No contests here, just kids and fun

Tara Bradbury
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Northwest Rotary Music Festival begins Sunday

The goal is to inspire and promote music education in the province, and when the St John’s Northwest Rotary Music Festival gets underway Sunday, it will be less about competition and more about having fun.

For the past 26 years, the festival has foregone competition, allowing, organizers say, for young musicians to focus instead on networking, performing, and learning from some of the continent’s most respected music educators.

Thousands will attend

Thousands of students from kindergarten to Grade 12 from across the country will attend the festival, which will run just under two weeks, divided into three parts: choral, jazz bands, and concert bands/orchestras/ensembles.

The kids will have the chance to perform for two clinicians in a

45-minute session, receive an adjudication from each of them, and participate in an interactive clinic afterwords.

This year’s clinicians include JUNO-nominated saxophonist and composer Shirantha Beddage, conductor/composer/global music specialist Gerard Yun and Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra artistic director Colin Clarke.

When it comes to public events, the highlight of the festival is the Rotary Music Festival Jazz Celebration, happening May 10 at Holy Heart Theatre, featuring performances by Beddage, Ouroborus, the Exploits Jazz Band, Dana Parsons and Wade Tarling and the Rotary Jazz Band with Steve Haines, hosted by Billy Sharpe of Coast 101.1’s “Cool Jazz on the Coast.”

Tickets are $20 for regular admission and $10 for students

and seniors (and free for participants).

Concerts will be held most evenings with performances by the participating choirs.

Tickets will be available each night inside the lobby at Holy Heart Theatre (not at the box office) at a cost of $10 regular admission and $5 for students. Showtime is 7 p.m. each night.

A schedule of events and more information on the festival is

available online at

Organizations: Holy Heart Theatre, Gerard Yun and Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, Exploits Jazz Band

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