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Record number to perform in festival

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A record number of performers are rehearsing their pieces, lines, and steps these days in preparation for the 62nd-annual Rainy River District Festival of the Performing Arts in April.

Up to 1,000 local musicians, actors, and dancers are set to perform during the festival, which runs April 15-28, association president John Jankiewicz said.

“The real numbers that are amazing are in piano. There’s almost 300 entries,” he noted Monday, explaining that’s an extra 25 the festival didn’t hear from last year.

Most of the increase is among younger pianists, but Jankiewicz said he’s also noticed a change in the number of higher-level players.

“We usually have between one and three grade nine and 10 players. This year we have around seven,” he enthused.

Jankiewicz also said music lovers should be prepared for impressive instrumental music performances, with more than 60 entries in the category for string and wind instruments.

“That’s almost double over last year,” he remarked.

While there hasn’t been a dramatic increase in the dance, vocal music, and drama categories, Jankiewicz said there still are many talented people preparing for the festival.

“There’s always some surprises—pleasant surprises—that come out of vocal music,” he noted.

Jankiewicz said he’s glad to see increasing numbers of people participating in the festival.

“The festival keeps on growing ever since I’ve been with it,” he said. “It’s beginning to be a challenge, but it’s a positive challenge.”

But he added the festival always could use more people to help organize it, especially anyone interested in helping with the French drama category.

“We could always use a couple of extra hands,” he stressed.

With only six weeks to go, Jankiewicz said those performing in the festival probably are settling into some hard practices.

“They’re hopefully preparing their selections right now so they can do it off by heart at the festival,” he said.

A reminder that those applying for the Muriel Ross Scholarship, this year given to instrumental performer, and festival camp scholarships must have their applications submitted by March 31.

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