Festival of the Arts gearing up for 52nd year in Thompson

Throughout the months of April and May, one of Thompson’s oldest annual events will return to provide young artists with a large platform to showcase their imagination and creativity.

Just like in previous years, the organizers of the Thompson Festival of the Arts are going out of their way to highlight as many artistic disciplines as they can in 2018, including dance, visual arts, piano/strings/instrumental and vocal/choral/speech.

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According to event organizer Terry-Lyn Gagnon, last year’s festival featured around 400 students and they expect that number to grow this upcoming spring.

Not only do these participants get a chance to win awards and scholarships, but the festival will also feature a number of professional artists who will serve as judges and provide invaluable insight for this new generation of creators.

This year’s line-up of adjudicators features an impressive list of local talent, including nature photographer Hugh Fraser and violinist Steven Tsitsos, who has produced two albums and performed at sold-out recitals in North America and Europe.

Despite the pedigree of these adjudicators, Gagnon said this mentoring process aims to be as accessible as possible, especially to those who might just be starting out in their individual discipline.   

“It’s a good starter point,” she said. “If the kid has never danced or done something like that, it’s still low-key enough that they’re just not just thrown to the wolves.”

Gagnon has witnessed this kind of constructive critique first-hand, since her daughter Hannah has been dancing in the Festival of the Arts for the last eight years.

“It’s like any dance recital we go to, but it’s another avenue for her to develop her skills, to be told by somebody different what she could improve on.”

The 2018 Thompson Festival of the Arts is set kick-off with a showcase of piano/strings/instrumentals on April 5–6, and will be followed up by events for dance (April 6–7), vocal/choral/speech (May 2–4) and finally visual arts (May 14–18).

The winners from each category will be revealed at a highlights concert May 29, where they will get the chance to show-off their craft in front of a larger audience.

Registration for this year’s event is taking place Feb. 24 at School District of Mystery Lake headquarters on 408 Thompson Drive.

For more information on this year’s Thompson Festival of the Arts, please contact Jolene Brown at jbrown@mysterynet.mb.ca.  

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