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Deadline looming for Morden Festival of the Arts registration

 Alexis Stockford

The top talent in Morden competed at the final Hi-Lites concert of the Morden Festival of the Arts. (JOEL NICKEL/Morden Times)

The top talent in Morden competed at the final Hi-Lites concert of the Morden Festival of the Arts. (JOEL NICKEL/Morden Times)

Morden’s musicians and speech-makers are turning to the festival season as registration deadlines approach for the 42nd Morden Festival of the Arts.

The almost two-month festival will present performances in strings, piano, sacred music, vocals and speech arts during March and April, cumulating in the annual Hi-Lites concert, showcasing the best of the festival.

Marlene Britton, volunteer co-ordinator and festival committee member, says about 500 entries are expected this year.

Last year saw 545 performances on stage, with 65 awards of merit given and 19 performers recommended for provincial competition.

“We’re just looking forward to a good festival season,” she said.

Mailed registrations must be post-marked by Jan. 19, while three in-person registration drop-offs have been organized.

Those registering in person may do so Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Maple Leaf School, Jan. 25-26 at Minnewasta School, or Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at école Morden Middle School. Morden Collegiate students may hand in registrations through the middle school.

All registrations must be submitted by Jan. 26.

Registration forms are available at local schools, the Morden public library and online at http://mordenfestivalofthearts.cfsites.org/

No band

Concert band will not be on the festival schedule this year.

Justin Tan, band instructor with Western School Division and one of the instrumental figures in putting on the band category each year, says scheduling conflicts will not allow the category to run this year.

“The high school band is planning to travel this year,” he said, adding that the gap is temporary and he expects band to return to the festival in 2018.

Concert band previously took up a one-day session.

Fees increasing

Festival fees will go up by about a dollar per entry this year.

Speech art solos will now come with a $4 cost, while younger participants will pay $6, ages 14 and under or Grade 5-7 in select categories will pay $7, and older performers will pay $9 ($3 per additional performer).

String ensembles and choirs will come with a $30 fee, while other vocal groups will pay $3 per person.

“We have kept our fees at the same level for a long time,” Britton said. “Our fees are probably the lowest in the province. We keep them low to encourage high levels of participation.”

Looking for volunteers

About 100 volunteers are needed annually to run the festival. Focus has been set on the upcoming registration pick-up, Britton said, although the call for festival volunteers will go out once registrations are in and schedules for individual disciplines are finalized.

“Just for the individual sessions, we need three people for each session; morning, afternoon and evening,” Britton said.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact Britton at 204-822-5794.

The committee itself will also be looking to fill vacancies. A vocal co-ordinator, speech arts co-ordinator and several member at large positions are currently vacant.

“The co-ordinator lines up the schedule once all the entries are in and also books an adjudicator,” Britton said.

Adjudicators are chosen from an approved list from the Manitoba Festival Association. Co-ordinators would also ordinarily be responsible for their discipline’s venue and overseeing their discipline at the festival itself.

Adjudicators are already finalized for this year.

The committee meets three times annually. Those interested in the positions are asked to contact Erika Dyck at 204-822-6825.