By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – The spotlight was on young talent at the 60th Kinsmen Music Festival in Cornwall.
Dozens of performances lit up the stage at Aultsville Theatre from March 26 to 30.
The festival is a longstanding tradition established by the Kinsmen Club of Cornwall to encourage and foster the development of the arts in schools.
“The opportunity for kids to take the stage in a true theatre setting – they just get so excited,” said Jane McLaren, festival organizer.
Since the event’s inception in 1933, the way art is being taught has greatly evolved. To keep up with modern trends a juried art exhibition was added in 2013. This year a new dance component was set in motion.
McLaren noted that being able to compete on a higher level is up for grabs if performers are able to wow the adjudicators. Ecole St. Paul’s junior choir from Casselman was one of the few who nabbed a coveted spot at the provincials in Peterborough from June 2 to 7.
“It’s a really big deal and quite exciting,” she said.
The festival promotes a workshop style format to nurture the musical or artistic skills of the participants under the guidance of adjudicators and their music teachers.
“They walk out of here more empowered to be a better performer,” said McLaren.
Bursaries were handed out to various winners in categories focused on piano, singing, painting, and instrumental skills. The choral speaking and choirs portion boasted 18 participating classes.
Nearly 1,200 students passed through the theatre over the four days. On the last day of the festival, the 2014 Concert of the Stars showcased the event’s most promising performers in a two-hour finale. Trophy winners and the fortunate few heading to the provincials were on full display.
“This is one of the best group of performers I’ve seen in years,” she said. “It really speaks high for the level of talent in this area.”