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Inaugural Sudbury Music Festival a success, say organizers

Festival was held via Zoom due to the ongoing pandemic, but organizers hope to return to in-person performances next year
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One hundred and four emerging musicians and vocalists participated in the inaugural Sudbury Music Festival at the end of April.

One hundred and four emerging musicians and vocalists participated in the inaugural Sudbury Music Festival at the end of April.

Sudbury Music Festival builds on the 75-year tradition of the Kiwanis Festival of Sudbury. While they remain supportive, the Kiwanis Club of Sudbury is no longer sponsoring the festival.

Like many service groups, its membership has declined. In its place, a group of local music teachers and enthusiasts – passionate about the festival and the opportunities it provides young musicians – have formed a new organization, Sudbury Music Festival.

Instead of performing live for an adjudicator, participants filmed their performances, and uploaded videos to YouTube. Participants in each category then met with their adjudicators on Zoom to view the videos together and receive their feedback and evaluations.

“I was thoroughly impressed by the enthusiasm, dedication, talent and musicianship exhibited by so many of our students!” said festival co-ordinator Louis Simão, in a press release.

Twenty-five cash awards were presented to musicians and vocalists who achieved high marks. These include Brandon Wong, winner of the Kiwanian Dr. Walter Cook Award for senior percussion, Kaylee Ross, winner of the Chrissie Nemis Memorial Award for senior musical theatre, the Lockerby Composite School Senior Band, winner of the Alan Biggs Memorial Award, and the Young Sudbury Singers winner of the Janie Farrow Music Award.

“We thank the participants’ parents and teachers for their support and encouragement, the adjudicators for their feedback and recommendations, and especially Festival Coordinator Louis Simão for all his work behind the scenes,” said festival board chair Ralph McIntosh.

The festival board also thanked the community for its continued support. Sponsors for the 2022 Festival were Brokerlink, Lougheed Family, A & J Home Hardware, Sudbury Credit Union, Long & McQuade, Christine Visser, Peggy Wong, Steven Gonder, Mike Humphris, Heather Parker, Christine Pun and Jack Broumpton.

Musicians who have been invited to compete at the provincial level are: Lockerby Composite School Senior Band (secondary school concert band), Kaylee Ross (senior musical theatre), Megan Misner (senior vocal), Brandon Wong (senior percussion), Jacob Zhong (senior piano), Ava Levecque, Jessica Abbott, Alessandro Gregorini and Ella Koskela (intermediate musical theatre), Chenan Lyu and Andrew Xiaoan Lian (intermediate strings), Chloe Smilek and Veronica Longe (intermediate vocal), Joshua Kim and Andrew Xiaoan Lian (intermediate strings), Monique Fitzmaurice (intermediate piano), August Zhao (junior piano), Yvonne Gao (junior strings), Noah Smilek, Vishnu Nair and Anilathmaj Phari Kurundula (junior guitar) and Eric Huang (junior piano).

This is the second year the much-loved festival for music students has been conducted on Zoom. Organizers are hopeful that the festival will be held with live performances in 2023.