Cody Thompson of Kaleden prepares for his piano solo under the watchful eye of adjudicator Michael Oike of Winnipeg

Cody Thompson of Kaleden prepares for his piano solo under the watchful eye of adjudicator Michael Oike of Winnipeg

Talent shines at Kiwanis festival

A total of 1,400 entries have come in for the 86th Kiwanis Music, Dance, Speech and Arts Festival that started this week.

A total of 1,400 entries have come in for the 86th Kiwanis Music, Dance, Speech and Arts Festival that started this week.

The festival runs until April 8, featuring piano, choral music, classical voice, instrumental, musical theatre, speech arts, classical/modern dance and stage dance. The performers will be judged by esteemed adjudicators in each of the disciplines.

“For the performers, it’s nice because at the beginning of the year, as they are working with their teacher, they have a goal. They are preparing their pieces and know at a certain date they will be performing them. It also gives them an opportunity to actually perform in front of a live audience that is not just their family,” said Lynn Allin, president of the Kiwanis festival. “The adjudicators point things out and it is always fair and done with care and concern for the participant.”

After two years of being displaced from the Cleland Theatre, due to renovations, dance performers are glad to be back on the stage.

“It is a great stage and a great environment for our dancers. It’s a great auditorium to perform in,” said Allin, adding that the festival has also added the Shatford Centre as a venue for the musical theatre performers.

Those who earn top marks will go on to the provincial festival, which is held May 27 to 31 in Nanaimo. Winners in Penticton also can receive financial rewards and scholarships. Several local performers are returning to the Kiwanis festival this year that competed provincially last year. Allin said a list of times and locations for competitions can be found on the festival website at and the public is welcome to attend.

“We totally welcome people to come in and participate as an audience member. It gives the performers a chance to be up there in front of a live audience and I think it really demonstrates the talent we have in our community to people who are curious to see what is happening. All the venues are open to everybody, all we ask for is a donation at the door which goes towards the festival moving forward,” said Allin.

Seven adjudicators have been assigned the task of judging the performers. This year’s adjudicators include Michael Oike, an esteemed piano teacher who adjudicates at music festivals across Canada. Linda Beaven, who taught theatre for 36 years at Summerland Secondary School, will be adjudicating the speech arts. Jeff Hyslop, who has starred in Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Women, The Music Man, The Producers and appeared in the London West End and Broadway productions of a Chorus Line, will be judging musical theatre. Hyslop also was in the children’s show Today’s Special.

Jose Delgado-Guerana earned his associate degree in music education from the Conservatory of Castella for the Visual and Performing Arts of Costa Rica, his bachelors degree in music from the University of Costa Rica and his masters degree in viola performance from Western Michigan university. He currently is the senior violin teacher at the Prince George Conservatory of Music.

Internationally trained dancer Gillian Gardner will be adjudicating stage dance while Sarah Brewer Clowes, who has been choreographing professionally for over 20 years, will be adjudicating classical dance.  Trent Worthington is an Alberta musician, based in Edmonton — now studying as a piano technician — and also will be an adjudicator.

The music and speech arts highlights and awards concert will take place on April 20, 6:30 p.m. at the Penticton Alliance Church. The dance highlights and awards concert takes place on April 28 at the Cleland Theatre at 7 p.m.

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