District Festivals (2020) scheduled after March 15 were cancelled due to COVID-19. We look forward to seeing you in 2021.
SMFA Provincial Finals Competitions
Saskatchewan Music Festival Conference and SMFA AGM
Shurniak Concerto Competition
History of the Concerto Competition
In 1979 three Saskatchewan organizations marked their 70th Anniversaries: the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association (SMFA), the Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO), and the Regina Cartage and Storage Co. Ltd. To celebrate this milestone, Kathleen Keple, then Executive Director of SMFA, initiated a Concerto Competition in partnership with the RSO, to be administered by SMFA and funded by Regina Cartage and Storage Co.
The three organizations held similar ideals of “enhancing lives through an appreciation for music”. SMFA has played a vital role in the cultural life of Saskatchewan by “providing young musicians with educational opportunities to compete and perform”. The Regina Cartage & Storage Co. President, Brian Keple, had long been supportive of community events throughout its history. The RSO, the oldest operating orchestra in Canada, also held a commitment to education in the province through the South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra. The establishment of the Anniversary Concerto Competition was a broadening of this commitment. In addition to the monetary awards, the RSO provided the opportunity for the winner of the SMFA Concerto Competition to be featured as a guest artist in the upcoming season. In 2000 the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (SSO), under conductor Earl Stafford, added their support by providing the winner with a performance opportunity with the SSO.
The first competition, in which several performers from across Saskatchewan competed, was held in Regina before a panel of three distinguished musicians: Isobel Moore, pianist of Edmonton; James Mendenhall, bassoonist of Brandon; and Gregory Millar, Music Director of the RSO.
During the ensuing years generous sponsorship was provided by the City of Regina Arts Commission, CKIT FM Radio, and the Sister Geraldine Boyle and Goodfellow Trust Funds. From 1992-2007 Yolande Hodges Fitzgerald, a former Saskatchewan teacher, was the major sponsor for the competition, followed by the Lorne & Evelyn Johnson Foundation in 2009. Mr. William Shurniak became the event sponsor in 2013.
SMFA continues to play a major role in the development of our province’s musicians. The SMFA Concerto Competition is a tangible result of Saskatchewan co-operation. SMFA is delighted that the Regina Symphony Orchestra and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra provide guest appearances for the winner of this event.
Since its inception in 1979, the annual Concerto Competition has gained momentum and recognition within the musical community of our province. It is with great pride that we list the winners of previous years’ competitions.
William (Bill) Shurniak enjoyed a long and successful career in international banking and corporate business in Canada, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Australia, and the UK. Upon his retirement, he returned to his native Saskatchewan, and established the Shurniak Art Gallery in Assiniboia to showcase his extensive collection of international and Canadian art. Mr. Shurniak continues to work on several Boards of Directors, and supports educational and cultural organizations, including the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association.
Gordon Wallis Opera Competition
The next Opera Competition will be held in 2022.
In July 1999, prior to his death, Gordon Wallis established an opera competition to encourage and assist young Saskatchewan singers in furthering their vocal studies in opera. Held every two years under the administration of the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association, its $5,000 first-place prize is one of a kind in Canada. In addition to the prize money, the winner may be featured as guest artist with the Regina and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras.
Professor Wallis was a former Assistant Director of the University of Regina, Conservatory of Music and Dance. He was a valued member of the SMFA Syllabus Music Selection Committee and he adjudicated our festivals across the province and throughout Western Canada. Wallis was a consummate musician, musical director, performer, and acknowledged authority on opera. His extensive collection of opera material – complete operatic scores, recordings, libretti, books, documents, periodicals, and programs from every major opera house in the world – are housed in the Gordon C. Wallis Opera Resource Room in Darke Hall in Regina. These resources are open for use to all who have an interest in music and, in particular, opera.
