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String players take bows at Sunshine Coast Festival of the Performing Arts

It's the second week of the
A. Performing arts festival_ADIDAM
Violinist Sebastian Young-Laidlaw listens to his evaluation by adjudicator John “Adidam” Littlejohn.

The 2022 Sunshine Coast Festival of the Performing Arts launched its second week of adjudicated performances on April 19 with 60 amateur instrumentalists playing at St. Hilda’s Anglican Church over three days. 

Two days were dedicated to bowed strings—violins, cellos, and a solitary viola da gamba played by Duncan Poon for selections in the baroque and classical genres. Solo pieces were accompanied by piano, except for Sebastian Young-Laidlaw’s violin arrangement of Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles, which was backed by guitar. 

Seven sessions dedicated to Folk Instrumental performances followed on Thursday, highlighting Celtic, bluegrass, Indigenous, and ensemble works. Adult artist Gord Beynon performed the swing waltz Indifference on his mandolin. The duo Daniel & Cassidy blended clarinet and violin into Piperkovo Kolo, a traditional klezmer crowd-pleaser. 

Two of the selections were composed by Wesley Hardisty, who also served as adjudicator for the festival’s Folk Instrumental segment. Jinny Marshall played Hardisty’s Soul Reel/Roots to Wings on the violin, and The Incredibows reprised the same work in an arrangement by Andy Reiner for string ensemble. 

Hardisty is a member of the Dene First Nation from Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories who has performed internationally from Seattle to Iqaluit. He studied at the Gulf Island School of Performing Arts, and has released two albums. In 2012, his debut CD 12:12 won the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award for Best Fiddle CD. 

“It was quite an adventure flying him down [from the Northwest Territories],” said festival president Sarah Lowis. “So we thought, well, we’re bringing him all this way, let’s make the most of it. Let’s have a house concert and let’s have a workshop.” 

Hardisty will lead a fiddle workshop at the Highland Centre in Roberts Creek on Thursday evening, followed by a house concert on Friday, April 22. At the concert, Hardisty’s folk fiddle virtuosity will be complemented by Andy Hillhouse, one of Canada’s premier Celtic guitarists. 

The adjudicator for the Bowed Strings category was John “Adidam” Littlejohn, a violist and hip-hop artist. Littlejohn is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is currently a faculty member at the Vancouver Academy of Music and also serves as an associate pastor at Kingdom Life Community Church in Langley. 

The festival’s dance competition will take place on Saturday, April 23 at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse. 

The festival resumes on April 26 for a week dedicated to vocal and choral singing, bands, woodwinds and brass, harp, and speech arts. Members of the public are invited to attend all performances at no cost. 

Live streaming of the performances and adjudications is also available at the festival’s website: 

A highlights concert is scheduled at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse on Saturday, May 7, which will feature a cross-section of artists vying to compete at the BC Provincial Festival in early June.