During the Honours Concert this spring Cariboo Festival Society vice-president Ann Smith (centre) presented flowers to Herb Martin who is retiring from his volunteer job of tuning the festival piano a service he provided for 31 years. President Jane Perry looks on.

During the Honours Concert this spring Cariboo Festival Society vice-president Ann Smith (centre) presented flowers to Herb Martin who is retiring from his volunteer job of tuning the festival piano a service he provided for 31 years. President Jane Perry looks on.

Cariboo Festival Society seeks more volunteers

It takes many bodies and much dedication to keep the Cariboo Festival Society humming smoothly.

It takes many bodies and much dedication to keep the Cariboo Festival Society humming smoothly.

The festival society is holding its annual general meeting on Tuesday, June 12 and longtime members are hoping to see some new faces at the meeting.

“Anyone who is interested in the festival in any way is most welcome to join the annual general meeting and learn more,” says president Jane Perry. “We have a really good team of committee members but people sometimes need to step down for various reasons and so volunteers are always needed — and new ideas are welcome!

Michelle Erlandson, who wore several hats for the 2012 festival this spring including that of publicity director, also urges people who have an interest in the arts to come to the meeting.

“Our group promotes the arts to a wide age group,” Erlandson says. “The disciplines we work with are writing, speech arts strings, piano, voice, band and other related instruments.

“If you have a love for any of these disciplines and would like to promote growth in these areas please consider attending this meeting.”

Raeleen Campsall, the festival awards chair, adds that jobs are not just dumped into the laps of newcomers.

“They will be guided through either by a person who has done the job before or with the help of our whole committee,” Campsall says. “Each of the five disciplines need help with organizing the entries, scheduling, and programing.

“This might entail help with paperwork or just running around picking up things.  Other jobs might be helping writing letters asking or thanking for donations.”  She says people who are willing to help during each week of the competition is always needed.

People also don’t need a musical background to be helpful, she stresses.

“I, for example, cannot sing, play an instrument, or care to recite a poem,” Campsall says.  “I became involved because our daughter participated for many years in the festival and this is my way of paying back for all of the benefits she gleaned from her festival experiences.”

Perry concurs: “The Cariboo Festival needs volunteers for a variety of tasks, including helping with any of the disciplines (vocal/choral, piano, band and instrumental, speech arts, creative writing) — or only at the festival itself next April, whether for a few hours or a few days.”

Perry says specific tasks won’t be delegated until the fall when they know who is continuing on and who is stepping down.

“We also like to consider each volunteer’s interests and where they’d be most happy helping out,” Perry says.

Community donations are also a big part of how the festival is maintained.

“During each week of the festival, awards are given out for various categories within the competitions,” Campsall says.

“For example, in voice, junior authentic folk song; in piano, intermediate baroque; in speech arts, impromptu storytelling.

“In total these amount to about 60 trophies/plaques/medallions depending if all the categories have entries for that particular year.”

Major awards are also presented to the best students in each of the disciplines during the annual Honours Concert.

“These total 12 trophies/plaques and $2,175 in bursaries and scholarships,” Campsall says. “The cost of engraving and purchasing of trophies comes from the general funds of the Cariboo Festival Society.

The majority of the bursaries and scholarships come directly from the generous donations of individuals, businesses and organizations in our community or region.”

She says the festival receives about $1,500. in direct donations and the rest of their budget comes from grants in aid, among them from the City of Williams Lake.

Students who qualify for the provincial competition are assisted by the society with the cost of their registration fee and provided with $350 to help with travel and accommodation.

“This total amount varies from year to year depending how many  choose to attend the provincials,” Campsall says.

The festival committee also currently includes Sherry Johnson as provincial festival representative; vice-president Ann Smith; treasurer John Sykes; secretary Dodie Hama; properties manager Anne Brown; and helpers at large Sheila Wyse, Georgina Lazzarotto, and Ruth Mazurkiewicz who volunteer in numerous capacities, Erlandson says.

Herb Martin was also given a special tribute at the Honours Concert this year for his 31 years of volunteering his time and talent to tune the festival piano each year.

He and his wife Evelyn continue to provide one of the many awards presented during the festival.

She notes that Kevin Epp, a past participant in the festival piano competition, has now taken over piano tuning duties.

The Cariboo Festival Society’s annual general meeting is set for Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. in the Central Cariboo Arts Centre next to city hall. Anyone with an interest in promoting community arts is encouraged to attend.