A jazzy good time

A thousand secondary students from all over B.C., Alberta, and high schools from the Prairie Provinces and Pacific Northwest states will be in Sun Peaks to perform, learn and enthrall the crowd with their musical talents. The seventh annual Sun Peaks Music Festival runs from April 23 to 25 with a majority of the events happening at the Delta Sun Peaks Resort.

“Our aim is to educate, entertain and inspire in the beautiful mountain environment of Sun Peaks, where musicians and their directors may meet, exchange ideas and develop new skills,” said volunteer coordinator Colleen Dickinson.


Choir competitions will take place each half hour on Friday, April 23 at the Delta Sun Peaks Resort Ballroom. This will be followed by band competitions on Saturday, April 24.

On Saturday, jazz lovers can head to Bento’s Day Lodge for a free performance of toe-tapping jazz from 9:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m.

On Saturday evening, participants will relax for a change as they are treated to two special concerts by gospel trio The Sojourners and trumpet player extraordinaire Malcolm Aiken.

The highlight of the program will take place on Sunday morning when all of the participants collaborate for a massed choir and band performance.

This is definitely a must-see. “It’s quite incredible to see and hear anywhere from 225 to 400 voices or instruments raised together,” said Dickinson.

Band director Jim Montgomery is returning with his students to attend the event for the second time. “This festival is all about the kids performing and doing their best, but not about ‘winning’. I’ve also found the physical site to be a good first away-from-home festival for my younger students,” he said.

This is also a nice change of setting for Alberta’s Ardrossan Junior Senior High delegates. “Sun Peaks is a beautiful place to take kids who live on the flat prairie. We get to live in the mountains for a few days!”
But all of this wouldn’t be possible without Sun Peaks volunteers.

“The volunteers each act as the ‘face of the festival’, making the experience at Sun Peaks so unique for all of the participants,” said Dickinson.

Because of the personal connection from volunteers, participants often return to Sun Peaks not only for the festival but also to enjoy the recreational activities Sun Peaks has to offer.

Volunteers assist with the performances or act as guides for the visiting groups. For Stephanie Avery whose daughters are into music, volunteering doubled as a teaching tool when she and older daughter Elisabeth volunteered last year.

“I wanted her to see what potential was out there when she continued to work hard on her music,” said Avery. In between ushering people in or putting up countless music stands during intermission, Avery believes her daughter caught the spark after seeing the amazing musical performances.

“This year, I’m getting my whole family to help out—my husband and both daughters.”

“The performances at the Delta were spectacular. It’s something that I would pay to go see. As a volunteer, to get that opportunity, it’s kind of nice,” she added.

The good news? You don’t have to know music to help, said Dickinson. “Musical knowledge isn’t necessary to be a volunteer; just enthusiasm and a smile.”

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