Best of the Fest: Young Shuswap musicians captivate audience with gala performances

Georgina Vrana performs the opening number with accompanist, Tom Brighouse, at the Shuswap Music Festival Gala on the Nexus stage at the Salmon Arm First United Church on Friday, April 29. (Contributed)Georgina Vrana performs the opening number with accompanist, Tom Brighouse, at the Shuswap Music Festival Gala on the Nexus stage at the Salmon Arm First United Church on Friday, April 29. (Contributed)
Rotary Club of Salmon Arm president Garry Hoffart presents the “Best of the Fest in Vocal” to Matteo Thiessen. (Contributed)Rotary Club of Salmon Arm president Garry Hoffart presents the “Best of the Fest in Vocal” to Matteo Thiessen. (Contributed)
Teslyn Bates wins “Best of the Fest in Piano” and the Klein Family Award presented by Gabriele Klein. (Contributed)Teslyn Bates wins “Best of the Fest in Piano” and the Klein Family Award presented by Gabriele Klein. (Contributed)
Autumn Sunderland receives the “Best of the Fest in Strings” award presented by Shuswap Rotary Club president Kathy Dunfield. (Contributed)Autumn Sunderland receives the “Best of the Fest in Strings” award presented by Shuswap Rotary Club president Kathy Dunfield. (Contributed)
Shuswap Music Festival performers and award winners gather on the Nexus stage during the festival Gala Concert held Friday, April 29. (Contributed)Shuswap Music Festival performers and award winners gather on the Nexus stage during the festival Gala Concert held Friday, April 29. (Contributed)
Kelly Coubrough, on behalf of the Shuswap District Arts Council, congratulates Nathan King, winner of the Blair Borden Memorial Scholarship. (Contributed)Kelly Coubrough, on behalf of the Shuswap District Arts Council, congratulates Nathan King, winner of the Blair Borden Memorial Scholarship. (Contributed)

The youngest performer in the Shuswap Music Festival Gala, five-year-old violinist Georgina Vrana, accompanied on piano by Tom Brighouse, captured the hearts of the audience with their opening performance.

Held Friday, April 29 on the Nexus stage at the Salmon Arm First United Church, the gala showcased a range of young musicians on their musical journey.

A suite of talented musicians performing in strings, piano and vocal, from entry levels to the highest grades, entertained the concertgoers during the evening.

Students were recognized for their achievements at every level with awards and scholarships made possible through the generosity of donors, sponsors and memorial funds.

Adjudicators selected the winners and the “Best of the Festival” awards went to the top performers.

Autumn Sunderland won Best of the Fest in Strings. Kathy Dunfield, Shuswap Rotary Club, presented this talented 13-year-old with the award. Autumn performed Elgar’s Salut d’amour Op 12 to a mesmerized audience.

“When the strings adjudicator heard her play this piece during the festival, he held back tears and exclaimed that he had no advice to improve her perfect performance,” reads a media release from festival director Sue Wolff.

Matteo Thiessen won two top awards: Best of the Fest in Vocal, presented by Garry Hoffat with the Rotary Club of Salmon Arm, and the Mary Fowler Memorial Scholarship from the Shuswap Community Foundation. Matteo is also an accomplished cellist.

Read more: Province takes note of young Shuswap musicians at June festival

Read more: Snapshot: Shuswap music students level up

Rich Smith with Daybreak Rotary Club presented the “Best of the Fest in Piano” to Teslyn Bates. Teslyn has participated in many Shuswap Festivals, with this year’s being her last. In the fall, Teslyn will be entering the University of Victoria to study music. Teslyn also received the Klein Family Award from Gabriele Klein.

A beautiful performance by Teslyn of Chopin’s Etude Op 25 no. 7 concluded the evening of entertainment.

Nathan King won Outstanding Senior in Piano and the Blair Borden Memorial Scholarship from the Salmon Arm Arts Council. Evje Knutson and Sadie Maddigan shared the Georgina Lazzarotto Vocal Award.

Awards for Band, provided by SASCU and presented by Darlene McBain, went to A.L. Fortune for Best Middle School Band and to Jackson Grade 10 for Best Secondary School Band and Best Jazz Band.

The list of festival awards includes:

PIANO: Outstanding Junior: Anna-Maria Zebroff; Outstanding Intermediate: Nico Glanville; Intermediate Duet: Amy Milne and Aimee Glasser; Outstanding Senior: Nathan King; Senior Duet: Nathan King and Jenna Maclean; Concert Class: Julianne Derochie; Level 1: Georgina Vrana; Level 2: Liam McBride and Tamara Mead; Level 3: Liam Spencer; Level 5: Brodie Maclean; Level 6: Gideon Breugem; STRINGS: Outstanding Junior: Charles Weathermon; Outstanding Intermediate: Aya Swerdelian; Outstanding Senior: Anya Massa; VOCAL: Outstanding Junior Classical: Evje Knutson; Junior Musical Theatre: Evje Knutson; Outstanding Intermediate Classical: Sadie Maddigan; Intermediate Musical Theatre: Sadie Maddigan; Senior Musical Theatre: Ariel Klim.

Congratulations to the winners and to all the musicians who participated in the festival. Organizers look forward to re-instating Choral to the disciplines by next year and welcoming back both adult and youth choirs.

The Shuswap Music Festival is one of 34 regional festivals in B.C. Eligible candidates from these festivals are recommended by the adjudicators to compete at the BC Performing Arts Provincial Festival. This year, the provincial competition will be held in virtual format.

Mayor Alan Harrison announced the candidates recommended for the BC Provincial Festival as follows:

PIANO: Intermediate: Teslyn Bates (Alternate: Nathan King); STRINGS: Junior A: Autumn Sunderland (Alternate: Hannah Breugem); VOCAL: Junior Classical: Evje Knutson; Junior Musical Theatre: Joy Braby Pel (Alternate: Leah Parenteau); Intermediate Classical: Matteo Thiessen; Intermediate Musical Theatre: Sadie Maddigan; Senior Musical Theatre: Ariel Klim.

Winners from the BC Provincial Festival are eligible to compete at the Canada West Performing Arts Festival in Saskatoon from July 21-23, 2022.

The Shuswap Music Festival board wished all Shuswap candidates good luck as they continue their journey.

The Shuswap Music Festival is made possible by many volunteers and the generous donations of patrons, Rotary, the Shuswap Community Foundation, City of Salmon Arm, SASCU and local businesses. For more information, the festival is online at ShuswapFestival.com, and on Facebook.

Submitted


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