The Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival shares news, changes for 2024

Canta Aria Con Brio performing at the 2023 Highlights concert. Screen captured image.

The Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival has announced several new developments for its 51st year.

According to Cherrilyn Yalin, Chair of the Festival’s Communications Committee, the 2024 festival will take place a month later than usual. Besides giving the students longer to prepare for their performances, the March start means there is less chance that bad weather will impact the Festival, as happened last year.

Yalin said that last year there was a particularly heavy snow storm, which saw parents asking for their students’ times to be moved. This “caused a lot of chaos,” Yalin stated, because the day was completely booked.

“By shortening the adjudicator’s lunch hour and extending the day, most students were accommodated, but some decided not to attend,” she shared, noting that bad weather has caused problems for a few festivals in the past.

For 2024, the festival performances will begin with Junior Piano on Wednesday, Apr. 3, and end with School Bands on Monday, Apr. 11, 2024. As always, the Highlights Concert will take place after the Festival ends. The concert features a selection of the best performances during the Festival, showcasing the talent and the range of musical interests of festival performers, and will take place on Tuesday, Apr. 30, 2024, at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

Yalin told Kingstonist that the Festival now has a brand-new website. Designed by Tristan Cook, a committee member and a music teacher in Kingston, the website is the Festival’s new hub for syllabus information, rules and regulations, venues, adjudicators, its library of newsletters, and other important news and events. Take a look here:

Another significant development for 2024 is an extensive annual update to the Kiwanis Festival syllabus.

“Adult classes have been added for all voice and instrumental disciplines and we welcome performers from ages four to 99,” said Elaine Pedlar, the Chair and Syllabus Coordinator.

“Further, classes for contemporary and popular music have been added, while continuing with our classical repertoire. There are also new opportunities for small and large ensembles, bands, and choirs as well as solo classes. Updates are also made each year to reflect changes to the Ontario Music Festival Association’s syllabus and to keep pace with current musical interests.”

Yalin also noted that the organization has identified a major goal as part of its “ongoing strategic reviews.” Guided by Bhavana Varma, who recently retired as the CEO of the United Way, the review suggested the organization seek wider engagement within the community.

“As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, we undertook to complete a strategic review and were delighted when Bhavana agreed to facilitate it. She had us do homework in advance — contacting ‘stakeholders’ with questions about their perception of the festival and such,” Yalin explained in response to questions from Kingstonist.

“The Planning Committee then had an almost three-hour session which Bhavana led, and following that she came up with an action plan and a timetable. She had three pillars for us which encapsulated our goals: enrolment, excitement, and engagement. The review is ‘ongoing’ in that we are now working on these goals.”   

As a first step, the organization is collaborating with the local school boards and other musical organizations in the community to increase awareness and participation in the Festival, Yalin noted. They are also partnering with a local retirement home to provide performance and learning opportunities for our participants.

Roly Tinline, a member of our Committee said, “We are delighted to connect with Sistema. Our voice adjudicator will visit their choirs in two Kingston schools to validate and encourage their efforts to affect social change through group-centred music for children who might otherwise never have had a chance to be involved in the Festival.”

Registration for the 2024 Kingston Kiwanis Festival opens Thursday, Feb 1 and interested musicians have until midnight on Monday, Mar. 4, 2024, to decide to participate.

Learn more about the Festival and how to register on their new website:

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