Chair of the Rotary Music Festival, John Chisholm, provided a brief overview of this year's Festival, to take place the week of April 8th to 13th, a united effort by the Rotary Club of Belleville, the Trenton Rotary Club and Quinte Sunrise.  There are 129 students registered to perform 369 pieces in piano, voice, instrumental, strings, bands, choral classes.  The Festival will take place at three venues, Eastminster United Church (piano), St. Matthew's United Church (vocal classes), the Salvation Army (instrumental and strings), with school choirs and bands being adjudicated in the schools as well as an evening at Albert College.  To give us a taste of what is to come, Charlotte Guan performed a piano solo, the youngest contestant and then was joined by her sister, Isabella in a duet as well as Isabella performing a solo.  Following the piano pieces, three young people presented in song, Gabi Quesnel, Sarah Dettlinger and Anissa Nielson, all different, but wonderfully talented!  They were accompanied by their music teacher, Robert Martin who has been teaching voice since 2000.
Jo-Anne Wheeler provided information on this the 51st Rotary Music Festival.  First was a history lesson of Jo-Anne herself participating in the very first Belleville Rotary Music Festival with several other little girls -- Maribeth Cronk, Janet Loynes, Susan Walsh and others.  They became lifelong friends and some of them studied with Hazel-Ann Reid, the prominent voice teacher in Belleville at the time.  Originally the adjudicators were hired from England and Jo-Anne recalls one of them commenting on her Canadian accent.  The experience was nerve racking, but Jo-Anne knows the value of having someone other than your teacher or parent listening to you sing or play an instrument and provide feedback and ideas for improvement.  The Quinte Rotary Music Festival is a member of the Ontario Music Festivals Association, one of 46 member festivals held annually.  Membership is maintained in good standing by paying a small percentage of each $15 registration fee received.  In turn, we are provided with guidelines and class recommendations and also recommendations and important references for qualified adjudicators.  As in any business, the largest expense is attributed to the cost of employees and in this case, it is the adjudicators.  The per diem guidelines are set by the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicator Association along with recommended meal and mileage allowance.  These costs along with accommodation costs tallied just over $8,300 in 2018.  The next largest expenditure is, of course, the production of the Festival Syllabus and the Program.
The chair of the original festival was Rotarian Linton Read and along with then Club President, Ken Wormald they said the aim is to create a healthy, competitive situation by which we can encourage the musical talent of children, young  people and adults of our area.  It is a year round job requiring numerous people to cover all the areas.  The committee is to be congratulated in obtaining supporting funds from various sponsors and benefactors throughout the years to the point that last year, the Festival did not require any funding through the Rotary Club.
For 2019, fellow Rotarian, Rudolf Heijdens has once again stepped up to be the Platinum Sponsor for the Festival.  The Parrott Foundation, as the patron Sponsor has provided $2,500 to offset some of the costs and the City of Belleville contributed a $2,500 grant.  Other major sponsors include Maurice Rollins, Linda and Rolly Tipper and Global Meds all of whom are silver sponsors.  Past President John Chisholm and Direct Realty as well as Rotarian Keith Stansfield and Albert College are also silver sponsors, giving generously of their time and assisting throughout the week long Festival.
Judy McKnight thanked everyone who participated today, as well as the parents and teachers who see the potential and encourage the young people.  Please come out during the week of the Festival and hear some fabulous talent.  For sure, attend the Concert of Stars on Wednesday, April 24th at 7 p.m. at Albert College.