Performing for scholarships

Lisa Goudy
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Helena Yee plays the first movement of Haydn's Sonata No. 44 in G minor at the scholarship competition at the Moose Jaw Music Festival on April 10, 2014.

Moose Jaw Music Festival hands out major awards

Voices, band instruments, strings and pianos reverberated in the sanctuary of Zion United Church.

Thirteen musicians between the ages of 15 and 19 showcased the best of the best at the Moose Jaw Music Festival’s scholarship competition Thursday night.

“(Competitors are) kids from each discipline that were recommended by the adjudicator. They had to have a mark of 87 in one of their classes to qualify. So it (was) the strongest kids in the festival competing for the major scholarship awards,” said Marcie Carswell, vice-president and secretary of the annual festival.

“Everyone’s guaranteed an award that comes to it. So it’s just to decide who gets the biggest ones.”

The two biggest scholarships — The Jeremy Rhodes Memorial Scholarship and the Kelly Churko Memorial Scholarship — are worth $500 each. There is one scholarship worth $400, two worth $300, three worth $250, one worth $200 and four scholarships worth $150.

“The adjudicators deliberate after everyone’s played and then they decide who gets what award,” said Carswell. “It’s just a nice way to decide on who should get what award and so the other adjudicators can see what level the other disciplines are working at.”

She said the number of musicians chosen from each discipline aims to “represent a cross section of the festival.”

“They have to play from memory. That’s one of the rules,” said Carswell. “Their work has to be a higher caliber. It’s not a six-year-old playingTwinkle, Twinkle, Little Star really well. That’s great, but it’s not the sufficient level to come to the competition.”

In order to be eligible for a scholarship, participants must be from Moose Jaw and the surrounding area or studying with a Moose Jaw teacher.

The adjudicators this year for the general festival are Will Martin, Bonnie Nicholson, Kerry Duwors and Heather Macnab.

Peyson Wahl is a graduate of the University of Regina who teaches choir, jazz choir and musical theatre in Winnipeg.

Martin is a trumpet and percussion player who grew up in a musical family on the south coast of England who now lives in Saskatoon and works as a band director.

Nicholson is a pianist, teacher and chamber musician from Prince Albert who has a music degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

Duwors, a soloist and chamber musician, is the assistant professor of violin at Brandon University.

Macnab of Maple Creek is a singer, director, and accompanist and is an instructor at the Summer School for the Solo Voice in North Battleford.

The weeklong general festival started on Monday. Carswell said she has spent her time at the vocal portion of the festival.

“We’ve had a great week,” she said. “(The best part) from being at vocal and seeing how the kids encourage each other. It’s not like a competition where there’s so much fighting against each other. Everyone wants to see everyone succeed, I think.”

Planning for next year’s festival is already underway, which will be in April 2015. To volunteer, contact the festival office at 306-694-0953.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: University of Regina, Prince Albert, University of Saskatchewan Brandon University School for the Solo Voice

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Little Star, Winnipeg England Saskatoon Maple Creek North Battleford

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