What the Olympics are to sports, the B.C. Provincial Music Festival is to music.
Four talented young people from Squamish and Pemberton recently journeyed to Victoria to represent Howe Sound for the first time. The adjudicators of this year's Howe Sound Music Festival nominated Leah Collins Lipsett (junior piano), Terry Fulton (intermediate piano), Jennifer Galloway (senior piano) and Shannon Peek (junior vocal) to attend the festival which was held June 24-28, 2004.
The Howe Sound Music Festival is a yearly event produced by Howe Sound Arts Association, which began in 2001 under the leadership of Colleen Koop. "Growing up in Manitoba, I had the opportunity to perform in a number of festivals just like this one and represent festivals at the provincial level," she said.
"My goal was to take the HSMF to this level thus giving our students more access to more performance opportunities. I'm so proud of our four representatives for the time and family support to make this trip on behalf of the Howe Sound Music Festival."
This year the festival was held in the music department of the University of Victoria. Competition classes were long and intense.
Piano teacher Julie Murakami attended the festival and was impressed with our young representatives' poise and maturity under pressure.
"The best part of the competition" says Terry Fulton, "was getting to listen to all the amazing pianists from the ARCT levels, although it did become tedious after about four hours."
Although he found waiting for his turn difficult, Terry played his Chopin Waltz well, and according to the adjudicator, his Canadian piece "La Nez" had "humour and character."
Jennifer Galloway was pleased with her performances of Brahms and Pentland, a Canadian composer. "I believe I greatly benefited from this experience for I was able to perform in front of an audience full of very talented and musically educated peers, received helpful suggestions on how to improve my pieces, and was able to see where I stand in the world of music among a number of talented musicians."
Terry Fulton agrees. "I feel that I've learned that it doesn't matter how big the concert hall, how many people are there, or how good all the other performers are, all I can do is try and play my piece the best I can and have fun doing it!"
The vocal division is a unique category as the instrument is the human voice. "The best part was listening to other vocalists, and hearing the adjudicator workshop and rebuild their piece," said Shannon Peek.
She also adds, "the most difficult part was performing all three pieces in a row" (which is a stepping stone in vocal performance). To next year's participants she recommends the festival as a "great experience". The Provincial Festival is like a musical family. Shannon had the opportunity to meet Vancouver Kiwanis fellow vocalists from previous years.
When asked what they would recommend to next year's participants, Leah Collins Lipsett says, "Go to your competition with a positive attitude. Your goal should be to play your best and to learn stuff, not to win. Enjoy yourself!"