Kingston Kiwanis to celebrate 50th year with return to in-person festival

After two years of virtual festivals, organizers of the Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival are “delighted” to hold the 50th anniversary edition of the festival in person.

Cherrilyn Yalin, a member of the planning committee, told Kingstonist that four events are scheduled for this golden jubilee year.

The first event is the annual Kiwanis Festival, taking place from February 22 to March 1, 2023, when musical performers will take to the stage at three locations in the city of Kingston. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Polson Park Free Methodist Church, and Chalmers United Church will host the live festival, which includes choirs, ensembles, and “several new classes, to extend opportunities for musicians in pop vocal and guitar.” Yalin noted that the syllabus has been updated this year to reflect modern trends while preserving classical themes.

Registration for the festival is open until the end of January. Yalin urged potential performers to visit the registration website to learn more and get started.

The Highlights Concert, which is the culmination of the festival, is the second event taking place this year. The public is invited to attend the concert on the evening of Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2023, at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. 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 will have received awards during the festival and will be recommended to perform by the adjudicators, Yalin noted.

Poster for the 2023 Highlights Concert. Submitted image.

“The festival thanks the Ballytobin Foundation for giving our performers the chance to play in a world-class facility,” she added. 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. 

The third event will be the Band performances, which will take place on Wednesday, Apr. 12, 2023, at Holy Cross Secondary School. This event is an extension of the festival, Yalin explained. “Because of the way the semesters work, the bands aren’t ready when the main part of the festival happens, so a few years ago we started giving them a separate session,” she said.

Finally, on Saturday, May 27, 2023, there will be a special event to celebrate the 50th anniversary in front of City Hall. “Further details will be published nearer that event,” Yalin stated.

To help mark their 50th year, organizers are asking members of the public who have memories of past festivals — be it as participants, parents, teachers, adjudicators, accompanists, volunteers, or supporters — to share those memories with the festival. “The plan is to collate and publish those memories for all to see,” Yalin explained. Get in touch with Yalin at [email protected] to share memories of Kiwanis festivals past.


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