WOLFVILLE – Kathy Fuller remembers when her son was bit by the festival bug.
She recalls him playing piano, and moving on to the flute and piccolo, and eventually oboe. And when a choir event came to Acadia, Giles found himself singing onstage as the director auditioned him on the spot.
As he sang Happy Birthday, the only song he knew, Fuller witnessed him fall in love with performing, something she sees every year as each festival performer takes the stage.
“Every chance you get to perform changes you. I think that’s a big deal – making yourself get up there, and getting that feeling,” she said.
What’s in it for the performers
The festival will run this year from April 30 to May 6 and is making a full comeback after last year was limited due to work-to-rule.
Fuller, the festival’s president, is especially excited for this year’s adjudicators including first-time feature Erin Bardua and returning favourite Pamela Campbell, and the festival’s other events like the competition and performances.
“It’s a high-energy thing. The musicians get to be with kids from other schools and encourage each other. It’s competitive, but in a supportive way,” she said.
The festival has faced a tight budget since the province cut thousands of its funding dollars five years ago but has found a local partner in Acadia University, which will contribute nearly $25,000 this year – a number equal to the festival’s entire operating budget.
“This help means we can keep admissions low and not be stretched too thin. It’s a huge help, and we’re so thankful,” said Fuller.
Finances tough after province cuts funding
Fuller is also looking forward to the upcoming provincials, which will also be held in Wolfville this year from June 1 to 2 at Acadia.
With a strong season of music events, Fuller and other members of the festival’s board are working with the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir to coordinate two one-day choral festivals for this fall – one at the elementary level, and one for junior and high school students.
The events are slated for October and November and will also include a clinician to work with each choir, and a mass choir at the day’s end.
That, along with hosting the provincials, means musicians in the region will be making lots of music this year.
“We’re in it for the kids and the music,” said Fuller.
For more information, see the festival’s website: https://avmf.ca/wp/.