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Olds music festival is back -- in person

Olds & District Kiwanis Music Festival runs March 21-25; grand concert and benefit concert follow on March 29 and April 5 respectively
MVT Olds Kiwanis Music Festival - warner bernhardt-1
Warner Bernhardt plays Concerto No. 3 in E Flat Major by W.A. Mozart during the Olds & District Kiwanis Music Festival's grand concert at the TransCanada Theatre on April 3, 2019. This year's event will be held in person. File photo/MVP Staff

OLDS — The Olds & District Kiwanis Music Festival is back. 

It will be held March 21-25 at the Fine Arts and Media Centre on the Community Learning Campus. 

The grand concert will take place March 29 at 7 p.m. in the TransCanada Theatre and the benefit concert will be held April 5 at 7 p.m., also in the TransCanada Theatre. 

Performances begin March 21 with the Olds Grade 9 Band. 

Each year, several participants in the Old and district festival are recommended to perform in the provincial festival, which will be a virtually at the end of May.   

Festival coordinator Wendy Durieux said for the first time ever, participants recommended from the provincial festival will perform at the new Canada West Performing Arts Festival, which will be held Saskatoon July 21-23. Alberta is scheduled to host this festival in 2023.   

“This is the first live festival we have had since 2019. Last year we did hold a virtual festival, but many people were totally unaware of it happening because it was totally done by videos," Festival coordinator Durieux wrote in an email. 

Durieux said COVID restrictions had “took a huge bite” out of festival numbers not only in Olds and area but around the province. 

“Our numbers have gone from about 460 entries to 221 entries," she wrote. “Many students and teachers opted not to take/give lessons during the COVID period. 

 “We will certainly be rebuilding the festival for a few years to come. We are very grateful to the support of all our sponsors so that we can host a festival in Olds again.” 

Durieux said a newer category this year is contemporary vocals, which will be held Tuesday evening, March 22.   

It was a category last year as well. However, Durieux said "as it was virtually done, no one got to enjoy this new category.” 

“Of course, we will be looking to ask someone to perform their contemporary selection at the grand concert and the benefit concert,” she wrote.