The 76th Chatham Kiwanis Music Festival will be held virtually again this year.
Young performers from Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex will compete from Monday, March 28, 2022 until April 6, 2022.
Festival co-chair Julie Collins said going virtual again was a difficult decision but it was important to keep judges, volunteers and participants safe.
Collins said music and performing is a big part of a musician's life and can stay with them into their senior years, even if they don't earn a living by playing music.
"Whether we have musical talent or not, I think it's something that we all enjoy. I think it's something that we all experience in various ways. It's just a part of the fabric of our lives. But I think for all of us music is that language that speaks to us on various levels," said Collins. "Some of these disciplines that students have such as piano, they're often solitary and when they get the opportunity to be with other musicians that are at their age and playing at the same calibre, it's really a wonderful experience."
Collins said there won't be any school bands this year because of COVID-19 but bands and ensembles are normally a popular part of the festival.
"Of course, you have the experience of playing in a band or in an orchestra or singing in a choir and it becomes that group experience which is so meaningful and people can carry that on throughout their lives. You don't have to be a stupendous musician," said Collins.
Video submissions are due by Friday. Categories this year include piano, woodwinds (clarinet, saxophone, and flute), strings (violin, viola, and cello), vocals, musical theatre, and one choir.
Collins noted there are 281 registrations to be judged this year.
The festival comes to a crescendo with a fun concert at the Kiwanis Theatre in Chatham on April 26, 2022 with students performing and receiving their trophies and awards.
Admission is $10 for adults and students are free.