Music and poetry to my ears

The Vanderhoof performing arts festival was inspiring to say the least.

Emma Wiebe

Emma Wiebe

The voice and speech performances for the Nechako Valley Performing Arts Festival took place this past week in Vanderhoof and I was absolutely blown away. Beautiful crescendos bounced off the high ceilings at the Vanderhoof Christian Fellowship Church. The singers showed strength in voice control some holding notes for several counts and many harmonies were so perfect it sent chills down my spin. I think I may have cried. But if I did it was out of joy because the music touched my soul.

One older group consisting of Emma Wiebe, Jessica Hartwig and Sarah Ebert was breathtaking. Each of them selected songs in different languages from Italian and French to German and Spanish. It was miraculous the variety of tempos and energy these girls portrayed making it seem effortless. Their passion and prestige illuminated their elegant stage presence and each one of them opened themselves to the audience baring a part of themselves.That’s what music is all about, being vulnerable and sharing your gift to inspire those around you. Well, I can honestly say, I was utterly inspired.

Kevin Zackresky, the vocalist adjudicator, received raving reviews for his energetic and humourous approach to teaching the singers how to channel their voices and become better on stage. The speech adjudicator Leon Potter was also praised for working with each group on their individual speech needs.

For those who didn’t have the pleasure of seeing the youngest age group recite poems from memory, described in one word, adorable. Mika Hara, Jaxx Tait, Ryder Teichroeb, Luther Pelzer, Milo Tait and Annika Pelzer performed their favourite poems as the first group of under 14-year-olds. They got up on stage by themselves to share their rhyming skills, many of them under the age of six. Some needed a little more encouragement then others but overall congrats to the parents who helped their young ones get up there. 

“I’ve adjudicated all over the province and this is the youngest crowd I’ve ever seen on stage and I think it’s just brilliant,” Potter said, who also gave a short workshop with the kids afterward talking about tongue twisters and the importance of annunciation. It was thought provoking to hear him talk about how advancements in technology have actually created laziness when it comes to articulating words. I found myself saying peter piper and she sells sea shells repeatedly over in my head as I left, still hindering on the cuteness factor of what I just watched.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the speech and vocal portion of the festival. A Concert Sunday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Vanderhoof Christian Fellowship Church will take samples from each day and showcase a collaboration of participants. All are welcome.