A sample of all six disciplines in Powell River Festival of the Performing Arts was on stage at Evergreen Theatre for the annual Grand Concert on Friday, March 8. It marked the 75th time the event has been held, beginning in 1945.
A Celebration Concert was held earlier, featuring past performers and emceed by former mayor Stewart Alsgard, who treated the audience to historical cultural highlights between acts.
“To commemorate our 75 years, we wanted to have something special,” said Joyce Carlson, a member of the festival organizing committee and a Rotarian. “One of our committee members came up with the idea for a free concert. Another went to the museum and looked at hundreds of old photographs and picked some for a PowerPoint presentation that was put together by a third member and shown prior to the Celebration Concert.”
The Rotary Club of Powell River has organized the event for 17 years.
Carlson added that the entire committee was pleased with the extra concert and with the festival in general.
During the Grand Concert, the David Pike Memorial Plaque was presented jointly to Joan McDonald and Pythian Sisters. The award recognizes longtime contributions to the arts in Powell River. McDonald, an early piano participant, was secretary for the festival for many years when it was organized by the Pythian Sisters, who undertook that task for nearly 40 years.
A total of 23 participants were recommended by adjudicators to Performing Arts BC Provincial Festival that takes place in Chilliwack from May 26 to 30.
They are: from Piano - Aaron Schweitzer, Jaid Kirzakow and Annika Mulder; from Speech Arts - Ally Boyd; from Strings - Joy Morgan and Talia Dyer; from Musical Theatre - Charlotte Koopman-Gough, Chelsea Riddle, Ilse Uhlmann, Lauren Huguet and Tyler Riddle; from Classical Voice - Jan Swanson, Tyler Koopman-Gough, Hannah Schweitzer and Electra Atkinson; from Stage Dance - Avari Dodd, Georgia Malamas, Magen Dunlop and Madison Gunther; from Community Choir - Powell River Chorus and Academy Singers; from School Choir - Brooks Chamber Choir; and from Ensemble - Barberschnappers.
Also, during the Grand Concert, it was announced that adjudicators had selected Hannah Schweitzer and Aaron Schweitzer to perform at a PRISMA concert on April 12 in Max Cameron Theatre when pianist Edwin Kim is returning to Powell River. The invitation from PRISMA was part of a cross-promotion collaboration between the two culture events.
“Having music director Arthur Arnold and admissions administrator Lynda Harris play their cellos as part of a sextet at the Celebration Concert was another part of that collaboration,” said Carlson. “It’s a reflection of the mutual support between cultural groups in our community.”