Stars of tomorrow on stage

By Geoff Lee

April 19, 2016 6:00 AM

Candice Huculiak from Lloydminster finished first in one of her piano recitals during the 85th annual Kiwanis Lloydminster and District Music Festival that wraps up April 22. Huculiak aims to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in music at Augustana College in Camrose.

The beat goes on this week at the 85th annual Kiwanis Lloydminster and District Music Festival with more than 700 performing artists taking part.
With piano performances in the bag, it’s on to vocals, bands and instrumentals April 18-22 with a wrap up concert of selected top performers at Vic Juba Community Theatre on Saturday.
Scholarships will be also be presented to selected candidates.
One of those could be 11 year-old pianist Emma Benoit from Marsden who placed first for her piano solo and first in a piano duet with her friend Emily Peters from Neilberg.
“I was pretty happy,” said Benoit speaking about her piano sole at Grace United Church last week.
She played a song called Soft Shoe Boogie that she described as “jazzy.”
She got the feedback she was looking for from the adjudicators at each of her performances.
“They said it was really good; I played really well, good counting, and they said add in a few more dynamics,” said she about her solo.
“It was a good idea since the song didn’t have very many dynamics — they said good triplets.”
A triplet is playing three notes per beat.
As for the duet win with Peters, Benoit said it’s all about picking the right partner.
“Like, if you’re a friend of your partner, then it should be easier,” she said, noting she and Peters figure skate together.
“If you don’t really know each other very well it may not turn out the best.”
Musicians are judged on musicality, performance and their interpretation of the piece according to Cindy Gratton, vice president of the Kiwanis festival executive.
“A festival is a celebration of music, but there is also a competitive component,” she said with first and second place awards in each class such as recitals and solos.
Certain classes are eligible to enter the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association provincial finals in Saskatoon June 3-5 on the recommendation of the adjudicator.
“We have a very high level of music in Lloydminster,” said Gratton.
“We have a lot of recommendations for provincials and have been told by adjudicators it’s a very high standard here.”
Young Benoit is most anxious to hear if she will play and get a scholarship at Vic Juba.
“I hope I get it; it’s really nerve wracking and exciting,” she said following her performance.
Gratton said the festival is a great opportunity for children to perform and get feedback from high level adjudicators.
As a child she played at the festival that motivated her to teach piano to the new crop of youngsters.
“They get that performance, they get that feedback from the adjudicator and they also get to hear other participants,” said Gratton.
“It’s a neat community of getting musicians together and sharing that love of music – we have a strong music community in Lloydminster.”
Benoit noted her nine year old brother Liam also won his piano recital piece to share the bragging rights in the family.
“It was very good this year,” she said.
“You get a certificate that congratulates you on getting first.”
First place also went to a couple of piano performances by Candice Huculiak who attends Holy Rosary High School in Lloydminster.
Huculiak is a perennial provincial performer and has been recommended again in 2016 with a couple of her performances.
“I played the Cordoba by Albeniz; I played a Chopin Impromptu and a Bach Suite,” she said.
“I was nervous, but it was all fun, I really enjoyed it.”
She said she usually starts to prepare her festival pieces at the beginning of her school year, but this time around she waited until February.
Huculiak was stoked by the feedback following her performances from adjudicator Heather Blakey.
“She said that I was very convincing about all my ideas, and liked the feel of it,” said Huculiak.
The teen phenom has been playing since she was four years old and has played in the festival for the past 13 years.
She plans to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus in Camrose next year.

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