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Nelson, BC


Festival Program is available for purchase from music teachers and  Cowan Office Supplies.

Wednesday, April 4th to
Saturday, April 7th

Highlights Concert, April 7th
7:00 pm, Capitol Theatre
Tuesday, April 17th to Friday, April 20th
Strings, Winds,
Voice and Speech Arts:

Monday, April 16th to Friday, April 20th

 Highlights Concert, April 21st
7:00 pm, Capitol Theatre 


Greetings from the President…

I am delighted to welcome everyone to the 2018 Kootenay Festival of the Arts—participants, parents, teachers, volunteers, audience members, friends and families — my warmest greetings to you all.

Our festival is one of the longest running festivals in the province, having started in 1930 at the Nelson Opera House. Throughout the years it has maintained a high standard of excellence through the area’s many talented performing arts students. Many of the participants, encouraged by their performing experiences and professional adjudications, have gone on to higher studies and careers in their chosen fields.

Our adjudicators are dedicated professionals who have taken time from their own busy performing and teaching careers to travel to Nelson and share their expertise and wisdom with our students. We appreciate their insight and skill in making helpful and encouraging adjudications.

Both the joy and the challenge of the performing arts is that there is only one chance to present your artistic performance. After many, many hours of preparation, your few minutes of performance are over—EXCEPT—in the memories of those who were there and experienced those wonderful few minutes.   Each and every performer will share their artistic message with the audience, creating a unique communication that only exists at that precious moment. This is the excitement of live performances!

Without the many generous volunteers and financial donors, our festival could not exist. On behalf of the festival board, we give our sincere thanks to all the individuals, businesses and organizations who have donated.   We greatly appreciate the support of the Columbia Basin Trust, the City of Nelson, Nelson and District Credit Union and the Osprey Foundation.

We also extend our deep appreciation to the teachers and parents of the performers for their endless encouragement and support. Without your expert guidance, these students would not be experiencing the joy of performance.

Finally, I give my greatest praise and encouragement to the student performers of all ages, in all disciplines, from far and wide, who have worked so hard to prepare and who have chosen to share their performances with us. We will all be enriched by experiencing your performances. Thank you for participating in this festival, and, please, enjoy yourselves!

With best wishes to all for a wonderful festival,

                                            Wendy Herbison

A note from Javan Johnson

As a former violin student and frequent participant performer in the Kootenay Festival of the Arts, I remember this being the time of year spent in sheer anticipation of both excitement and nerves. Performing on stage in front of my peers and the esteemed adjudicators lasted only minutes, but it took months of preparation and polish to define that performance at the event that was considered to be the pinnacle of my year—the showcase where all my family, friends, and peers could witness my artistry and musicianship. The chance to perform at a highlight concert with the best and be invited to the Provincial Festival or perhaps even win a monetary prize made the Kootenay Festival of the Arts, deeply rooted with history and tradition, feel so grand. Regardless of it’s grandeur, the Festival created an atmosphere of praise and encouragement for all of it’s participants, no matter the age, skill level, or hometown, and offers acknowledgement for the countless hours of hard work spent preparing for the momentous live performance. I can attest that it’s truly an elevating experience for the performer and for the audience who are honoured to take home the memory of witnessing the performer’s passion for their art.

Javan Johnson started taking violin lessons at 4 years old, studying in the Nelson area under Wendy Herbison, and became accomplished in the Suzuki and Royal Conservatory programs after taking lessons for almost 15 years. Javan found his place participating and leading ensembles. One highlight was playing with the Symphony of the Kootenays when he was 17. Over the years he’s played violin in the pit orchestras for local Capitol Theatre productions of Orpheus and Euridice, Into the Woods, My Fair Lady and Beauty and the Beast. In 2015-2016 he served as concertmaster for the Thompson Valley Orchestra, a 70 piece symphony based out of Kamloops, BC. As a frequent participant in the Kootenay Festival of the Arts, Javan teaches a few students of his own, and now instructs his own ensemble: the Baker Street Strings, entered into this years festival.