The Strathmore Performing Arts Festival hosted by the Vault Cultural Collective is returning at the end of the month, and it's the biggest it's ever been.

Lasting an entire week and spanning many categories like musical theatre, speech, piano, strings, ensembles, and more, the festival will celebrate a wide variety of talents and skills that are being developed right here in town.

"our vision and mission is to encourage arts and Strathmore specifically for young performers," festival president Lora-Lee Laycock said.

pianoGreta Peterson at 2022's Performing Arts Festival

The festival is a great opportunity for young people to put their performing skills to the test in front of a large audience and an adjudicator, who will evaluate their performance and give them feedback. While performing for a crowd is already reason enough to be excited, Laycock added there is approximately $7700 in scholarship awards as well. On top of that, performers who advance to the provincial level as chosen by the adjudicators will receive an additional $100, which goes directly towards paying their entrance fee.

With representation from every school in town, the festival will bring the entire town together to celebrate the accomplishments of our young performers. In total, the festival has 141 participants and 424 registrations, as one participant could account for several registrations.

"My guess is that almost everyone in town would know at least one person in the festival who's performing, hundreds of kids are involved."

guitarTavish Foshaug at 2022's Performing Arts Festival

Laycock encourages everyone to watch the festival, as it's a great way to support the young people in our community while they're doing the things they love. On top of that, it's a great opportunity to watch promising performers hone their craft.

"If you watch them as they grow then you can also see what happens when these students continue through their music education or their performing arts education and the advanced level that they can play at. People will see performers that are in the junior piano or the younger categories, juniors of voice and musical theater. But then they'll also see these senior performers, so it's a way to see the spectrum of that musical journey."

The festival begins on March 25 and will run until April 1, followed by a showcase concert and awards night on April 4. For the full schedule and details, you can visit their website here.

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