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Welcome to the
Saskatchewan Music Festival Association

Competitive Festivals

The Saskatchewan Music Festival Association (established in 1908) is committed to promoting excellence in music and speech arts by providing performance and educational opportunities through competitive music festivals in the Province of Saskatchewan. In addition to the production of 47 district music festivals, SMFA provides a provincial Syllabus, entrance to the annual Provincial Competitions, Concerto Competition and Opera Competition, as well as the National Level of Music Festival competition. Member festivals are organized by local volunteers and judged by qualified professional musicians.


Areas of competition for musicians include: voice, piano, guitar, strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, pipe and electronic organ, choir/school music including special education, multicultural, speech arts (individual verse and speech therapy classes, storytelling), small ensembles, as well as band and orchestral classes. Entrance to SMFA festivals is accessible to all ages, all ethnic groups and people of all religions across the province. Participants may enter any classes for “adjudication only” and forego marks and scholarships. SMFA hires over 170 qualified professional musicians to serve as adjudicators each year.

Wallis Opera Competition

SMFA President, Karen Unger, is pleased announce that the 2018 Gordon C. Wallis Memorial Opera Competition was won by tenor Spencer McKnight. The Saskatoon singer performed works by Gurney, Stravinsky, and Donizetti and was accompanied by Mark Turner. He was awarded the prize of $5,000 and the opportunity to be a featured soloist in an upcoming season with the Regina Symphony Orchestra and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.
“It was the masterclass of all masterclasses.” JoAnne Benesh is the mother of Gabriel Benesh, one of twelve young adults who participated in the SMFA Gordon C. Wallis Opera Competition February 24 & 25 in Regina. Her comment over the lunch break following the morning masterclass session captured the energy in the hall.

It had been an exciting session. Each of the participants was receiving 20 minutes of instruction from the two world-class judges – Montreal’s Dominique Labelle and Edmonton’s Brian Deedrick. JoAnne, like the rest of the group assembled, appreciated the judges’ work. “They work so beautifully together,” she said. “It was such an amazing transformation when they had them (the singers) do little exercises that changed the tone or the way they presented themselves. It was really incredible.”

Kateryna Khartova was a returning participant in the event. At the time of the 2016 Wallis Competition, Kateryna was completing her Bachelor of Music at the University of Saskatchewan. She is now at the Glen Gould School of Music in Toronto. To her, this competition is a celebration of music and opera, as well as the quality of teachers in Saskatchewan.”It is our responsibility as Saskatchewan artists to keep coming home and show that we are capable and we have an enormous amount of talent here,” she said. “It is an amazing and important competition.”

Judge Dominique Labelle was pleased to have been asked to participate. She said a career in singing is a personal journey and this type of encouragement is vital. “It’s so important and essential to sponsor and support young singers,” she said. “I am so happy and honoured to have come here this weekend to listen to these beautiful singers.” But it was not only the singers and their families who were moved by the masterclass. Dominique felt it, too.“Working with them is holy work,” she said. “It’s really special.” Holy work, indeed!

Other competitors were Emma Johnson, Brett Mitchell, McKenzie Warner, Gabriel Benesh, Crystal Gray, Lindsay Gable, Melissa Wood, Danielle Sanche, Joshua Hendrickson, Kateryna Khartova, and Aliah Nelson.

Provincial Finals

2018 Provincial Finals
June 1 – 3 (U of S, Saskatoon)




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The Saskatchewan Music Festival Association

receives funding from the SK Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport,Culture and Recreation.