Kippens pianist ready to return to Stephenville Music Festival

Frank Gale
Published on April 6, 2014
Stephen Eckert of Kippens is excited the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival has returned. — Photo by Frank Gale/The Western Star

As Stephen Eckert waited at home for news that he may be called to the Rose Bowl competition in Corner Brook, he was equally excited for today’s return of the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival.

The young man has already been recognized for his piano playing, winning the Rose Bowl award in the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival in 2012. He earned the Rose Bowl award in the 2013 Corner Brook Rotary Music Festival.

Eckert’s involvement in music goes back to when he was about five or six years old, when he first took part in the Stephenville festival. While piano is his instrument of choice for the festivals, he also plays trumpet in school bands.

He travelled to Corner Brook to take part in the festival last year, but had to miss the Stephenville competition.

But he’s more than ready to go back at it again.

Eckert’s interest in music was spurred on by his older siblings, John and Katherine, who both play piano. His parents, Joe and Lisa, wanted all their children to have ability in music, he said.

It was while he was in Grade 6 at Stephenville Middle School that Eckert took up the trumpet, and he’s been with the Stephenville High School concert band since Grade 10. He also plays in the early morning band at the school.

Eckert said he will definitely pursue music as a career and, not surprisingly, hopes to specialize in piano.

Earlier this year, he participated in the Kiwanis Music Festival in St. John’s and won in the category of complete major solo work for his age group, then placed second in junior piano (under 18). Unfortunately, he wasn’t called back to the Rose Bowl competition.

This year he placed first in his Under 16 class in piano at the Corner Brook Rotary Music Festival, and learned he is the recipient of the J. Leslie Collis Memorial Award for a performer excelling in piano at the Kiwanis Festival.

Also to his credit, he has completed Grade 8 in piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

The Stephenville Rotary Music Festival this year will reintroduce the category of dramatic speech performance and introduce, for the first time, the folk instruments category.

Performers in the folk instruments category are adults from the Bay St. George Folk Arts Council.

There will be no admission charge for any of the performances during the week, including the Monday evening folk performances. The final concert will take place Saturday.

It was the objective of the Rotary Club to redesign the organization of the festival to make it a more community-based event.

The steering committee engaged the expertise and assistance of 26 musicians/music teachers for input in the development of a completely revised and renewed syllabus.

All performances are scheduled to take place at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre except for the instrumental and band performances, which will take place Thursday morning at Stephenville High.

The Western Star