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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Vermilion & District Rotary Music Festival

The enchanting tunes of the Vermilion & District Rotary Music Festival filled the air from April 15 to 17, culminating in a captivating showcase performance on April 21. Music enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the rich musical talent, all while supporting a noble cause by donating silver to the Vermilion Food Bank.

Bernie Huedepohl, esteemed president of the organization, expressed his delight in hosting yet another year of the festival, highlighting its significance in the community.

“Last year’s reawakening of the Vermilion and District Rotary Music Festival was an effort of hope and commitment of the organizing committee. Hope, because there was no indication that the festival would be successful at all, and commitment because the organizing committee felt that developing music in individuals is a fundamental value to those individuals and to the community as a whole,” wrote Huedepohl.

​Kicking off on April 15 at 7 p.m., the festival treated audiences to a diverse array of performances. From Abrie Robertson, Douglas Romeo, and Bernie Huedepohl who each brought home awards in their respective categories.

The second day of the festival dawned with a flurry of activity, commencing at 8:30 a.m. and continuing until 4 p.m. The piano section showcased the skills of budding pianists, with performers such as Til Tjardes in the primary level, Stephanie Xie in level 1, and Douglas Romeo in level 3 mesmerizing the audience with their virtuosity.

Not to be outdone, the Blessed Sacrament Elementary Choir graced the stage with their angelic voices, captivating listeners in both the School Chorus-Movie/TV/Pop and School Chorus-Folk Song categories. The Trio consisted of Hayze Bensmiller, Presly Bensmiller, and Kamleigh Wyard-Scott who took the award in the Family and Community Groups-Community Music.

As the afternoon unfolded, vocal performances took center stage, with participants delivering soul-stirring renditions across a spectrum of genres and age groups. From classical vocal solos to contemporary pop performances, each artist showcased their unique flair and passion for music. Abrie Robertson, Chloe Jones, and Gracey Arthur each received awards in their respective categories.

On Wednesday, April 17, the festival continued with the Strings and Percussion categories taking the spotlight. From the melodious strains of violin solos to the rhythmic beats of percussion ensembles, each performance added to the festival’s vibrant tapestry of sound. Ita Nicolas, Mila Christian, Anjana Raja, Douglas Romeo, Samuel Crundwell, and Jackson Maier won awards.

On Sunday, April 21 Douglas Romeo won the Rotary Award for piano and speech and Abrie Robertson won the Rotary Award for Vocal during the showcase performance.

With each note resonating through the air, the Vermilion & District Rotary Music Festival proved to be a celebration of talent, passion, and community spirit as the winning participants were presented their awards in the categories they entered, as well as listening to the advice and kind words from each adjudicator: Dr. Joy Berg (vocal, speech, and piano) and Larry Schrum (instruments).


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