banner - The Kiwanis Music Festival of St. John's . established 1952
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Layout and Design Andrew G. Reid - B.Mus., Dip IT
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Among the entry lists at early festivals one saw many entries from outside St. John's and the Avalon Peninsula. This was a most happy experience, for it brought the wider musical family together and it sowed the seeds of the festival movement in other areas of the province. It was not too many years before festivals were established under the auspices of Kiwanis clubs in Grand Falls- Windsor, Gander, Carbonear and Clarenville and under Rotary International Clubs in Corner Brook and Stephenville. In total now, the number of entries in Music Festivals in Newfoundland annually approximates 7,000 which comprises 40,000 competitors. It is likely that over half of the population of our province have been involved in a music festival at some time or other.

The festival had not been operating for ten years when it became obvious that there was a serious drop-off in entries from competitors when they finished high school. With no opportunity to pursue music study as a career, students were obliged, because of other academic commitments, to look upon music as a recreation rather than as a subject for serious academic pursuit. In 1959 the Association established a special cash award to be given on application to competitors planning to pursue advanced study outside our province. In over 15 years, $10,000 was awarded to about 20 competitors for this award. In 1975 when the School of Music at Memorial University became a reality, it was felt that this scholarship had fulfilled its two-fold purpose by assisting worthy students and advancing the idea that a School of Music was a necessary and viable adjunct to the music development of our students.

Kiwanians and all who were aware of the impact of the music festival regretted the drop-off in serious music study by post secondary students. Leaders in the festival movement in the 1960's were the first to point out this deficiency in our post secondary curriculum. In 1965 the St. John's Music Festival made a submission to the Warren Commission on Education stressing the value of music education and the need for the establishment of a School of Music. None were more pleased than Kiwanians active in the music festival movement to hear the announcement that the deficiency was being remedied. Since 1975 the number and quality of senior performers has reached national standards, and the diversity of musical disciplines and repertoire has expanded most notably.

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