Top News

Young talent converging on Grand Falls-Windsor for annual music festival

Forest Park Primary performs during the Central Newfoundland Kiwanis Music Festival’s Highlights of the Festival concert in 2018.
Forest Park Primary performs during the Central Newfoundland Kiwanis Music Festival’s Highlights of the Festival concert in 2018. - SaltWire File Photo

Ready to shine


There’s a lot to be said for continuity to ensure major events go smoothly.

The upcoming 54th Central Newfoundland Kiwanis Music Festival, hosted annually by the Kiwanis Club of Grand Falls-Windsor, shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Embracing the festival is a lot of work, but the nine-person committee is operating like a “well-oiled machine,” says festival co-chairwoman Sandra Evans.

“It’s the same committee we had last year, so it’s great. People just know what needs to be done and it just falls in place,” she told The Central Voice.

This year’s festival, which opens on Sunday, March 31 and wraps up on Friday, April 5, will once again see students from across the central west region showcase their musical talents at venues around Grand Falls-Windsor.

It will be Evans’ and Allan Bradley’s second year co-chairing the event together, and with the festival swiftly approaching, Evans says it’s getting a bit more hectic.

“It’s starting to consume my life for sure now,” she said with a laugh.


Along with finalizing the festival’s program book, which the committee hoped to get out a bit earlier this year, Evans said some last-minute details related to the adjudicators was among the major priorities being finalized.

Whereas once adjudicators for the festival were usually a mixture from Newfoundland and Labrador with some coming from elsewhere, in the past few years they’ve chosen judges from this province.

“There’s lots of people willing and wanting to do it,” Evans says.

As usual, this year’s adjudicators come with a wealth of experience and impressive resumes and will no doubt help the students grow their musical abilities with their critiques.

The adjudicators this year are Stephen Candow for senior voice and choirs, Krista Vincent for junior and senior piano, Peter Halley for musical theatre, Alan Klaus for bands and instrumental, and Melanie Jardine for junior voice and choral speech.

“They’re very, very expert in their field,” Evans said.

Vincent, who hails from Lewisporte, grew up in the Kiwanis festival system and is a past Rose Bowl winner, Evans said, adding she has served as an adjudicator once before.

A central festival

The Central Newfoundland Kiwanis Music Festival started off small with three days, three adjudicators and three venues.

“Over the years, it really, really grew, especially in the 70s, 80s and 90s when school populations were really booming,” Evans said.

Nowadays, there are countless activities vying for children’s attention with music just one of them.

The festival is still holding its own, though, Evans says, adding she anticipates more than 1,000 participants this year. They come from all over – as far west as Springdale, Lewisporte in the east, north to Leading Tickles, as well as communities in the Bay d’Espoir region of the south coast.

“It really is a representation of the central region,” she says.

This year’s adjudicators

Stephen Candow – senior voice and choirs 

Stephen Candow
Stephen Candow

Currently serves as the artistic director of The St. John’s Choir, The Philharmonic Choir of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the director of Nobile Boys Choir (Shallaway), and is director of music and organist at St. Michael and All Angels Church.

Krista Vincent – junior and senior piano 

Krista Vincent
Krista Vincent

An accomplished solo and chamber musician with a career spanning three continents as pianist, composer, teacher and arts administrator, she is currently the general manager of the Tuckamore Festival. The festival is a two-week chamber music series featuring internationally acclaimed artists and a mentorship program for emerging young artists based in St. John’s. Vincent is returning as an adjudicator for the Central NL Kiwanis Music Festival for a second time.

Peter Halley – musical theatre 

Peter Halley
Peter Halley

A professional singer, actor, director, writer and entertainer, for the past 21 years he has been the artistic director and co-owner of nationally award-winning Spirit of Newfoundland productions. Halley works as clinician and adjudicator for many workshops and music festivals and also operates his own private vocal studio. He also served as an adjudicator of the Central NL Kiwanis Music Festival once before.

Alan Klaus – bands and instrumental 

Alan Klaus
Alan Klaus

Klaus joined the faculty at Memorial University in 2012 after appointments at Montana State University and at Mount Allison University, where he was voted Professor of the Year in music. Klaus was selected as a Bach Trumpet Artist and is currently working on a CD of new Canadian repertoire for trumpet. He is a member of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

Melanie Jardine – junior voice and choral speech 

Melanie Jardine
Melanie Jardine

Jardine has performed with the Canadian Opera Company and appeared in numerous operatic and musical theatre productions in the U.S. and Canada. She operates a thriving private voice studio in Paradise, and has adjudicated at Kiwanis and Rotary Music Festivals across the province. Jardine is a vocal facilitator for Growing the Voices: Festival 500’s program, So You Always Wanted to Sing.

Recent Stories