The unforgettable Bud Abbott. An award is presented in his name at the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival. Photo submitted

The unforgettable Bud Abbott. An award is presented in his name at the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival. Photo submitted

East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival is a go

Performances will be recorded and adjudicated from a distance

Good news in the Arts community, says local piano teacher Arne Sahlen; the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival (EKPAF) will proceed in Cranbrook, adapted for COVID realities, in March 2021.

Five divisions are set: Voice March 1 – 4, Speech Arts March 5, Piano March 8 – 10, Strings March 12, and Dance March 14 – 16.

Anti-COVID spacing and sanitizing will be done between separately-arriving entrants. Each will be recorded on video, without audience, by a professional videographer. Those who prefer may record at home and submit the video to EKPAF.

Voice, Piano and Strings will be held at First Baptist Church, 328 14th Avenue South. Speech Arts will take place at participating schools, except that independent Speech entries will be held at First Baptist Church. The venue for Dance is to be confirmed.

The recordings will be uploaded confidentially and sent away to distinguished adjudicators engaged by EKPAF. Adjudications and announcements will return promptly. Awards and Provincial Festival entries, in line with usual EKPAF practice, will be announced as soon as possible.

“In a world of shrinking opportunities, the EKPAF Board invites performers of all ages to see this as a pivotal point in history. Forced onto us by circumstance, this Festival format is like a coffee substitute,” says Sahlen, who is serving as communications director for the festival.

“Quite satisfying if we don’t keep regretting the original. No audiences will hear you, but the new experience of recording at a top standard may prepare you for future comfort with high technology.”

The EKPAF tradition of hiring wise and kind adjudicators continues, though at a distance instead of in person. Their encouraging advice has stimulated many performers toward ever greater achievement. Said one to a student playing Mozart: “You are not just a student. You are an Emerging Artist.” Teachers value the second opinions offered. For students in exam preparation, the guidance may have measurable impact – both for the advice itself and for the early deadline to speed up their polishing of exam entries.

Adult entrants are not only included, but welcomed with their own special certificate. The Bud Abbott Award certificate is given to each adult performer, in honour of our iconic community citizen who – among his countless other accomplishments – entered EKPAF each year until age 97. As far as the Board knows, EKPAF is the first festival to honour adults specifically.

For EKPAF syllabus and registration, visit – and for more information, contact or 250-432-9747.

“Some day you may tell your children and grandchildren,” said Sahlen, “that you were in the first year of online music festivals.”

READ: East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival showcase this Wednesday

READ: Piano Recital on Sunday at East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival

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