As Stephen Eckert waits at home for news that he may be called to the Rose Bowl competition in Corner Brook, he’s equally excited for the return of the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival.
The young man has already been recognized for his piano playing, winning the Rose Bowl award in the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival in 2012. He then took the Rose Bowl award in the 2013 Corner Brook Rotary Music Festival.
Eckert’s involvement in music goes back to when he was around five or six years of age, when he first took part in the Stephenville festival. While piano is his instrument of choice in the festivals, he also plays trumpet in school bands.
He traveled to Corner Brook to take part in the festival there last year, but had to miss the Stephenville competition.
With this year’s Stephenville Rotary Music Festival scheduled for April 7-12, he’s ready to go back at it again.
Eckert’s interest in music was spurred on by his older brother and sister, John and Katherine, who both play piano. His parents, Joe and Lisa, wanted all their children to have ability in music, he said.
It was while he was in Grade 6 at Stephenville Middle School that Eckert took up the trumpet, and he’s been with the Stephenville High School concert band since Grade 10. He also plays in the early morning band at the school.
Eckert said he will definitely pursue music as a career and, not surprisingly, hopes to specialize in piano.
Earlier this year, he participated in the Kiwanis Music Festival in St. John’s and won in the category of complete major solo work for his age group, then placed second in junior piano (under 18). Unfortunately though, he wasn’t called back to the Rose Bowl competition.
This year he placed first in his Under 6 class in piano at the Corner Brook Rotary Music Festival, and also learned he is the recipient of the J. Leslie Collis Memorial Award for a performer excelling in piano at the Kiwanis Festival.
Also to his credit, he has completed Grade 8 in piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music.
The Stephenville Rotary Music Festival this year will re-introduce the category of dramatic speech performance and introduce, for the first time, the folk instruments category. Performers in the folk instruments category are adults from the Bay St. George Folk Arts Council.
There will be no admission charge for any of the performances during the week, including the Monday evening folk performances. The final concert is scheduled for April 12.
It was the objective of the Rotary Club to redesign the organization of the festival to make it a more community-based event. The steering committee engaged the expertise and assistance of 26 musicians/music teachers for input in the development of a completely revised and renewed syllabus.
All performances are scheduled to take place at the Arts and Culture Centre except for the instrumental and band performances, which will take place Thursday morning at Stephenville High School.