Two dozen young musicians, dancers, and actors have been selected to represent the southern Sunshine Coast at the Provincial Festival of Performing Arts BC in Penticton later this month.
The announcement was made during the highlights concert of the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Performing Arts, which took place on May 13 at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons.
A total of 48 prizes and scholarships were also awarded to participants in the annual festival, which included adjudications from 10 professional artists.
Taho Shinagawa, who concluded the concert with a breathtaking rendition of Tarentelle by German composer Moritz Moszkowski, was one of the festival’s most-decorated competitors. Shinagawa received four awards, including recognition as the most promising young piano performer.
Violinist and pianist Gene Sato collected seven awards across his two disciplines, including a prize from the BC Registered Music Teachers association that recognizes multidisciplinary artists.
“The highlights concert features the festival’s top performers,” said Sarah Lowis, president of the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Performing Arts. “Part of what the society does for the community is provide an environment where performers of all ages and abilities can come forward and be adjudicated, and take their performances to the next level. The adjudicators also identify those who will have the privilege of attending the festival where performers gather from around the province.”
While the provincial festival limits delegates to artists aged five to 25, the local event also welcomed older adult performers. At the highlights concert, actress Linda McTurk delivered an original work co-written with Joanne Bennison. Draped in flowing cerulean, and with a treasure chest at her feet, McTurk portrayed the Caribbean pirate muse Tia Dalma. Willow Rody, who performed poetry by Sylvia Plath, was honoured as top intermediate in speech and dramatic arts.
Violinist Cassidy Wieler, who played a Haydn duet alongside cellist Erin Payne and an original fiddle piece, is among five string-playing delegates selected to attend the provincial festival. Wieler was also a serial award winner and received a duo prize for strings that she shared with Payne.
Cellist Cael Read took home three prizes, including the senior strings award. Read reprised one of his festival performances by playing the prelude to Bach’s first cello suite with joyful dexterity.
Two choirs were honoured for their contributions. Sarona Mynhardt’s Inspirato Vocal Ensemble and Janice Brunson’s Choralations Children’s Choir received awards celebrating the memory of arts aficionados Barbara Lightfood and Sue Milne, respectively.
Meanwhile, erstwhile dance rivals from competing studios will travel as a well-choreographed cavalcade to the provincial festival.
Dancers Makenzi Harris and Andrea Villanueva (from the Coast Academy of Dance), Meg Greenfield, Caia Minatsis and Connor Dixon (from the Gibsons Dance Centre), and Brooklyn Turner and Peyton Gray (from Waldorf Ballet) were selected as Sunshine Coast delegates. The group is joined by local youths Eibhlin Minatsis and Sophie Malcolmson who will compete in the senior ballet category.
“This is a big step forward from doing more local competitions, and we get to meet great dancers from other areas,” said Villanueva. Villanueva performed a powerful lyrical solo during the highlights concert following a classical ballet number by Malcolmson.
“This really shows the hard work that our smaller studios have put in to get us up to such a level,” added Dixon.
The full list of award winners and provincial delegates is available by browsing to the festival’s website at coastfestival.com.