46th performing arts festival closes with highlights concert

The month-long Sunshine Coast Festival of the Performing Arts topped off its 46th season with a Highlights Concert on Sunday, May 12, at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons. The show featured performances by 17 of the highest-scoring participants in the festival, in categories ranging from music to spoken word to dance. 

In addition, 51 cash awards and scholarships of between $50 and $300 were handed out, and organizers announced the nine festival participants who were chosen to compete at the Performing Arts B.C. Provincial Festival in Chilliwack, May 26 to 30. 

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The festival differs from other Coast arts events in that it’s open to Sunshine Coast amateur performers of all ages and is adjudicated by experts in their performance fields, who scored and provided critiques to the more than 200 participants. 

“We have been honoured by nine adjudicators this year from around Canada, with national and international reputations,” festival interim president Kit Artus said in her introductory remarks at the concert. “Without these adjudicators, the opportunity for learning and developing the talent we have on the Coast would not be as significant.” 

Artus also announced the establishment of the Barbara Lightfoot Memorial Award, in honour of the festival’s president, who died suddenly last December. 

“This is a $300 award and will be available for ten years,” said Artus. “The first year it goes to the Elphinstone [Secondary School] choir.” 

The festival is run by a non-profit society, which is supported by a few dozen local sponsors and donors, and by society memberships and performer registration fees. Admission to all performances is by donation.

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