The competition is open to any non-professional vocalist between the ages of 20 and 35 years. Competitors must perform one art song in any style, and two contrasting arias from the standard operatic repertoire, in two different languages, and from two different periods.Opera Competition Regulations
OPERA COMPETITION WINNERS
2000 – Michael Harris
2002 – Laurien Gibson
2004 – Allison Arends
2006 – Sarah Vardy
2008 – Jordie Hughton
2010 – Meara Conway
2012 – Chelsea Mahan
2014 – Whitney Mather
2016 – Allison Walmsley
2018 – Spencer McKnight
2020 – McKenzie Warriner
SMFA Musical Theatre Competition
The Saskatchewan Music Festival Association has established a Music Theatre competition to encourage and assist young Saskatchewan singers in furthering their studies in Musical Theatre. The competition will be held, every two years, with a first and second prize of $1,000 and $750 (prizes can only be used to further Musical Theatre studies and will be payable to a school/teacher of winner’s choice).
The first SMFA Musical Theatre Competition was held February 22, 2020 at the University of Regina Conservatory of Performing Arts, 2155 College Avenue, Regina.
MUSICAL THEATRE COMPETITION WINNERS
2020 – Emry Tupper (1st place), Declan Hewitt (2nd place)
The next SMFA Musical Theatre Competition will be held in 2022.
The competition is open to non-professional* vocalists, between 16 and 28 years of age. Age restrictions are as of December 31 of the year preceding the competition. Only those of talent and industry, who have the necessary potential and desire for a possible career in Musical Theatre, should consider entering the competition, otherwise no scholarship will be awarded.
*A non-professional musician is defined as a person whose principal means of livelihood is not obtained from the performance of music in the particular category in which he or she is competing. This stipulation, however, does not preclude such a person having occasionally received remuneration for musical services rendered, even in the area in which he or she is competing.
- live or study in the Province of Saskatchewan, with the inclusion of Lloydminster, AB, OR if studying outside of the province, have competed in a Saskatchewan Music Festival within the preceding five years.
- perform the following to a maximum of 25 minutes:
Four advanced selections (one from each of the following) from the Musical Theatre Standard Repertoire as outlined below (Sondheim is encouraged):
- Tin Pan Alley Era (1920 – 1942) – Composers such as Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Porter, and Rodgers & Hart, Weill
- The Golden Age (1943 – 1964) Composers such as Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Bock & Harnick, Sondheim
- Modern (1965 – 1994) Composers such as Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Schwartz, Finn, and Jason Robert Brown OR Contemporary (1995 – present) – Joe Iconis, Adam Gwon, Pasek & Paul, Kooman and Dimond, Drew Gasparini
- Own Choice
- provide a brief synopsis of the musical (on the entry form) for each selection to be performed.
- provide their own collaborative pianist and page turner, and be responsible for their own expenses.
- provide one original score or authorized copy for the judges; the collaborative pianist must perform from another original score; photocopied copyright music will not be accepted (number the first bar of each line in their scores). Selections are to be sung from a published score with libretto, in any published key (no transposition), and in the published clef, of a staged musical. Spoken passages are allowed only if published in the script/score/libretto provided. The original copy can be the Broadway score, from an Anthology, or purchased online (proof of purchase must be produced).
- restrict costume changes, only additions are allowed (hat, scarf, etc.) and one (1) hand prop per selection (a table, chair, and coat rack is provided).
- submit an entry form online by January 15 along with the fee of $75, a biographical paragraph, photo, and a brief synopsis of each selection. Competition is limited to a maximum of 16 competitors. SMFA reserves the right to close the competition once the maximum has been reached.
Failure to comply with competition regulations may result in disqualification. No changes to repertoire will be permitted after the entry close date. A master class will be offered on the second day. The winners are announced following the master class. Competitors must attend the entire master class and be in attendance for the announcement of the winners. The judges’ decision is final.
FCMF Conference/AGM and National Music Festival Competitions
August 8 – 10, 2019
University of Saskatchewan
Congratulations to our musicians who represented Saskatchewan at the National Music Festival in Saskatoon, August 8th to 10th! See the following link for a full listing of results.
2019-National Music Festival-Press Release-Results