Tuesday, July 28, 2015

‘Festival’ info on updated website

Those looking to take part in the 74th-annual Rainy River District Festival of the Performing Arts will want to check out the organization’s brand new website (www.ff-festival.com), where all information and resources for the event are posted.
“We wanted to update the look of our site and make it easier to navigate,” noted Joleen Beninger, who chairs the Festival committee.

She noted participants will find entry forms, the syllabus, and resource manual for 2014 on the website, and they are encouraged to print off their own copies.
“They can print just the pages they need,” Beninger stressed, noting it’s both a cost-saving measure for the Festival as well as an environmental benefit.
However, those who do not have Internet access still can view a hard copy of the documents at district schools and public libraries.
Beninger also noted the committee has made some changes to the Festival this year, such as revamping the syllabus to make it easier to understand and combining the resource manuals to offer a wider selection of material to choose from.
“We had four resource manuals that we have rotated for years,” she explained. “But we wanted to give participants more choice when selecting their pieces for the drama categories.”
The committee plans to add new material in the form of an addendum in upcoming years.
It also added a few new categories, such as a second musical theatre class in the vocal division, a garage band option in instrumental, and a category specific to self-composed work in drama.
“I’m very excited about some of the changes we’ve made,” Beninger enthused.
“Every year I’m pleasantly surprised by the abundance of talent in our community,” she added.
“It’s a fun and rewarding opportunity for people to showcase, develop, and nurture their dramatic and/or musical abilities.”
Beninger said all ages can participate—from kindergarten to adult—in individual, duet, small group, or large group performances.
“You don’t have to have a teacher to enter and you don’t need to be taking formal lessons,” she stressed.
“If you can memorize, read, sing, or play an instrument, you can participate.”
The divisions include Vocal, which this year will run April 1-3, French Drama (April 2), Instrumental (April 3-4), Piano (April 7-11), and English Drama (April 14-17).
And if there’s something someone wants to do, and there doesn’t seem to be a category for it, the committee is willing to accommodate them.
“We don’t want to turn people away who want to perform,” Beninger remarked.
“If anyone has questions or comments, they are certainly welcome to contact us.”
All performers receive a certificate, and are eligible to take home a wide variety of awards available at all age levels and in all divisions.
Those award winners then are invited to perform in the annual “highlights” concert, which this year will take place Sunday, May 4 at the Townshend Theatre.
The cost to enter starts at $7 per entry, with the deadline to return entry forms being Feb. 21.
Entries can be sent to Festival Entries, P.O. Box 806, Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 3N1 or dropped off at 509 Crowe Ave.
Festival arts bursaries and the Muriel Ross Scholarship (for vocal in 2014) also are available that eligible constants must apply for by April 1.
The application form is available on the website.
“We continually strive to make each year better and more exciting than the one before,” Beninger pledged.
And she’s certainly expecting this year to be success.
“I think last year was a little bit of an unsettling year, with everything that was going on with the strike action in the schools, so I’m very optimistic our numbers will be higher this year,” she enthused.
“We have a lot to offer the community.”
Last year’s award winners are reminded to return all trophies and plaques as soon as possible to Garry Wilde at 432 Second St. E. in Fort Frances (274-3538).
Meanwhile, anyone who would like to volunteer to help with the Festival, or who has any questions, can contact Beninger at 274-5399 or visit www.ff-festival.com

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