During the last week of April, over 1,100 performers aged five to 25 made their way to the Red Deer College Arts Centre for the Red Deer Festival of the Performing Arts Music Festival.
It’s a spring tradition now well into its second generation.
The festival was started in 1964 by the Kiwanis Club of Red Deer under the direction of Dr. Stu Flemming, who had a vision to “To promote growth and development of music and the arts for our youth in Central Alberta.”
The festival has grown over 47 years into one of the largest of its kind in Alberta with the Kiwanis Club of Red Deer still an integral part of the festival. Members of the Kiwanis Club, their spouses, friends and other community volunteers continue to donate hundreds of hours each year for planning, fundraising and operating the festival, which is now run by the Red Deer Festival of the Performing Arts.
The festival provides an opportunity for Central Alberta students to demonstrate their artistic talents and benefit from professional adjudication, to help them advance their artistic careers, says festival president Bob Nelson. who would also like to thank the many volunteers for providing their time and effort and the many generous donors for providing the financial backing that makes it possible to host an event of this size.
Over the week of competitions, more than 6,000 individual performances in competitions including band, piano, instrumental, vocal, chorus, orchestra, strings, speech arts and musical theatre took place at the RDC Arts Centre.
Festival organizers say the mandate of the festival continues to be to provide young musicians with the opportunity to perform, provide constructive feedback from professional adjudication, provide a valuable educational experience, provide the community with a greater appreciation of the arts and provide performers with assistance through awards for further study in the arts.
The festival culminates in a Performers Showcase, which exhibits some of the top performances from the festival and recognizes individual and group excellence. This year’s Showcase will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Living Stones Church.