The 43rd Annual 100 Mile House Festival of the Arts is just days away. It will run from April 1-12 and will wrap up with the Showcase on April 13 at 7 p.m.
“The highlight of the festival is, of course, the Showcase evening,” said Elaine Saunders, vice-president of the festival.
As always, the festival will have four new adjudicators to evaluate and work with the performers. They also pick them out for awards and nominate the top performers to appear in the showcase. The four are John White (instrumental/band), Debbie McGladdery (speech arts), Holly Duff (piano) and Robin Norman (vocal/choral).
“It’s just through the community. We hear about potential adjudicators through the provincial festival of the arts – people that have been used – and by word of mouth. Teachers know these people and they come recommended by word of mouth basically,” explained Saunders on how the four were chosen.
The adjudicators also recommend who will go to the BC Provincial Festival of the Arts, which will be from May 26-30 in Chilliwack.
White has served as the president of several music associations such as the British Columbia Music Educators’ Association, British Columbia Choral Federation, the Pacific Coast Music Festivals Association and more.
Currently, he is the chair of the BC Choral Federation’s Willan Council and vice chair of the Michael J. Fox Theatre Society and serves as the New Westminster and District Band Society’s music director. He even has been a judge at the Juno Awards.
White has also worked as an adjudicator, educator, clinician and guest conductor throughout Western Canada and Ontario.
McGladdery ran a drama studio in Prince George for 25 years, in addition to running a camp every summer presenting plays. She has an education certificate from the University of Victoria and an associate’s diploma in speech and drama from Mount Royal College. Prior to running her drama studio, she was a public school teacher.
Norman has been teaching vocal lessons for over 25 years and is a veteran in theatre, performing and directing in over 50 musical productions.
She also has served on the board of various boards, such as Performing Arts B.C., Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, Theatre B.C, and the Prince George Music Festival.
Nove Voce, her choir, has been recognized on a national level in competitions. The choir was also named the best choir in British Columbia in 2016 and placed second at the National Festival in 2018.
Duff is the founding director and administrator of West Coast Chamber Music, also performing as a pianist. It’s a concert series promoting the work of women composers.
She has a bachelor of music from the University of Western Ontario and has taught at the Jean Lyons School of Music, Langley Community Music School and Arts Connection in Richmond.
Roughly 235 performers have registered for the festival. Last year’s festival had 281, 303 in 2017 and 365 in 2016.
“It seems to be a trend. It seems like they’re [kids and teenagers] not as interested in the art,” said Saunders. “I know some of the piano teachers are cutting back because we’re all getting on in years. A part of the reason may be [that] we don’t have an abundance of young teachers.”
Saunders also mentioned parents may have to pick between sports and music lessons due to expenses.
The event is open to the public on a donation basis. You can see the schedule at 100milefestivalofthearts.ca/program. The entire festival will be at Martin Exeter Hall.
“We really welcome the public to come and support the arts and bring their children, even if they’re not involved in the arts because sometimes that may give them an incentive – they might say: ‘oh gee, that looks like fun, I want to do it,’” said Saunders.