Festivals can be about fun, self discovery and overcoming fears

Having the Cariboo Festival on these last few weeks has made me think of my younger days.

Having the Cariboo Festival on these last few weeks has made me think of my younger days.

I attended an elementary school in Nelson that focused on the arts and every year we went to festival.

Nelson and Trail took turns hosting the Kootenay Festival of the Arts so every second year our school travelled an hour away to Trail.

I loved it because Trail had different stores with different candy and yes, candy loomed large in my list of childhood preoccupations.

Throughout the years I entered the festival, reciting poetry — solo and in a group, singing — solo and in a group, and sometimes did Bible readings.

One year I even won a trophy for Bible reading. It was the one where Jesus tells Peter to feed his lambs.

Truthfully I was not a solo singer. My voice always sounded too loud in my head, but when it came time for adjudicator feedback I was always encouraged to project my voice more.

I can still remember a poem we did one year titled Swinging by Irene Thompson.

I say we, because there would have been about 10 girls reciting the same poem.

My classmate Shauna often won first place. She was very animated and had a nice big singing voice.

In fact, for our Grade 7 graduation party, our music teacher selected me to sing a duet with a boy in my class.

It was one of the pieces from Englebert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel opera.

Gerald had a beautiful soprano voice so he sang the descant parts and I sang the alto.

“Mrs. Klassen should have picked Shauna,” the girls in the class hissed at me. I was hurt,  but deep down I knew I’d been selected because my low voice would complement Gerald’s.

While in secondary school I took band, playing the oboe, and participated regularly in drama. Often we went to festivals.

The travelling was fun and I have lots of good memories.

Our daughter Anna acted and our daughter Rachael danced so we attended festivals with them.

Whenever they were on the stage I would get really nervous for them, especially if they appeared nervous.

The first time Anna was on stage was when Missoula Children’s Theatre came to town the summer she turned six.

When she got off the stage she said she had this funny feeling in her tummy while up there auditioning.

I told her they were butterflies, something we get when we are nervous.

Looking up at me her face broke out into a huge smile.

“It felt so cool,” she said. “I love it.”

I could have said the apple fell very far from the tree at that point because as a kid and now I must admit I have never enjoyed being nervous.

Instead I gave her a hug and smiled back.

Monica Lamb-Yorski is a staff writer with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.