Amateur musicians from the Huntsville area and beyond will have a unique opportunity this spring when the Huntsville Festival of the Arts launches the inaugural Huntsville Festival of Music.
“Huntsville has been a hot spot for music for a number of years,” says local teacher, Alana Nuedling.
A music festival was hosted here at one time, she notes. With the number of kids—and adults—learning and excelling in their musical endeavors, there is still a need for one. So when Huntsville Festival of the Arts president, Carol Gibson, approached her with the idea, Nuedling enthusiastically agreed.
Acclaimed local pianist, Kyung-A Lee joined them and the trio got to work co-ordinating the inaugural event as part of the HFA’s education committee. The festival will be held April 2-5, 2020.
It’s the type of opportunity Lee would have jumped at. “You’re getting this teaching from professionals who you never get a chance with,” she says, adding that when she was learning as a pianist she would pay for a flight just to get a single lesson with a renowned professional teacher, and as a result achieved goals she didn’t think were possible in such a short period of time. “There’s nothing more satisfying.”
The workshop-based festival is modeled on the Kiwanis Music Festival’s mission to “encourage young and all age groups to know and love the arts and foster the values of self-discipline, teamwork and excellence.” There will be both competitive and non-competitive classes in brass, choir, composition, guitar and ukulele, piano, strings, vocal, and woodwinds.
“There is so much talent in this town and surrounding us, and so many great teachers around here,” says Lee.
And it’s important for students to know how they stand in the world of music, says Nuedling, from the tiniest musicians to the eldest of adult learners. “We want it to be inclusive of the entire community.” Although it’s targeted at music students in Muskoka, the Huntsville Festival of Music will be open to surrounding areas as well.
Students will perform and receive coaching from qualified adjudicators and teachers, and can choose not to be marked if they are just there to learn. Those who choose to compete are eligible for the Concert of the Stars being held on the final day of the festival at the Algonquin Theatre—musicians with the top scores will be invited along with others identified by festival organizers and adjudicators.
“Education is a huge part of the mandate of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts,” says Gibson. “It was a perfect fit to have the HFA support [the festival]. There’s lots of enthusiasm for it in the community.”
To include visual arts students in the festival, organizers approached Huntsville High School and invited students to enter submissions for the cover of the festival program. The winning design will be announced soon.
And organizers are still looking for both sponsors and volunteers. Anyone interested in helping out can email [email protected]
For more information about the Huntsville Festival of Music or to register, visit huntsvillefestival.ca. Entries and fees are due by Feb. 1, 2020.
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