VMAF holds festival despite covid

Virden Music and Arts Festival was hamstrung in 2020 due to COVID-19 freshly on the scene meaning corresponding lifestyle restrictions. However, by the time the 2021 festival season rolled around dedicated committee members had a plan that would allow students to compete within ongoing health restrictions.

The Festival would not be stopped by a virus this spring. All sessions continued with performances recorded and uploaded to Google Classroom for adjudication.

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“Even though this year's Festival is entirely virtual, we are still amazed at how many passionate people have signed up to be a part of it,” say festival organizers on the Virden music and Arts Facebook page.

In the Piano discipline, there were 67 entries from 40 individuals. For Violin, nine entries from five individuals played for adjudication. In the Vocal discipline, there were 21 entries from 10 individuals. In the Speech Arts, 38 individuals performed in 61 entries.

Visual Arts were on display for all of April and were featured in the Empire-Advance April 16 edition.

This year, Josephine Moellenbeck took on the task of Vocal Adjudicator for Virden’s festival. She is a private vocal teacher in Brandon, teaching students from around the Westman area including Boissevain, Neepawa and Souris.

She began taking vocal and piano lessons at the age of five and has, since then, gone on to complete her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Studies from Brandon University under the coaching of Sarah Hall. Josephine has performed with several choirs, most recently being an alto with Konektis under the direction of Michelle Chyzyk.

In Speech Arts Leanne Teichrib from Plumas adjudicated Poetry, Prose and Monologue entries in Google Classrooms (online format).  

Leanne grew up in Virden, participating in school musicals, choirs, arts and music festivals, and other performing opportunities. Recently she’s been stage manager for “Behold the Lamb” a week-long musical production in Noblesville, Indiana.

Nancy Nowosad adjudicated Piano and Instrumental (Violin) videos on Google Classrooms.  Teachers and students appreciate her encouraging comments and helpful suggestions.

Nowosad received her musical training in Saskatchewan, and holds an Associateship Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Regina.

She now lives in Winnipeg, where she maintains a busy schedule as a teacher of piano, saxophone and theory, as well as a workshop/masterclass clinician, adjudicator, and Royal Conservatory of Music examiner. She is an active accompanist and organist, and plays keyboard in a 17 piece “big band”. Nancy conducts the Associated Manitoba Arts Festivals’ Adjudicator Training course, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Winnipeg Music Festival.

VMAF 2021 Scholarship Recipients:


Brandon University Mabel Brandon Memorial Fund Scholarship – Sr. – Hannah Peters

Bernice McDonald Memorial Fund Scholarship – Sr. – Hayley Kirkup

VMAF Sr. Scholarship – Matthew Kirkup

VMAF Jr. Scholarship – Emery Strachan, Charley Dunning, Cooper McColl


VMAF Sr. Scholarship – Keira Peters


Bernice McDonald Memorial Fund Scholarship – Sr. – Daelyn Fefchak

Bernice McDonald Memorial Fund Scholarship – Sr. – Dylan Southam

Speech Arts:

VMAF Sr. Scholarship – Saige Davidson, Samantha Andrew, Leila Verran

VMAF Jr. Scholarship - Jasmyne Andries, Kiahna Barkley

As well as the Sr. Scholarship recipients from VCI Drama – Samantha Andrew and

Saige Davidson, Speech Arts Monologue highlights from the VCI Drama program

were: Sara Podobni, Kaiden Jansen & Ryder Fouillard

Visual Arts:

VMAF Sr. Scholarship – Georgia Abel, Darien Dunning, Amy Wu

VMAF Jr. Scholarship – Carson James, Zaree Routledge, Libby Verran, Zoe

Johnson, Kale Kliever

Provincial Recommendations:

Speech Arts - Olivia Hayward, Georgia Hayward, Jasmyne Andries, Kiahna Barkley

Strings – Keira Peters, Rebeka Penner

Piano – Hannah Peters, Hayley Kirkup, Tanner Wilkinson, Indiana Thiessen

Enbridge Senior Excellence Scholarship:

Olivia Hayward

© Virden Empire-Advance