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Summer event organizers optimistic

St. Albert Rotary Music Festival, Rainmaker Rodeo and Children's International Festival of the Arts provide updates
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Will large festival-like events happen this year? One day, COVID-19 numbers are down. The next day, they’re back up. Even with eyes glued to the statistics and growing variants, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about what will happen.  

Despite the flip-flop data, organizers for the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival, Rainmaker Rodeo and Children’s International Festival of the Arts remain positive and have plans in the works. 

St. Albert Rotary Music Festival 

One of only a few running this year, the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival will be showcasing the talents of young regional musicians from April 6 to 16. 

While organizers have little control over the pandemic, they have brought in a top-notch recording studio. Pika Audio is recording each performance for online adjudication. Some of the performances will be incorporated into Encore 2021, the festival’s final grand performance, streamed on April 29. 

Pika Audio uses a fully portable multi-track setup. It specializes in recording live off the floor venues and doing specialty recordings on location. 

Jeremy Maitland, who is heading the recording sessions, has recorded in Edmonton for 10 years. His resume includes work as head audio engineer for the Royal Canadian Artillery Band for six years. 

“He has recorded with the Edmonton Symphony, Edmonton Youth Orchestra, the Da Camera Singers, numerous jazz and other performances. He has also recorded the recent Sticks and Stones album “Marimba Around the World,” stated festival chair Mark Moran in an email sent to the Gazette

Watch for a link to Encore 21 at www.st-albert-musicfestival.ca

Rainmaker Rodeo 

Traditionally, the Rainmaker Rodeo serves as St. Albert’s big break-away party from winter into summer. Will it be cancelled? Will it return? Will it return in a modified version? 

“The truth is I don’t know. It’s too early to have answers. We’re doing a lot of planning and organizing but before we do a deep dive, we need to hear from Alberta Health Services and the City of St. Albert,” said Rainmaker chair Rob Ladouceur.  

He added there was discussion about potentially showcasing bands. 

“If we are able to run an event, we want to run it as safely as possible. In this climate of COVID and the upcoming variants, we want to make sure it’s absolutely safe. I talk to a lot of other service club members, and most people I spoke with want to put on events. But they don’t want anyone to get hurt. Safety is paramount.” 

International Children’s Festival 

If Andrea Gammon had her way, the 40th anniversary of the International Children’s Festival of the Arts would be celebrated with all the pomp and pageantry it deserves. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a guest in our house and it’s caused a lot of havoc. 

Gammon, who is festival manager, has worked with a dedicated team for months to devise a way children can celebrate the arts while remaining safe. 

The solution is "40 Days of Play," a series of free activity prompts that will be posted daily from April 28 to June 6. 

“We’ll post these creative prompts on our website and encourage people to become involved. They’re free. They’re easy and you can do them in the comfort of your own home. They could be as simple as decorating a window with butterflies or planting seeds in a pot,” said Gammon. 

Organizers have created two hashtags, #40DaysofPlaynaicf and #Beasocialbutterflynaicf, for people to post photos of their participation online. 

“We want to see all the ways people can be joyful and creative throughout the 40 days.” 

The 40 Days of Play culminates June 5 and 6 with a series of digital performances.  

“There will be on a variety of artists and the bulk will livestream. There will be some national artists, some from Australia and the United States, and some from Alberta.” 

Ticket costs for the streaming performances will be in line with previous live festival performances. They will go on sale April 28 at www.childfest.ca.

“This year is a moving target and we’re trying to make this a community effort. We recognize everyone needs light and life. We hope to encourage people to decorate their windows and remind people of what the festival is about.”