for this weekend’s Festival Nelson by embarking on a tour of local elementary schools. For more on the festival turn to page 14 and for the full festival schedule check out pages 16 and 17.

For the 25th anniversary, there’s even more Festival Nelson to experience.

The city’s annual celebration of music education will bring more than 800 students from across Western Canada to town for two days of jazz, concert band and choral performances. All performances are open to the public, and this year that includes two professional concerts held each evening for competitors (see full schedule on pages 16 and 17).

Organizer Karen Walgren says the two evening concerts are normally open only to the student musicians, but with a smaller number of performers coming to town this year they’ve been able to offer tickets to the public as well.

“With school budgets being cut, we don’t have as many people,” Walgren says, adding past festivals have seen more than 1,000 students compete.

“A few years we had to add Trafalgar to the venue route because we didn’t have enough slots for people. This year we had enough just to run with our normal setup.”

The two-day festival is split between L.V. Rogers high school and the United Church. The first hosts band performances, the other choral groups. Unlike other festivals, students who perform aren’t given marks for their efforts — just constructive criticism when needed.

Competitors can be as young as eight, or about to graduate high school, and come from Alberta, Saskatchewan and other parts of the interior as well as local schools.

What’s the draw?

“The music teachers of Canada have a recommendation list, and we’ve been as high as the top three,”  explains Walgren. “For the quality and value for the money, we have one of the best festivals around.”

The community’s safe, supportive atmosphere has also been a draw, she adds. “Everybody’s friendly, everyone gets along and it’s a safe town for people to bring their kids to.”

Festival Nelson runs Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at LVR and 8 a.m. to noon at the Nelson United Church.

The evening concerts run at 7:30 p.m. at LVR, and feature Jude Davison Friday and the Don Clark Sextet Saturday. Tickets are $12.


About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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