This year’s Niagara Festival of the Performing Arts is returning to St. Davids-Queenston United Church and the Yellow Door Theatre in Virgil with the introduction of strings and speech arts as part of the competition.
“It’s for musicians of all ages and adult classes as well,” said festival director and founder Lisa Cosens Brillon.
The competition, from March 27 to 31, includes classical voice, musical theatre, popular voice, classical piano, popular piano, strings and speech arts.
Nearly 300 participants are signed up and ready to play as the competition returns to fully in-person festivities for the first time since 2019.
“We offered virtual for two years and then last year I did a hybrid of virtual and live because people were still a bit hesitant to come back into a live situation,” said Cosens Brillon.
“Now we’re fully live and I’m excited for the festival to begin and to hear all the great performances.”
Admission to all performances is free.
From Monday to Wednesday voice, classical piano and strings will be hosted in St. Davids while on Thursday and Friday the highly anticipated musical theatre competition will be at the Yellow Door Theatre on Line 2 Road.
“(Musical theatre) is our biggest competition, with the most entries,” said Cosens Brillon.
Winners at the Niagara festival can be recommended to compete in the provincial festival, which runs from June 5 to 10 this year.
Locations in Niagara-on-the-Lake include Bethany Mennonite Brethren Church, Cornerstone Community Church, Yellow Door Theatre and St. Davids-Queenston United Church.
“I’m very proud to say that our smaller festival has had many winners at the provincial music festival and they’re competing with instrumentalists from across the province, from big centres like Toronto or Ottawa, Windsor and London,” said Cosens Brillon.
“I’d say on average we have three provincial winners from our festival every year, which is pretty exciting.”
She noted the festival is supported by the Rotary Club of Niagara Falls, Stamford Kiwanis Club and many businesses in NOTL.