The Prince Albert Musical Festival was one of the first events to be hit hard by COVID-19, but after two years, some of the brightest musical talents in the region will get their chance back on stage.
Organizers cancelled all remaining events halfway through the 2020 Music Festival, then went with a virtual event in 2021. On Tuesday, musicians and vocalists will be back performing in front of live audiences for the first festival in two years, something organizers can’t wait to see.
“I think it’s going to be a combination of relief and celebration for everyone involved,” festival coordinator Jesse Campbell said. “Not only for the students, but also for their teachers.”
Although members of the public will be welcomed back for live performances, there will still be some limitations in place. The festival won’t host band or choir competitions this year, and school groups will not be included.
Campbell said conflicting vaccination and masking mandates made it impossible to host all the normal disciplines and concerts. However, she’s confident those who do compete will be better for the experience.
“Even though it’s not as full of a festival as we would typically have, it’s getting back to that live component, which I think is so essential for musical growth,” she said.
A total of 85 performances are scheduled over three days in the piano and vocal disciplines, with an awards concert scheduled for March 6. Entrants range from ages seven to 18.
Scholarship winners can advance to the provincial competition, depending on how adjudicators judge their performance. Regardless of whether or not they advance, Campbell said just getting back on stage will help young performers.
“It’s not only about showing a student’s technical growth and skill, but having them share their musicality with the audience and with the general public,” she explained. “That’s what’s been missing so much these past two years—opportunities for people to just enjoy the arts and especially music.”
Campbell added that performers will benefit from the professional advice. The festival brings in adjudicators from across the province, giving performers plenty of opportunities to learn and improve.
The 2022 Prince Albert Music Festival begins with the piano performances on March 1 at 2 p.m. Piano continues on March 2 at 9 a.m., with vocal performances scheduled to start 12:30 p.m. on March 3. The awards concerts take place on March 6. Vocal performances start at 2 p.m., and piano performances start at 7 p.m.
All festival events and performances will take place at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library auditorium.
All performances must comply with COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the provincial government, Saskatchewan Music Festival Association, and the City of Prince Albert.