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East Kootenay performers shine at provincial festival

Danielle Nicholson (right) of Cranbrook is pictured with her voice teacher Katherine van Kampen. Nicholson won the Senior Classical Voice competition at the recent B.C. Provincial Festival of the Arts.  - Courtesy Valerie Harris
Danielle Nicholson (right) of Cranbrook is pictured with her voice teacher Katherine van Kampen. Nicholson won the Senior Classical Voice competition at the recent B.C. Provincial Festival of the Arts.
— image credit: Courtesy Valerie Harris

Kootenay performers came up big at the recent B.C. Provincial Festival of the Arts.

Danielle Nicholson of Cranbrook won the Senior Classical Voice competition out of a class of nine others from around the province. Nicholson also won an award for best performance of a Canadian piece in Senior Voice.

The provincial festival was held in Penticton, June 2-7. Six performers and one observer were in attendance from the East Kootenay.

"I'm absolutely elated and honoured," Danielle said of her awards. "I was not expecting this, but I have worked so hard and this is the icing on the cake.

"My biggest thanks would have to go to my parents for their love and support of my journey. And I could never have done this without my amazing teacher, Katherine van Kampen, who recognized my potential three years ago."

Danielle now lives in Kelowna and is training in voice there with van Kampen, who adjudicated the voice section of the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival several years in 2011. At that time, van Kampen asked to work with Danielle, because the voice instructor recognized "a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice that could 'fly,' as van Kampen said at the time. Since then, Danielle has been taking lessons with Katherine in the bel canto tradition.

Michele Capalbo, the adjudicator at Provincials in Penticton, said that Danielle already has the full resonant space sound that she was looking for the others in the senior classical category to develop.

As well as Nicholson, Carter Gulseth of Cranbrook, well-known for his performances in Mount Baker Secondary School productions, took the award in the Senior Shakespeare category of Speech Arts.

And Alec Hammond of Creston, but well-known to local audiences for his  performances in the local Performing Arts Festival festival and at East Kootenay Music Teachers' Association recitals, was the winner in Junior Piano.  Alec represented the Creston Festival in Penticton.

Locals who travelled to Penticton for the B.C. Provincial Festival of the Arts include:

Participants — Eve MacBride (Junior Speech Arts), Carter Gulseth (Senior Speech Arts), Tessa Charlton (Intermediate Classical Voice), Asia Franklin (Junior Classical Voice), Danielle Nicholson (Senior Classical Voice), Clara MacLeod (Intermediate Musical Theatre). Observer — Kara MacBride (Senior Speech Arts).

Also nominated, but who for various reasons were unable  to go:

Participants — Jelena Jensen (Junior Musical Theatre), Brianna Coltman (Senior Musical Theatre). Observers: Danica Martin, David Robertson (Intermediate Piano). Observers — Paulina Graham, Kristofer Sotropa, Ariel Stuart (Intermediate Strings).

The East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival, held through the month of April, had another successful year, according to Ellen Bailey, one of the Festival organizers

“Though unfortunately the dance section was cancelled this year, we are very pleased that there were two days of string performances, due to the efforts of Penny Long,” Bailey wrote. “We are hoping to reinstate dance next year and would be pleased to welcome any volunteers who would like to help.

“Thanks to a generous grant from the Cranbrook and District Arts Council, we were able to help over 60 students by reimbursing some of the costs associated with participating in the local festival.  We also paid the entrance fees for those who entered the provincial festival.”

The Festival Board would like to thank all those who volunteered as secretaries, drivers and other helpers, the Cranbrook and District Arts Council, our sponsors and advertisers, the EKMTA and all other teachers who enter their students in the Festival, all accompanists, the Key City Theatre, the College of the Rockies, Knox Presbyterian Church and First Baptist Church, The Days Inn,  Marta Zeegers, Mark Pinnell, Ian Adams, Marilyn Fontana, Carter Gulseth who acted as emcee for the Festival Showcase, Rod Wilson, the parents who support their children throughout the year,  all those who listened to and applauded the performers, and particularly all the participants.

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