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Youth recharge at St. Albert Rotary Music Festival

Registrants apply in larger numbers than expected
2004 Rotary - Daphne Charrois2
The 2019 St. Albert Rotary Music Festival's Lyle Moore scholarship recipient, Daphne Charrois, is seen performing in one of her many roles as Maria in The Sound of Music.

There is an interconnection between music and life. Music in its broadest sense is grand, complex and lively. In essence, it is an expression of humanity with all its moods and emotions, ups and downs. 

Music is part of every molecule in our soul. Unfortunately, the majority of big music festivals in the province have been cancelled due to COVID-19 – even competitive youth festivals that usually attract a smaller niche of viewers. 

Fortunately, St. Albert Rotary Music Festival is forging ahead, giving youth an opportunity to participate in a virtual competition that will reveal their special connection to music and how they bring it life. 

From April 6 to 16, about 316 solo performances will be filmed at Salvation Army Church and uploaded to YouTube for public viewing. 

The performances are restricted to piano, ukulele, fiddle, violin, guitar and a couple of solo vocal entries. Choral groups and bands with large numbers were dropped due to pandemic guidelines. 

“Our goal was 200 registrants. We received 316 entries. We’ll be very busy getting the recordings done, but we’re very happy with the numbers,” said Laura Charrois, marketing and social media manager. 

She attributes the unexpected number to the diminished number of music festivals in the region unable to provide an outlet for young and aspiring musicians. Now more than ever, after being restricted to limited activities for months, youth need a fresh channel to express their creativity.

“We are one of the few. There are not a lot of festivals in the area running. It takes a great deal of hard work to go into the virtual world. But our team found a way. We have a strong music team in St. Albert and they showed up.” 

Zoom meetings will be scheduled whereby adjudicators provide live feedback to performers. 

“We’re trying to keep the same model as past years – the same class and groupings available for feedback.” 

The Rotary Music Festival is offering $10,000 in awards, scholarships and bursaries. The major individual awards are the $1,000 Jackie Heitzman Rose Bowl, the $1,000 Lyle Moore Scholarship, the $500 Marsha Stanton Award, and the $400 Elsie and Bill Filipchuk Musical Theatre Bursary. 

For complete festival information visit