The Prince Albert Music Festival celebrated 75 years on Monday evening with a Gala Concert at the EA Rawlinson Centre.
Festival Coordinator Jesse Campbell said lasting 75 years is a special achievement, and they wanted to celebrate it.
“Whenever there is an anniversary that ends in a five or a zero it causes one say ‘what can we do to celebrate where we are and examine the place of the event, organization et cetera in the community,” Campbell said. “It’s very appropriate for a music festival organization to find a way to share what’s going on in the community and how music shapes that.”
The Prince Albert Music Festival took advantage of having a concert facility like the Rawlinson to showcase the best performers from the Festival’s 75th year. Performers were picked by adjudicators during in March.
“We thought that it would be really nice to make use of a beautiful facility, the Rawlinson Centre, and have a selection of Music Festival performers come under the bright lights on the big stage and share their work with the Prince Albert public,” Campbell said.
“During our actual music festival in March when we had our guest adjudicators in we asked them to select their top performers, their favourites, their best of the best and that’s how the approach came about. The adjudicators actually chose our performers tonight and actually made the program.”
The performances were broken up into a performance by two groups followed by piano, singing and then a saxophone, trumpet and trombone performance. The sets were broken up by guest performances by Brennner Holash and Grant Alexander.
The evening concluded with a performance by Big Noise Youth Choir.
Teena Polle, who was working as a volunteer for the Rawlinson on Monday, has been around the Festival for her whole life. Polle performed in the festival as a vocalist when she was a student, and continues to follow festival from year-to-year.
“That would be several decades ago but it almost seems as if it was there yesterday,” she said. “Things have not changed that much. I can see the joy of the artists that are coming in tonight.”
Polle said she’s happy to move from festival vocalist to festival volunteer.
“The two go together and the crossover thing it’s quite nice,” she explained. “I feel very much a part of them as they go onstage and I feel a part of the volunteers here too.”
Although the vocalists, musicians, and choirs change from year-to-year, Polle said much of the festival remains unchanged. The basic musical rules haven’t changed she said. A good performance in the festival’s earliest years is still a good performance today.
“The rules of singing, the rules of piano, they are the same for Mozart as they are for a performer today. They just don’t change, and that’s unique about it,” she explained. “It’s an art that is developed and an art that you can keep for life.”
Polle said that even if they do not continue with music as a career, the benefits of performing in the festival will stay with them.
“A lot of them they may not go into the profession but if they are invited to a gathering where someone says ‘can you play the piano?’ somebody at the crew would say, ‘I have taken lessons and here I am I will take the piano and make music,’” she explained.
Polle herself has continued to sing since she performed at the music festival. She’s currently one of many members of the local Watsonairs Choral group. As a fellow performer, she couldn’t help but wish the 75th anniversary concert performers luck before they took the stage.
“I would just like to wish everybody, everybody lots and lots of luck and confidence that they are doing their best and thank everybody for coming out tonight and doing this for us,” she said prior to the concert. “I hope that they will continue to do it for themselves.”
Performers included the Ecole Vickars Grade 4 Northern Spirit Flute Ensemble, St. Mary High School Senior Band, Neda Robertson, Tazana Nilson, Maryann Odogwu, Grant Alexander, Anastazja Scott, Kai Twyer, Brenner Holash, Anthony Stergios, Alex Reneberry, Rylee McKay and the Big Noise Youth Choir.
Campbell thanked all of the festival supporters for keeping the institution alive.
“We would not be here without all of the supporters of the Festival, our Friends of the Festival, our volunteers, this does not happen without them. We always need people to make this important festival happen every year so please contact us at PAMFA.ca to be a part of it,” Campbell said.