During the Grand Concert at the end of the 2019 Powell River Festival of the Performing Arts, emcee Joyce Carlson asked the audience to suggest some changes.
“After 75 years, there have been changes in the makeup of the festival, what kinds of changes will we see in the next 75 years?” asked the festival chair. “Let us know what you think.”
Part of last year’s festival was a commemorative concert that featured individuals and groups which had participated in festivals in past years.
“One of our newer committee members, Karyn O’Keefe, spent hours at the museum researching photos of performers from festivals over the years,” explains Carlson. “Then festival secretary Ron Salome put them all together in a PowerPoint presentation that was shown at the beginning of the concert that was hosted by former Powell River mayor Stewart Alsgard.”
Carlson, O’Keefe and Salome are all members of The Rotary Club of Powell River, which has sponsored the event for 18 years.
At the festival debriefing, O’Keefe commented that she would like to have more concerts in 2020. It turns out that someone else was thinking about festival changes and more concerts. Music teacher Roy Carson presented his vision for a change for the band and instrumental category that he hoped “can generate more interest and participation by using a different format.”
Carson suggested to the committee that rather than continuing with the past format for this category that it be replaced with performance opportunities entitled “Focus on Youth and Focus on Community.”
The plan is to have three 45-minute concerts on Monday, February 24, in Max Cameron Theatre, at 10:30 am, 1 pm and 7 pm. Carson has asked for assistance from other music teachers for these changes. His vision also includes having a full theatre of audience members that includes students, family and friends as well as other festival devotees.
“Our committee is supporting this change to the festival format, replacing band and instrumental with performance opportunities,” says Carlson. “We will supply support as requested by Roy.”
Other disciplines in the festival: piano, vocal and choral, strings, speech arts and dance will continue as in the past.
“We have many participants who wish to be adjudicated in addition to having the opportunity to be recommended to attend Performing Arts BC provincial festival,” adds Carlson. “We also have a plan in place should any individual wish to be adjudicated for band and instrumental.”
Online registration is now open at events.solarislive.com/PRFestival and will remain until Tuesday, January 24 at 4 pm. Then the program schedule will be determined.
Carlson wants to remind people of new categories to consider that were added last year. They are: Music Composition, Family Music, Contemporary Christian Music, Pop Music, Singer-Songwriter, Diverse Styles and Slam Poetry.
“All these changes are allowing the festival to evolve as we head towards the 100th edition,” she says.
Generous support from Powell River Arts Council for the in-kind donation of Evergreen Theatre in Powell River Recreation Complex and School District 47 for the use of Max Cameron Theatre at Brooks Secondary School are instrumental in the continuation of the festival, adds Carlson.
“We also are grateful for our many volunteers who come out to assist with differing time commitments, the evening Rotary club for financial and people-power,” she adds. “That’s the reason why the longest-continuously running festival in our community is happening for the 76th time in 2020.”
The video below features Nancy and Alex Hollman performing at the Celebration Concert on March 2, 2019. Both are past recipients of the David Pike Memorial Trophy for longtime contributions to arts in Powell River.
Nancy taught piano and voice for many years and her students were participants in the festival as was she, as an accompanist, conductor and performer. She also served as festival discipline head for piano for decades.
As a singer, Alex participated with choirs and as an individual. He also was stage manager for the Grand Concert for many years, making sure, with his crew, that all the necessary props, chairs and music stands were in place as required. He and Nancy have retired from performing and this was their final performance.