A ‘Live Virtual Festival’ to be presented for Lafleche and District Music Festival

Submitted by David Sproule, past president of the LDMF

When asked about preparing for this year’s ‘Live Virtual Festival’, president Sharla Davidson-Girardin had this to offer, “It has been a very challenging year for our LDMF Committee. We have definitely had our days of taking one step forward and two steps back. Our hope for the festival this year is to give participants the opportunity to perform is a safe environment.”

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What is ‘Live Virtual’?  The music festival will run as usual, minus the audience, plus live streaming on Facebook Live.  Following SHA regulations, the LDMF Committee has developed a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan complete with guidelines for volunteers, participants and their parents. The Final Concert and the Adrian Frank Competition will also take place without a live audience, but you will be able to watch the performances as they happen via the livestreaming link available on the LDMF Facebook page.

Commencing Sunday, March 21, 2021, the Lafleche and District Music Festival presents 92 voice and musical theatre entries along with 15 speech arts performers. Then on Wednesday, March 24, 103 piano performances begin taking to the stage. The Live Virtual Final Concert will take place Sunday, March 28 at 2 p.m.

A special competition will be featured online on Friday, March 26 at 7 p.m. Eight soloists chosen from the very best performances of the week will compete head to head in the Adrian Frank Competition.

This year the voice adjudicator is Ron de Jager, a native of Nova Scotia. Ron is in his 16th year as an associate professor at Briercrest College. He enjoys teaching private voice, vocal pedagogy, vocal master classes, musical theatre workshops and acting. He directs opera scenes, Voices From the Front and serves as the Artistic Director of A Briercrest Christmas. Additionally, he serves as a vocal adjudicator at festivals and competitions in Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Virginia.

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“I am incredibly grateful for the many teachers, collaborators and performers who have generously given of themselves. These people chose to pass on what was given to them and their years of experience and wisdom remain an inspiration to me each day. I hope to do the same.”

Dr. Katherine Dowling will adjudicate piano and strings performances. Praised by the New York Times for her “crystalline performances, gestural expressiveness and careful attention to color”, and by the Boston Globe for her “effortless incisiveness”, award-winning Canadian pianist Dr. Katherine Dowling performs across North America and Europe. Equally compelling as a solo, collaborative, and ensemble player, she holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University.

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In addition to her performing activities, Dr. Dowling teaches piano and chamber music at the University of Regina, and has enjoyed adjudicating at both the regional and provincial levels throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

She teaches master classes and workshops throughout Canada. Dr. Dowling credits her own teacher, celebrated American pianist and pedagogue Gilbert Kalish, as well as Dr. Henri-Paul Sicsic and Janice Elliott-Denike, as the major influences in her musical life.  

Lafleche and District Music Festival belong to a provincial organization, Saskatchewan Music Festival Association.

SMFA brings together 46 district music festivals throughout the province and works in many ways to ensure that festivals such as ours continue to succeed. It is important to note that the SMFA receives funding from the Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.

SaskCulture administers the funding, and the district festival does engage in some fund raising, with the majority of funding from the Lotteries Trust Fund that enables volunteers to focus on the important work required to make the music festival happen, year after year. 

Plan to enjoy this year’s festival on Facebook Live as young performers present their gifts after months of preparation. Over 50 scholarships with a combined value of $5,000 will be presented during the Final Concert. Lafleche and District Music Festival appreciates the tremendous support from the communities.