EK Performing Arts festival approaching

East Kootenay performers ready themselves for annual 16-day festival in Cranbrook

Singers, dancers, musicians and actors from all over the region are preparing for the annual East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival, which will be held April 10-26, 2013.

Now running for more than 40 years, the festival brings performers young and old to compete in public contests that will provide weeks of entertainment in Cranbrook.

“People who attend can expect polished performances, music, dance and poetry that they may be familiar with and some that they won’t know as well, but that will delight and entertain them,” said Ellen Bailey, a member of the festival committee.

“They may see some students who are stars of tomorrow.”

The festival is divided into four categories, spread over 16 days.

Speech and Dramatic Arts performances will be held at First Baptist Church on April 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entrants will perform poems and dramatic scenes; among the highlights will be a performance from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar by Bud Abbott, as well as speech ensembles and choirs.

The Dance categories take place on Saturday, April 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Key City Theatre. Most dancers are aged between 10 and 18, and they will perform in solo jazz, lyrical, tap, modern and ballet styles. The Dance categories include solo, duets, trio and groups of up to 17 dancers.

Piano performances will take place Monday, April 22 to Wednesday, April 24 at the College of the Rockies lecture theatre, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day, with an evening session on Tuesday, April 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

During the evening session, attendees will be treated to Mozart’s piano concerto in A major, performed by three students who will play one movement each. Their teacher, Creston’s Audrey Johnson, will play the orchestral accompaniment on a second piano. That evening, you will also hear Alec Rowley’s Miniature Concerto – both the first and third movement; Berkovich’s Concerto; and Claire de Lune by Debussy.

Voice categories will be held at Knox Presbyterian Church from Wednesday, April 24 to Friday, April 26. On Wednesday morning, the audience will hear performers aged 11 and under perform musical theatre pieces. That afternoon, you will hear classical recitals by intermediate performers.

Wednesday evening will feature the Vera Women’s Choir from Jaffray, and the Kimberley Community Choir.

The Thursday session will feature classical recitals by accomplished local performers, including several from Nelson.

Each class of performance will have its own adjudicator: Lisa Aasebo for Speech Arts, Yvette Rowledge for piano, Sandy Slemp for dance, and Sarona Mynhardt for vocal classes.

The adjudicators will recommend performers who win trophies or awards to perform at the B.C. Performing Arts Festival in Chilliwack on May 26 to 30.

Although registration for the festival closed back in February, all ages can participate.

“We have entrants as young as six (including a kindergarten class in Speech Arts) and Bud Abbott, who is 90-plus, will be performing from Julius Caesar in speech arts,” said Bailey.

The Performing Arts Festival will have a grand finale in the form of its Showcase Gala Concert, held on Monday, May 13 at 7 p.m. at the Key City Theatre.

The adjudicators choose which performers take the stage at the showcase, Bailey said.

“They may be award winners or provincial nominees, or they may have delivered an outstanding and entertaining performance and not be eligible for provincials for one reason or another.”

The East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival was organized by the Fraternal Order of Eagles for its first 30 years. It is now run by a committee of volunteers, with sponsorship from numerous businesses and community groups, with special sponsorship by East Kootenay Community Credit Union.