St. Croix family excited with return of Stephenville Rotary Music Festival
© Frank Gale
Claire St. Croix and her brother Pierre are all smiles now that the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival is returning in the spring. Both of them plan to participate.
STEPHENVILLE — Claire St. Croix really missed taking part in the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival last spring, but was excited to hear its returning in 2014 and is looking forward to performing.
“I had all my pieces ready last year and couldn’t take part, but I’ll be trying my best this year and we’ll see what happens,” she said.
The 11-year-old St. Croix said even if she doesn’t get selected to return and play in the final concert, she would still enjoy watching others perform.
After a one-year break, planning for the 2014 Stephenville Rotary Music Festival is well underway with the event scheduled to take place April 7-12.
Rotarian Rosa Dollard said the festival was suspended in spring 2013 due to not having an executive director for the event and the inability to find an individual to assume the role.
She said after an appeal to teachers, students, parents and friends of students and a very favourable response, the Stephenville Rotary Club is in the process of building community ownership of the annual event intended to build the cultural fabric of the community.
A steering committee, co-chaired by Dollard and Noreen Dwyer, has been set up and through this new model there is a shared role to take on the responsibility formerly carried out by the executive director.
Claire’s brother Pierre, who is six years of age, is also looking forward to taking part in his first music festival, he also planned to participate last year.
For the St. Croix’s, the festival is a real family affair as Rita Jane, who is now 16 years old and her 14-year-old brother John, have been longtime participants and competitors in the music festival.
In fact, they both competed in the Corner Brook Rotary Music Festival last spring, with John making it as a finalist for the Junior Rose Bowl competition for piano.
All four of the St. Croix children play piano, while Rita Jane also plays oboe, John also plays tenor and and alto saxophone, Claire plays trombone and Pierre has future plans to also play a brass instrument.
Their dad Sebastian said having their two oldest compete in Corner Brook last year was very demanding and a long haul. He made six trips back and forth during the event.
“The fact it is here in Stephenville makes it much easier,” he said.
Their mom, Madelyn St. Croix said there is always some kind of musical competition going on their house and its great now that they are to the point where the two older children instruct the younger ones in music.
Claire feels it’s a reward in itself for the adjudicators to be judging your musical abilities.
“It helps you move along with your skills and they’ve (adjudicators) gave me real good advice in the past,” she said.
Other volunteer members on the music festival’s steering committee include: Jean House, Gloria Kaus, Joan Davis, Monique Rideout, Evelyn Davis, Bride Doyle, Marie Budden, Kathy Bourgeois, Dean White, and Debbie Brake-Patten.
Dollard said a project of the magnitude of the festival requires the input of a variety of individuals, each taking on a responsibility and working together as a team. Meetings have been held since early September and the syllabus sub-committee is already constructing a revised syllabus, with 27 music teachers being consulted for recommendations for the various classes.
Dollard said Rotary is counting on the support of schools for their full co-operation in facilitating the participation of their choirs.
While the main objective of the music festival is to provide opportunity for the youth in the community, this year organizers are planning to broaden the categories, which will include choral speech.
Another category will include the tremendous talent demonstrated by the local Bay St. George Folk Arts Group of musicians.
Dollard said Stephenville and the surrounding area is well known for musical talent and members of the Stephenville Rotary Club feel it has played a major role in that reputation.
That’s because many youth of the area who performed in the Rotary Music Festival throughout their developmental years have gone on to make music their career as teaching and/or performing musicians.