Weyburn Music Festival mixes live and virtual performances

(Photos of Isabelle Cugnet and Lila Anderson, by Kendra Gonczy)

The Weyburn Rotary Music Festival will have a very different look this year, thanks to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The only live portion of the festival was piano, which began on Monday and will run through to Wednesday, March 10, all at the T.C. Douglas Centre, and the few entries for band-instrumental will be held on Wednesday evening. The piano adjudicator is Janis Smith.

“Technically the piano is not a live festival. Due to COVID regulations, we cannot have an audience,” said Music Festival president Heather Sidloski, explaining how this portion of the festival will run.

“Any parents who are coming to the festival will be given ‘volunteer duties’ to help produce our ‘virtual festival’. They will video their child’s performance and then if they choose will post it on their Facebook page and/or the Music Festival Facebook page. We do have a live adjudicator and everything else for piano will run as normal,” she explained.

“For voice we are completely virtual. Our adjudicator, Louella Friesen, is from Waldheim and I will submit all the recordings to her. She will adjudicate the performance and then we are setting up live zoom calls for her to give feedback to the students,” said Sidloski of the vocal entries for the festival, adding that the feedback will happen on March 25-27.

“It is delayed due to some concerns that the music community had with regulations. They have been sorted out now but the result is our festival is a week later,” said Sidloski.

There was very little instrumental this year as the schools did not have a band program until December. There were only three competitors, one with the woodwind, one with strings and one brass. The woodwind and violin are live at the end of the piano session and being adjudicated by that discipline. The brass is being adjudicated with the voice virtually.

The Stars of the Festival concert and presentation of scholarships will be virtual. Similar to how the Weyburn Quota Carol Festival was held in December, the Stars concert will be uploaded to YouTube and will be live on Wednesday, March 31st.

The provincial finals for those music festival performers who are advanced on to that stage will be virtual, and is set for June 4-6.