Thompson Festival of the Arts piano and strings adjudicator Everett Hopfner from Brandon took the stage at the Letkemann Theatre for a piano performance April 29, playing a dozen pieces by local, Canadian and international composers.
A sessional instructor at Brandon University who also runs a private teaching studio, Hopfner grew up in Ste. Rose du Lac and completed graduate studies in Germany, which led to tours of Europe with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie. He also toured Canada as the winner of the 36th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition and has been presented by the Cluster New Music + Interactive Arts Festival in Winnipeg, IMATRONIC piano+ in Karlsruhe and Lachenmann Perspektiven in Stuttgart.
Hopfner played two compositions by Thompson’s Michelle Pegus – Hunter’s Moon and The Outskirts of Fantasy – the seven-piece Naïve Music by Valentin Silvestrov and as well as The Seasons, a four-part composition by Rémi Bouchard.
“It really captures the four seasons from a Manitoba perspective, especially from a southern Manitoba prairies perspective,” Hopfner said in his introduction. “The winter portrayal is rather dark and gloomy and then we move to a beautiful spring and summer portrayal.”
Visiting Thompson was a first for Hopfner and he thanked all the performers as well as their teachers and families for supporting Festival of the Arts entrants and the arts in general.
“It is such a treat to come here and see so many musicians and so many music programs, the band programs, the choir program, the drama program, so congratulations to everyone involved for keeping this going.,” Hopfner said. “I come from a small town myself of 1,000 people that no longer has a band or a choir or a lot of other fine things, including a festival. It takes an awful lot of work at the local level to keep all these things happening and I’m always so heartened and so encouraged to see support for our young musicians and upcoming artists."
Hopfner was preceded on the stage by Festival of the Arts entrant Harold Wastesicoot, a self-taught pianist who played without sheet music and impressed the judge with his performance earlier in the day.
“After he was done playing and they had their adjudication, they had a conversation,” said R.D. Parker Collegiate band teacher Stevie MacPherson. “Our adjudicator asked him, ‘Would you be interested in opening for me at the concert tonight?’ and nervously he said yes. Harold has never entered the festival before this is his first year and I’m like, ‘Dude, where’ve you been? That sounds so phenomenal.’”