Musicians from all across Vancouver Island will migrate to the Comox Valley to perform for the 27th annual SD71 Band and Choir Festival. Photo submitted

SD71 hosts 27th annual band and choir festival

Musicians from all across Vancouver Island will migrate to the Comox Valley to perform, listen and learn during the 27th annual SD71 Band and Choir Festival.

The festival is set for Nov. 19 to 21, as School District 71 has worked hard to maintain and protect music programs.

The Comox Valley has always valued music and the many benefits it affords their students. The opportunity for young musicians to hear others and learn from some of the leading music educators in Western Canada is always the highlight.

The festival this year festival welcomes three clinicians from British Columbia whose musical knowledge and passion for music making is sure to inspire students. Local high schools Highland, Mark R. Isfeld and G. P. Vanier will be joined by groups from all across Vancouver Island. A detailed schedule of group performances can be found on the SD71 Fine Arts website.

Monday, Nov. 19 will feature the choral portion of the festival at Comox Pentecostal Church starting at 9:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Erica Phare-Bergh, the clinician for the day, is well known in choral circles as an educator, director, clinician, composer and arranger. While Phare-Bergh started her choral career at McGill University in Quebec, she has been making her way out west and now resides on Vancouver Island. Admission is by donation, and all are encouraged to come and enjoy the music and Phare-Bergh’s teaching.

On Tuesday, Nov. 20 and Wednesday, Nov. 21, the festival will move to the Sid Williams Theatre. Our clinicians, Dr. Gerald King and Bob Rebagliati will work with groups throughout the day starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday and 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Again, admission is by donation and people are welcome to come and go throughout the day.

School district administration and local music teachers continue to support the festival both financially and with volunteer hours because they believe strongly in the importance of music in our schools.

“The festival has become an honoured tradition for many local and out of town groups,” said Jennifer Riley, festival organizaer and fine arts lead teacher for SD71.

“These educators appreciate the opportunity to stretch their student’s musical abilities early in the academic year and provide them with an authentic festival experience in their own backyard. Education has always been at the forefront of this festival, and our mandate is to offer the students encouragement, and concrete musical ideas and concepts that they can continue to expand on throughout the year.”

The festival is grateful for the support of local businesses Long and McQuade, The Old House Inn and Suites and Holiday Inn Express who generously donate to our event each year. We also feel fortunate to perform in a venue like the Sid Williams Theatre. Without their contributions, the festival would struggle to sustain its quality.

The detailed schedule of performances can be found at, under Programs, Fine Arts.

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