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Posted: March 28, 2020

Performing Arts Festival was a resounding success

By Ken Matthias

In a day of uncertainty and confusion, the ability to express one’s emotions through a healthy and sincere medium can be a conduit of peace. For millennia, the performing arts have provided such comfort with their ability to touch the human soul through beauty and form.

This was recently displayed in our region through the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival (EKPAF) held at various venues around town, and Key City Theatre. Four hundred participants from throughout our region came together to perform, watch their peers, and be professionally adjudicated in the disciplines of Speech Arts, Voice, Choral, Piano, Strings, and Dance.

EKPAF President Marta Zeegers shared, “There were many professional development opportunities made available this year. It was exciting to watch students’ understanding increase as differing perspectives and teaching methods benefited many.”

There has been a growth in the festival, both in participation and skill level. When asked for an example, Zeegers offered, “The intermediate piano really stood out this year. Some of the senior pianists have moved on, but now some of the younger ones are moving up and bringing great skill with them.” Marta went on to speak about how well-rounded many of the festival participants are, being taught multiple disciplines, both in private lessons and through their schools.

Marta commented, “The kids are very supportive of one another, a factor helping make them into ‘fine human beings.’ The performing arts is unlike many other activities that kids get involved with. The performing artist is inherently connected to other people. To take the stage demands the consideration of others.”

The dance discipline saw double the number of participants this year, bringing three full days of contemporary dance, hip-hop, jazz, tap, and ballet to the stage. Another highlight was the registration of twelve adult participants, some performing for the first time in over 30 years.

When asked about the factors for the surge of interest, Zeegers commented on critical importance of the fine art and performing art programs in the schools. “Not everyone can afford private lessons. The schools offer wonderful opportunities to develop talented young people that would remain hidden if not for these programs.”

There are countless numbers of dedicated volunteers that invested many hours into ensuring the 2020 East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival was a resounding success, and a welcome and enriching experience in a confusing and uncertain time.

Lead image: A dance showcase during the 2020 East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival, held in Cranbrook.  All pictures by Ken Matthias. @keneticcreative

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