Festival entries now open

Heather Latter

As the 74th-annual Rainy River District Festival of the Performing Arts gears up, with entries now being accepted, people are reminded that all are welcome to participate.
“It’s a fun and rewarding opportunity for people to showcase, develop, and nurture their dramatic and/or musical abilities,” noted Joleen Beninger of the Festival committee.
She said people of 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,” Beninger stressed.
“If you can memorize, read, sing, or play an instrument, you can participate.”
Entry forms, as well as the syllabus and resource manual for 2014, are available on the Festival website (www.ff-festival.com), as well as at district schools and the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.
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).
Beninger noted there are plenty of different categories for people to enter.
Participants can recite poems, both humorous or serious, selecting one of the provided pieces or choosing one of their own.
In fact, this year the committee has opened a new category specific to self-composed work.
Entrants even can recite a poem with a friend in the “duet poetry” category, or do a serious or humorous reading.
The Drama division also includes story-telling, skits, and monologues, as well as prepared or impromptu speeches.
In the Vocal division, participants can choose to sing secular, sacred, traditional, or contemporary songs while in the Piano division, there is the option to play anything from popular music to jazz, classical, or sacred.
The Instrumental division, meanwhile, allows for participants to showcase their talents on many different instruments—from guitar or recorder to saxophone or drums.
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.
“We don’t want to turn people away who want to perform,” stressed Beninger.
“If anyone has questions or comments, they are certainly welcome to contact us,” she added.
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.
“We continually strive to make each year better and more exciting than the one before,” Beninger said.
“We welcome suggestions from all members of our community, and encourage any interested individuals to attend meetings and become part of our organization,” she added, noting volunteers are always welcome.
For more information, call Beninger at 274-5399.