Highlights Concert will showcase Kingston Kiwanis Festival talent

Holy Cross Symphonic band. Supplied photo.

The Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival is set to celebrate talented local musicians at its annual Highlights Concert.

On Tuesday, Apr. 30, 2024, a selection of winners from the 2024 Kingston Kiwanis Festival will perform at the Isabel Centre for the Performing Arts from 7 to 9 p.m., and everyone is welcome.

According to organizers, this concert features a selection of the best performances during the festival, showcasing the talent and the range of musical interests of festival performers. All the concert performers have won awards and been recommended by the festival adjudicators.

This year’s Kiwanis Festival saw a 38 per cent jump in registrations from 343 last year to 474, according to Cherrilyn Yalin, one of the festival’s organizers.

“The increase had to fit into the two-week period of the Festival — in order to do that we needed ten locations and many volunteers and our adjudicators were kept very busy,” she detailed.

According to a release from festival organizers, one of the goals for this year was to extend the festival’s outreach into the community. To that end, the festival organized a new “Concerto Competition” as a joint initiative with Orchestra Kingston and Queen’s University which involved strings and piano at Harrison-LeCaine Hall.

The festival’s voice adjudicator visited the junior choirs of the Sistema program at Molly Brant Public School and St. Thomas More Catholic School early in April. According to Yalin, the Sistema program provides intensive after-school music programs in disadvantaged areas of the city.

“Those choirs were inspiring,” Yalin expressed, “and, with the program’s director, Kara Tomm, we hope to integrate their musicians with the main festival next year.”

Organizers also established a mutually beneficial relationship with St. Lawrence Place, a downtown retirement home located on Ontario Street. According to the release, a group of their residents are planning to attend the Highlights Concert and some Kiwanis students will perform for the residents at the beginning of June.

In an email to Kingstonist, Yalin shared that this year’s Master of Ceremonies for the Highlights Concert will be Dr. Mark Sirett.

“Dr. Sirett is a nationally and internationally recognized conductor, composer, clinician, and choir director and his work has earned him many prestigious awards,” Yalin detailed.

“He is known locally for his contributions as Organist/Music Director at St. George’s Cathedral and Sydenham Street United Church, as founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Queen’s University School of Music. His work in Kingston was recognized with the ‘Mayors Award for the Arts-Creator’ in 2019 and, in 2023 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his commitment to the field of choral music as a renowned composer, conductor and community leader.”

In the release, the festival thanks the Ballytobin Foundation for the opportunity to use the Isabel Bader Centre. The Ballytobin Foundation is “dedicated to the philanthropic support of visual and performing arts in Kingston,” according to the foundation’s website, and provided funding to secure the Bader Centre for the event.

Admission to the Highlights Concert is by donation. 

Learn more about the Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival on their website.

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