William Shakespeare once said, “If music be the food of love, play on.”
In deference to the wisdom of the famous English bard, Airdronians are certainly in for a full seven-course meal of love over the next two weeks, as the annual Airdrie Rotary Festival of the Performing Arts returns to the Polaris Centre of the Performing Arts starting March 20.
Festival coordinator Jennifer Harbour calls the annual event an “outlet” for creative young musicians to perform their craft in front of a live audience.
“The city of Airdrie has so many young, talented musicians with a variety of different disciplines,” Harbour said. “There is no opportunity like it here in Airdrie.”
According to Harbour, there are over 300 registered performers in this year’s event, spanning a variety of musical styles and instruments. Participants not only have the opportunity to perform in public before a supportive audience, they also have the opportunity to receive feedback on their performances from experienced and knowledgeable adjudicators.
Harbour said it “blows her mind” every year all the effort and energy the young performers put in to prepare themselves for their big moment on stage.
“All of these talented, local, amateur performers are busy practicing their music, and they are anticipating and excited about performing for us,” she explained. “And then it all just comes together (for festival).”
Public participation is also a key component of the annual Rotary Festival, Harbour said. All the adjudicated performances are free of charge to attend, and members of the public can come and go as they wish throughout the festival.
“If there is a discipline you’d like to listen to, anybody can go,” she confirmed. “There is no charge to listen in.”
That public participation also extends to the festival’s final gala events on April 1, when the best performers in all the disciplines come together to put on two big blow-out shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The evening gala is $20 per person and the afternoon gala is $10. Students are $5, and children get in free.
“These are the best of the best,” Harbour said. “It’s a very unique opportunity for people to celebrate the youth of Airdrie … I would encourage everyone to come out, especially to our showcase concerts, and see the best of the festival.”
The Airdrie Rotary Festival of the Performing Arts goes from March 20 to April 1 at the Polaris Centre in Balzac, just east of the CrossIron Mills mall.
To view a schedule of daily performances, or to volunteer to help out with the event, visit airdrierotaryfestival.org.
Editor's note: This article originally stated the gala events are also free of charge, but this has been corrected.