The best of Haliburton’s musicians showcased their talents to wrap-up the Haliburton Highlands Music Festival with a highlights concert May 2.
The concert at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion invited the top performers of the festival back on stage to display their skills.
Adult pianist Dianne Winmill said the festival was a positive celebration of the local music community.
“The fact people are all coming together who are friends, neighbours, family, associates and acquaintances from musical genres across the entire spectrum, it’s a happy, feel-good for everybody,” Winmill said.
Winmill said as someone who normally accompanies people for the predominantly youth-centred festival, it was a pleasure getting to perform on a familiar stage.
“That’s my old gym,” Winmill said. “There’s a lot of history and it’s really, really special to me.”
The festival also ran from April 25-26 and featured more than 100 performances by local musicians.
Adjudicators evaluated and gave feedback to participants.
With the event wrapped up, organizing committee member Len Pizzey said they were pleased with how it went. He added although there is less music education happening in schools, the festival is still able to attract people who are learning from individual instructors.
“We don’t get as many people playing woodwind instruments and so on,” Pizzey said.
“There’s still a lot of people taking independent music lessons and that’s what the festival reflects. We’re happy with how it turns out and pleased to give them the opportunity for them to perform on stage.”
Organizing committee member Lauren McInnes said the festival gives musicians something to work towards throughout the year.
“They come to their lessons in September and they’re already talking about what they’re going to learn for the festival,” she said. “It’s a motivating factor.”
Carson Winmill, a 13-year old vocalist, said he practiced his festival piece for two months.
“It felt really good,’ Winmill said about being part of the highlights concerns. “I liked enjoying all the other performances and seeing all the other talent that was in Haliburton.”
Pizzey said the festival has seen fewer performers due in part to the ageing of the community. But he added the festival hopes to attract more adults to take part.
“It’s largely a retirement community so there’s fewer young people,” he said. “What is changing is the number of adults who are going back to music and who are enjoying music. There’s a growing musical culture.”
“There are more and more people engaging with music later in life and they are part of what we hope will help the festival both thrive and grow,” he said.