Cariboo Festival students are warming up their voices and instruments as the committee prepares for the upcoming festival.
This year’s festival will take place from April 9 to April 19, and will cover the four traditional genres: vocal/choral, speech arts, piano and band/instrumental.
The committee is looking to get more people involved in the festival — both as performers and volunteers.
New to the syllabus this year is a category in the Speech Arts section for spoken word poetry and each of the other sections have categories for original compositions.
While attendance has been declining in the festival in recent years, society president Ann Smith says it still plays an important role in the arts community.
“It gives students who are working on projects a goal to shoot for,” she says.
“You have to know what you are performing in April. It gives you that goal and focus, and some students have got their eyes on provincial competitions.”
Smith says the festival provides an opportunity to get on stage and perform in front of an audience.
“It truly is a joyful thing to perform,” she says.
“You’re nervous but it’s exhilarating. It’s a rush — that sense of accomplishment of performing in front of other people.”
Smith remembers performing in similar arts festivals growing up, and joined the society in Williams Lake when her sons were in piano.
While they eventually stopped participating in the festival, Smith continued because of the need of volunteers in order to keep the festival running in town.
“Sometimes there is less time for art instruction in school, so it gives students that outlet,” she says, adding that it’s also a great opportunity to socialize with others in the community.
“I know that ensembles, like choirs and band the kids always have a blast.”
Still, she stresses that the festival isn’t just for youth. There’s a section for adults in each category, so if you’re itching to try out a new skill or receive some tips on your singing, she encourages you to give it a go.
Each piece that is performed is adjudicated by a professional.
“We chose adjudicators who are positive and constructive. We emphasize that it is fun.”
While the instrumental adjudicator is still being confirmed, Alan Crane from the Lower Mainland will be adjudicating piano, while Norene Morrow out of Kelowna will adjudicate the vocal and speech arts sections.
The Cariboo Festival is hosting their AGM in February, and encourages anyone who wants to get involved to join.
The festival is also in the midst of fundraising. It costs about $12,000 to run the festival says Smith, and the society relies on donations to supplement registration fees to pay their expenses, which include adjudication expenses, venues, awards and bursaries.
“We run completely though volunteer power,” she says.
“I just love to keep the arts going in the community. I love working with the festival and hearing what young ones come up with,” she says.
“That’s what has kept me going. It’s a ton of fun.”
Registrations for this year’s festival will close Feb. 10 and are done online at cariboofestival.ca.