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Amateur musicians given time to shine at Shuswap Music Festival

Event runs April 8 to May 3
Georgina Vrana performed the opening number with accompanist Tom Brighouse at the Shuswap Music Festival Gala on the Nexus stage at the Salmon Arm First United Church on Friday, April 29. (Contributed)

A diverse range of amateur musicians will be sharing their talents while learning how to further hone their skills during the annual Shuswap Music Festival.

Running April 8 to May 3, the festival sees a range of budding talent, from five-year-old violinists to aspiring pianists, musical theatre vocalists, school jazz and concert bands and senior members of choirs, said Susan Wolff in a media release.

All performances, with the exception of school bands, are at Nexus at First at Salmon Arm’s First United Church. Band performances take place at Pleasant Valley Secondary School in Armstrong.

All candidates perform competitively, with acclaimed professional musicians adjudicating each performance.

“These adjudicators bring their international performance credentials and a wealth of teaching, conducting and masterclass workshop talents to the Festival,” said Wolff. “They critique, coach and inspire excellence.”

Adjudicator biographies and festival programs can be found at

New to the festival this year is a String Orchestra category. Wolff said string orchestras will perform on opening day, April 8, starting at 6 p.m.

The public is welcome to attend all adjudicated sessions with admission by donation.

Vocal and choral sessions begin Monday, April 15.

School choirs perform on Monday morning, April 15, and Community Youth and Adult Choirs perform on Monday, at 6 p.m.

Piano ensembles entertain audiences each Festival with duets, trios, and 2-pianos-8-hands performances.

“Don’t miss them on Wednesday, April 24, starting at 6 p.m.,” said Wolff.

School District 83’s music department enthusiastically supports the festival and school band entries continue to grow, with 14 bands to perform at Pleasant Valley Secondary from April 23 to 25.

Once again, the festival concludes with a Gala concert showcasing the “Best of the Festival.”

“Awards presented at the Gala encourage continued musical development,” said Wolff, noting scholarships provided through memorial funds and bequeaths managed by the Shuswap Community Foundation support advanced studies.

“Adjudicators select top candidates to compete at the B.C. Performing Arts Festival. Some contestants move on to Western Canada and National Festival competitions.”

The Shuswap Music Festival is a community event hosted with the help of many volunteers and sponsored by the three Rotary Clubs of Salmon Arm.

Private individuals, businesses and corporate donors support the festival, including the City of Salmon Arm, the Shuswap Community Foundation, Acorn Music and SASCU. “Thank you to all supporters, volunteers, and especially to all participants,” said Wolff.

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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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