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Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival prepares virtual Highlights concert

Jonathan Moellman, winner of the Donna Gobin Memorial Rosebowl at the 2021 Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival. Image provided by Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival.

As has been the case for many events and performances over the past year, the Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival (KKMF) has made the move to an online format for their 2021 Festival Highlights concert.

Every spring, the Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival holds a performance festival to highlight local music students and their accomplishments. In the past, participants gather in groups to play a piece for an adjudicator who then provides a written and oral report on their performance. The adjudicators’ recommendations are used to choose students to perform at the Highlights Concert, win awards, and be recommended for the Provincial competition.

The KKMF Committee said they realized there would be much learning and work involved in shifting to a virtual format, but wanted to ensure children studying music would have the opportunity to have their work professionally adjudicated.

Instead of gathering for in-person performance events, entrants to this year’s Music Festival uploaded their performances to YouTube for the seven adjudicators to review. 

“Every performer was emailed written comments about their performances,” said Cherrilyn Yalin, a member of the Planning Committee. “Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 restrictions, band, orchestra, and choir entries were not possible, although family ensembles were permitted. Last year registrations totaled 445, and this year we saw 292.”

In an email to Kingstonist, Yalin shared the sentiments of a Kingston area music teacher. “Tristan Cook, a local music teacher, told us that the virtual Kiwanis Festival was a new, but positive success for his students. The feedback they received from the adjudicators was clear, fair and provided ideas to develop their technical abilities and musical interpretation,” she said. “He said that parents were positive about their children’s experience and he noticed an increased level of confidence in the students who participated.”

Based on the adjudicators’ comments, 15 performances were chosen to represent the diversity of age groups and instruments in the festival to appear in the Highlights Concert.

“The adjudicators also selected 47 performers who received $3,780 in awards,” shared Yalin. “The highest award, the Donna Gobin Memorial Rosebowl, was awarded to Jonathan Moellman.”

“We are able to present these awards year after year because of a long list of individuals and families who donate to the trusts that finance them. The adjudicators recommended that 43 of the entrants should have the opportunity to participate in the Provincial Music Festival,” she continued.  

A grant from the Ballytobin Foundation has allowed KKMF to again hold the Highlights concert.

“These performers were video-recorded at The Isabel Centre for the Performing Arts, one at a time, on Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021,” said Yalin. “The performances were combined and crafted into a video concert by the expert technical staff at the Isabel.”

Yalin said the committee is grateful to the members of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association (Kingston Branch).

“Over the fall and winter they found innovative and safe ways to continue music lessons with their students,” she said. “And, as the Festival approached, they assisted students with their entries, helped sponsor the Festival and provided funds for eight of the awards.”

“We also thank the Anna & Edward C. Churchill Foundation, and the Kiwanis Club of Kingston who made a significant financial contributions to make possible the operation of the Music Festival,” she said.

The Highlights Concert will be aired on YourTV on Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021, at 9:00 p.m. The video will be available for online viewing after Saturday, Mar. 27, 2021, at the Isabel Digital Concert Hall.

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