Kinsmen Music Festival celebrates 65 years

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Kinsmen Music Festival celebrates 65 years
Students of North Dundas Choir at Kinsmen Music Festival on Thursday, April 4 (Shawna O'Neill/TC Media).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The longest running Cornwall Kinsmen Club initiative, the Kinsmen Music Festival, is celebrating 65 years in the community with student performances from Tuesday, April 2 to Thursday, April 4, and again on Sunday, April 7.

Jane McLaren, long-time Festival Coordinator, said that between 10 and 20 schools typically attend each year at Aultsville Theatre. Students can perform in a range of classifications, in voice, instrumental, dance, piano, choir and oral speaking.

McLaren said that on April 7, the Concert of the Stars will award many students with trophies and bursaries for their achievements. Some students will also be selected to compete in a provincial competitions, and others may have the chance to win a Kinsmen Pizza Party, special for their school.

McLaren admires that the festival is non-competitive and that adjudicators give live feedback, taking away the pressure of judgment but allowing students to receive constructive criticism and learn how to handle nerves associated with the stage and presentations.

“I will often say I credit the Kin Music Festival and (a teacher) for teaching me how to be a public speaker,” said McLaren, who remembers participating in various categories the festival as early as Grade 2. “A lot of what I do now in my professional career is a lot of public speaking, and I credit a lot of that to growing up and having these opportunities through things like this festival…it carries over to so many different things in life and is an amazing life skill.”

McLaren said that the Kinsmen Club donates to offset the cost of busses and adjudicators to invest in students’ futures.

“We have two new trophies this year,” added McLaren. “A trophy called the Performance Trophy, donated in memory of Greg Trizisky…he was a real supporter of young people in the arts, and that trophy is for a young person who performs across two different specialties…we also have a new trophy that is recognizing senior or advanced Conservatory Piano (Kinsmen Trophy for Intermediate / Advanced Conservatory Piano donated by the McMartins).”

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