Making 70 years of music

The 2003 Rainy River Festival of Performing Arts (running March 31-April 13) will mark its 70th anniversary.
And to mark the milestone, association president John Jankiewicz dug out the original ledger from the first festival in the spring of 1933 at the group’s monthly meeting Monday night at the library.
The ledger showed the expenses for that inaugural festival 70 years ago were $76.70—a far cry from the $15,000 it costs to run today.
The ledger was signed by Winifred Walker, wife of John William Walker, for whom J.W. Walker School here is named after.
In other news Monday night, the festival association formally approved the syllabus for next spring’s competition, with the most notable addition being the National Festival Classes.
These classes will allow participants who have a qualifying score for their class, and who win that class at the festival, the chance to move on to provincial and national competitions.
Jankiewicz said this addition will create a new way for district competitors to be challenged—and allow them the chance to aim a little higher.
Copies of the syllabus and entry forms are available at Tammi’s Flower Garden, all district public libraries, and all the schools.
A reminder the deadline for entries is earlier than normal this year since the festival has been rescheduled around Easter. Entries must be postmarked on or before Jan. 31, 2003.
The also will be a colouring contest using the cover of the syllabus, which was designed by local artist Linda Lovisa.
Meanwhile, the first event leading up to the festival next spring, and a primary fundraiser for it, is the “Gala Concert” being held Feb. 14-15 at the Townshend Theatre in conjunction with Fort Frances’ centennial celebrations.
There will be four segments in each performance covering 25 years of the town’s history at a time, explained Carol Lyons, a gala organizer.
Lyons asked that anyone with photos or information about the town’s first 100 years to call her at 274-3050.
She also said there will be a call for talent issued in early January for those interested in getting involved with the gala concert.