Sudbury’s first music festival celebrates its success

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With 104 emerging musicians and singers participating in its inaugural event, the Sudbury Music Festival is celebrating a successful first year.

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“I was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm, dedication, talent and musicality shown by so many of our students,” said Louis Simao, festival coordinator, in a statement.

Instead of performing live for a judge, contestants filmed their performances and uploaded videos to YouTube. Entrants from each category then met with their judges via Zoom to view the videos together and receive their feedback and ratings. Organizers plan to return to a live event next year.

A total of 25 entrants received cash prizes, including 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 senior group from Lockerby Composite School, winner of the Alan Biggs Memorial Award; and the Young Sudbury Singers, who won the Janie Farrow Music Award.

“We thank the parents and teachers of the participants for their support and encouragement; the referees for their comments and recommendations; and especially Louis Simao for all his work behind the scenes,” said board chairman Ralph McIntosh.

Musicians invited to compete at the provincial level include Ross, Wong and the Lockerby Composite School senior band, as well as: Megan Misner, Jacob Zhong, Ava Levecque, Jessica Abbott, Alessandro Gregorini and Ella Koskela (in the intermediate musical theater category) ; Chenan Lyu and Andrew Xiaoan Lian (intermediate strings); Chloe Smilek and Veronica Longe (intermediate voice); Joshua Kim and Andrew Xiaoan Lian (middle strings); Monique Fitzmaurice; August Zhao; Yvonne Gao; Noah Smilek, Vishnu Nair and Anilathmaj Phari Kurundula (in the junior guitar category); and Eric Huang.

The Sudbury Music Festival builds on the 75-year tradition of the Sudbury Kiwanis Festival. Unfortunately, the Sudbury Kiwanis Club could no longer sponsor the festival due to declining membership. In response, a group of local, passionate music teachers – passionate about the festival and the opportunities it provides for young musicians – have developed this new festival.

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Gerald R. Schneider