‘Music enriches us:’ Online registration open for annual Prince Albert festival

Luthar Wiberg performs during the Prince Albert Kiwanis Music Festival awards concert at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Mar. 17, 2019. (Herald file photo)

“Kids who are involved in the arts and music don’t necessarily have the opportunity to showcase what they’re doing.” – Colleen Bowen

The coordinator of the Prince Albert Music Festival is looking forward to another opportunity for youth to showcase their talents.

Colleen Bowen has been involved with the initiative for the past eight or nine years. Although the Kiwanis Club in the city announced in August it closed its doors, she said it’s still a major contributor.

“We are still being proudly hosted by the Prince Albert Kiwanis Club, who have generously left us…an ongoing amount of money to the festival to help support it into the future. Although the Kiwanis is no longer here, the festival is still very much in partnership with the Kiwanis Club.”

Bowen said the music festival won’t have dates confirmed until registration is closed; however, it’s booked Mar. 2 to 20 for the event.

“The focus is really on our young people who are involved in music,” emphasized Bowen.

The festival also welcomes registration from adults, who are able to perform for adjudication only, but there are exceptions when it comes to particular categories.

“Often kids who are involved in the arts and music don’t necessarily have the opportunity to showcase what they’re doing,” she said. “Kids in sports sort of hop out there on the field and everybody’s cheering and saying ‘rah-rah’ and ‘you go,’ and kids who are involved in music spend hours practicing all by themselves sitting on a piano bench or possibly sitting in a chair with their instrument and there’s nobody around.”

“This gives them the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and to say ‘You know what, what we’re doing is really important.’”

In previous years, the festival has taken registrations in person—this go around, it’s all online.

“We thought we would join the 21st century and see how that went for us,” said Bowen with a laugh.

She said they tried an online registration system a few years ago and it didn’t go as planned, but the board is much more confident in it this year.

“It’s more convenient for parents. I registered my daughter the other night with a cup of coffee in my hand and sitting at my desk at home in my bathrobe. There’s a lot of convenience as opposed to the registration in one location for three hours, and if parents didn’t get there, it was a huge issue.”

She emphasized registrants don’t just sing or play classical music, but all different kinds.

“Music enriches us. It makes us better people,” said Bowen, adding the art helps build cognitive development and teamwork.

“Kids who work in ensembles, who play in bands, who sing in choirs—they learn the beauty of working together and accomplishing something as a group.”

To register for the Prince Albert Music Festival, visit pamf.musicfestivalsuite.com. Registration closes on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

A solo entry fee costs $20, ensembles of two to eight people cost $30 and bands, choirs, orchestras and ensembles over eight people cost $50.

Bowen also noted the Prince Albert Music Festival’s new website, www.pamf.com, is still a work in progress.