Creston Valley Music Students Impress in Virtual Arts Festival


Submitted by the Creston Valley Arts Festival Committee

As the school year drew to a close, so did most of the music students in Creston Valley – even though their teachers hope the instruments won’t be put away for the summer! This year has seen another annual music festival impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, and teachers and students are hoping for a return to the in-person festival format for 2023.

For many years, the Creston Valley Festival of the Arts has offered music students the opportunity to perform in front of their peers, a certified judge, other music teachers and members of the public. The pandemic has forced this long-running event to “go virtual” over the past two years. Last year, the students engaged in a somewhat hybrid format, with their performances videotaped and submitted to the referee for judging and reviews.

In 2022, it’s gone even further, with students (or their parents) tasked with recording their own performances at home. During both festivals, the members of the jury provided their comments to the students either by e-mail or by their own video recordings which they sent back to the participants. These local festivals are crucial springboards for honing technique and developing performance skills, and this experience helps students get recommended to move on to the provincial festival.

This year, Cadence Hengen and Alison Hengen have each been recommended to compete at the provincial level. Zelda Faulkes was recommended as an earned (non-competitive) entrant.

The 2022 festival (completed within weeks in March) saw 29 students perform 61 pieces, with the following best-in-class results on piano:

• Best Overall – Riann Gerber

• Elementary (9 and under) – Aurora Kass

• Junior A PS (10 – 12) – Verona Faulkes

• Junior B PS (10 – 12) – Jacomo Rogers

• Intermediate (13 – 14) – Zelda Faulkes

• Senior (15 years and over) – Cadence Hengen

• Referee’s Choice – Alison Hengen

• Piano Duo – Alison Hengen and Zelda Faulkes

• Composition – Ethan Bailey

• Honorable Mention (9 and under) – Ada Hengen

• Honorable Mention (13 – 14) – Toby Tomasic

• Honorable Mention (15 years and over) – Andrea Daignault

While the festival normally holds piano and string events, a smaller number of volunteers this year has led to some organizational hurdles. String teacher Flory Godinez was able to arrange for the string performances to be presented to a judge, supported by but separate from the festival.

During the summer and early fall, the Arts Festival Committee invites anyone who appreciates the valley’s cultural scene, opportunities for budding musicians, music education, or the arts in general to step up and help keep the annual student music festival alive. .

The last two years have seen the loss of a few key people on the committee and, in addition to the tasks assumed by these people, it is also the interest, energy and commitment that the volunteers bring with them that are essential to the life of all effort. This committee is made up of both music teachers and non-teachers, as certain functions must be independent of the judges and cannot be performed by a music teacher.

According to outgoing president Margaret Lavender, at least three new faces in this non-teaching category are needed to “rejuvenate the fundamental strength that underlies any group of volunteers”.

The most critical shortcoming, she says, is the liaison with the jury, responsible for contacting and making all arrangements for the jury’s participation in the local festival. This is one of the roles that needs to be filled by someone other than a music teacher. A job description is available for more details, and the new person will be able to count on the advice of the other members of the committee. The death last year of Anita Stushnoff, longtime coordinator and one of the founding members, also left the positions of treasurer and registrar vacant.

To learn more about the Creston Valley Festival of the Arts and how you can join this effort, contact Laura From by text at 250-428-6364 or email [email protected]

Creston Valley


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