Kootenay Festival of the Arts takes centre stage April 8

The Kootenay Festival of the Arts returns to the spotlight in April, bringing 10 days of dance, voice, piano and strings.

The Kootenay Festival of the Arts returns to the spotlight in April, bringing 10 days of dance, voice, piano and strings.

After a two-year hiatus, the showcase of young talent promises new energy plus first time woodwind and string performances scheduled in three Trail venues.

“We are very excited to be hosting the festival from the 8th to the 18th of April,” says Nicole Zimmer, the event’s co-chair. “People can expect a lovely mix of all ages performing, followed by workshops for encouragement and growth,” she said, mentioning the highlight concerts that top off each week.

“So please join us in welcoming back this wonderful tradition,” added Zimmer.

The annual festival was shelved two years ago due to lack of volunteers. But Zimmer, a music teacher, and co-chair Audrey Gerein were determined to revive the 81-year Kootenay event.

With the help of past organizers Beth Lloyd and Shirley Mendoza, the women canvassed the region to bring back the opportunity to perform and be adjudicated by seasoned teachers and professionals.

Once the call was put out that volunteers were needed to bring back the show, community members signed on and things fell into place.

“We’ve done quite well as a start up,” said Lloyd, a Rossland piano teacher and 10-year festival organizer. “We have a lot of participants including strings and woodwinds, which we haven’t had in a very long time. There’s new things that we are really happy about, and I have volunteers – so it’s like a new lease on life.”

The festival’s syllabus and details are available at kootenayfestivalofthearts.ca and 278 entries from Nelson, Trail, Fruitvale, Castlegar, and the Slocan area are ready to put their skills to the test.

Ballet, modern and stage dance is slated to run April 8 to April 11at the Charles Bailey Theatre; certificates of merit will be awarded to piano players from April 13 to April 15 at the First Presbyterian Church; vocal solos and choirs performances at the Trail United Church April 13 and April 14; woodwinds, 1 p.m. April 16 and strings 9 a.m. April 17, both at the First Presbyterian Church.

Additionally, there will be two concerts, the first on April 11, 7 p.m. at the Charles Bailey to highlight dance. The second is scheduled for April 18 at the First Presbyterian, 7 p.m., to showcase all other disciplines.

“Nicole and Audrey have headed this up and just done brilliantly,” said Lloyd. “It’s a really exciting program and it just feels so good to have younger people getting in there and taking over with such enthusiasm.”

Save for a wartime break, and a three-year interlude in the 1960s, the festival has alternated between Trail and Nelson every year since its inception in 1930 at the Nelson Opera House.

In 2011, Trail hosted almost 1,000 students from the East and West Kootenay, Okanagan and south of the border.

The Kootenay Festival of the Arts offers students of artistic disciplines the opportunity to perform in a theatrical environment and receive constructive critique from highly skilled, established professionals, which in turn nurtures and enhances their artistic talent.

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