Music festival brings out the best

By Jenn Watt


May 2 2017

Sneaker-clad toes tapped in time as the jazz ensemble bopped their way through Jump Jive an’ Wail saxophones in conversation with trumpets conductor Melissa Stephens summoning one section and then swinging her body to launch the next.

Then there was the quick quiet solo piano performance by young Kip Kelly performing his own composition Wolves at Midnight. The tiny pianist needed help with moving the seat but no assistance in executing his song which ended with a thundering boom.

Musicians of all levels of experience mustered their wits and performed before the audience at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion at the annual music festival’s Highlights Concert.

There were a few false starts a few missed beats a couple of self-admonishing shakes of the head but that’s all part of the process.

As MC Len Pizzey told the audience taking the stage as a new performer can trigger out-of-body experiences. It’s a vulnerable place to be.

But as usual many students of all abilities and ages took to the stage to show what they’d been working on and each piece had its own beauty.

Gabe Petric is heading to university next year to study music and his renditions of Prelude in G flat Major op. 21 no. 10 by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Prelude and Fugue in A flat Major BWV 862 by J. S. Bach demonstrated the skill he brings with him beyond Haliburton.

Unassuming in demeanour Gabe gave a performance that was engaging and impressive as he deftly brought the pieces to life – sans sheet music.

This was the last year too for Hannah Klose who is off to university next year. Hannah is known for her strong lilting voice having performed in a multitude of plays and concerts over the years. That didn’t take away from her captivating delivery of David Friedman’s You’re Already There accompanied by Beth Kipping.

The evening was packed with performances from the Bowed Well String Ensemble’s All You Need is Love to a group of four young guitarists and instructor Tom Regina strumming away to Green Onions.

Len and Kit Pizzey sponsor the annual music festival which runs for several days and is adjudicated by Guy Few (who is performing a show Guy and Nadina on Saturday May 6 see for more).

Local sponsors give each year to allow several of the musicians to take home scholarships chosen by Few. This year $3000 was given away to students.