One of Manitoba’s largest festivals wraps up
Over for another year, Virden Music & Arts Festival (VMAF) final sessions wound up this week with a visual arts reception marking the end of the display at the C.P.R. Historic Centre’s gallery.
Sherridan Reimer and Judy Poole co-chair VMAF. Poole says, “We are quite thrilled the entries are still up, that the schools are still supporting us with entries… festival is alive and well in Virden.”
The festival ran for 12 days with 758 entries; as such, Virden’s festival is among the largest in Manitoba.
It provides enrichment and education from professionals in each discipline who not only grade the work, but provide inspiration for performers and their teachers.
The adjudicators’ feedback is invaluable and is a basis for the presentation of scholarships, one of which is a $500 Enbridge Pipelines award for Senior Excellence to an individual with high results in at least two disciplines.
Winners also receive plaques and glass awards, and top performers may be recommended to compete at the provincial level.
“Our participants put a great deal of work into the preparation of their pieces…. We are told by our adjudicators that they are pleased to be seeing such impressive work being showcased at our festival. Our committee is very grateful to the schools, clubs, organizations, businesses, and individuals who support us in this endeavour.”
A retired educator, Poole sees festival as filling a complimentary role to school curriculum with poetry and prose. “Definitely for the music… in the band curriculum. The whole idea of performing and celebrating performance is in the curriculum.”
Life is busy and the festival could slip by unnoticed if you don’t have children participating, except for the line-up of cars on festival days at the theatre or church in downtown Virden. Throughout six sessions performed before audiences of parents, friends and relatives, many hundreds of people were out and about in Virden.
“There was a time when (VMAF) was the ‘be all and end all’ and everyone had their special outfits, making sure they were wearing something different every day,” Poole recalls.
The festival committee dug up some trivia. Poole says, “We found out that 60 years ago, May 6, 7, and 8, programs were .25 cents and total entries were 609.” Since then, entries are up by 150. “We are quite thrilled to still have this number of people involved.”
Last week, between Monday, April 15 through Wednesday, April 17 speech arts performances involved students from every grade level within the Fort La Bosse School Division. Their work was adjudicated by Bambi Rutherford, a music specialist with Interlake School Division, with vast performance experience.
Visual art was adjudicated by Hamiota’s talented artist and educator, Elaine Rawlings. A reception will be held at the C.P.R. Centre, Monday, April 29 between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.