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Saskatchewan Music Festival Association Celebrates its 100th Anniversary
May 24, 2009
In 1905, Governor General Earl Grey proposed a Canada-wide festival for drama and music. Saskatchewan was one of only two provinces to respond and soon after, in 1908, formed Canada’s first provincial Music Festival Association (SMFA) and held the first provincial festival the following year.
Since its inception, the Association has served the province with classical music competitions. They remain a strong, vibrant, and viable organization committed to enhancing the classical music education of youth. The association’s unique structures and programs have placed Saskatchewan at the forefront of Canada’s music festival community.
SMFA has expanded across the province and is now associated with 49 District Music Festivals, as well as provincial and national competitions. Approximately 20,000 talented Saskatchewan musicians rehearse for and participate in these events held in centres across the province and 4,000 volunteers and 120 adjudicators work to keep the festivals running smoothly each year.
The Saskatchewan Music Festival Association (SMFA) is proud to mark 100 years of providing music festivals across the province. To commemorate this significant milestone, SMFA is hosting province-wide celebrations.
The highlight of SMFA’s 100th Anniversary celebrations will be the re-enactment of the first provincial music festival held in May, 1909. SMFA plans to hold the celebration concert on May 24, 2009 at St. Paul's Cathedral (the oldest church building in Regina still in use), with a reception to follow at the historic Hotel Saskatchewan.
The Centennial Re-enactment Concert will be based on the original program, and will feature many of Saskatchewan’s talented musicians and musical groups, including: members of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Victor Sawa; well-known soloists from Saskatoon, Swift Current, and North Battleford; and a provincial Centennial Choir of 32 voices from our District Festivals.
SMFA will culminate its Centennial Year by hosting the 38th Annual National Music Festival in Saskatoon in August 2009. The event, held at the University of Saskatchewan, will bring together competitors, accompanists, teachers and audiences from across Canada.
SMFA can attribute its long history to the ongoing support of the amazing volunteers and to the support received from the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation, SaskCulture and The Saskatchewan Arts Board. Acknowledgements also go out to SaskEnergy, SaskTel, University of Saskatchewan, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, donors and patrons of festivals across the province.