It has only been a couple of months since the curtain closed on the Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts (QFPA), but planning is already in motion for the next one. The planning is going well, after worries there might not be a 2024 edition at all.
“We put a call out for help and our community delivered,” said Vicky Predan, a key organizer with the association and one of the relatively few organizers that pulled off a restart of the festival in 2023. “We are absolutely thrilled to report that all volunteer positions have been filled. Many new volunteers stepped forward and were elected into board and committee member positions.”
Annual events on this scale have struggled to ramp back up after pandemic stoppages. Restoring sponsorship, attracting participants, renewing or finding new partnerships, rebuilding a volunteer base, and other obstacles have held back many beloved affairs. In some cases, and the QFPA was one of them, momentum was so sluggish it threatened the entire operation.
“Like many local non-profit organizations, the need for volunteers is essential,” said Predan. “Our youth charity is no exception. We rely heavily on the amazing support of our community as well as our volunteers in order to continue offering supports and opportunities to youth.”
Some elements of the traditional QFPA were not held in 2023, and many components happened on a smaller scale. Furthermore, many of those who did step forward to help felt themselves burning out due to all the work on their shoulders, with no previous years’ machinations and systems to work from.
They needed help, they said, and called a public meeting for June 6, once the series of festival events had closed. It was a night where cards were put on the table explaining that the long list of duties needed an equally long list of helpers. Some stepped forward that night to join the organization, and outreach carried on afterwards.
The organization’s Annual General Meeting followed on June 13, and it, too, was a full house and the mood was enthusiastic.
“It was clear that all of the people present wanted very much for our organization to carry on providing performing arts opportunities to youth in our community,” Predan said. “We are looking forward to fresh ideas, new energy and continuing to move forward in a positive and meaningful way. We are fortunate to be part of a community that supports youth, culture and beauty.”
The QFPA is a springtime series of festivals all under one umbrella to showcase speech arts, drama, many genres of dance, choral singing, solo and small group singing, piano, brass instruments, woodwind instruments, and other elements of performance.
It is a suite of events that lead local performers to awards and provincial competition opportunities. It is also an economic generator as the competition classes are open to those from out of town, as well, attracting many visitors to Quesnel. It positions local performers alongside others, so a true sense of artistic talent and development is revealed.
Provincial affiliation with Performing Arts BC provides some guidance and some protocols for operating the QFPA. Earning a spot in the provincial competition at the end of each May is hard-earned and not promised to local competitors, although new rules have been established to ensure Quesnel participants have the best chance at going provincial. This past year, Mattias Anderton earned two spots (one as a solo piano player, one as a member of InSong Youth Choir), dancers Alexis Mackenzie and Averie Lentz earned berths in the provincial festival, Gizelle McDonald from Quesnel went to Prince George and earned a spot via the PG festival, and InSong earned a spot and then won a silver medal in their category.
Going to the provincial festival is only one way that participants of the QFPA grow and succeed. Thanks to a groundswell of community support, an even greater experience is setting up for 2024, and more help is encouraged.
“We are always looking for like-minded humans who are positive, passionate and team players. If you would still like to volunteer, please contact us,” said Predan. “Thank-you to everyone who continues to support our organization. We would like to welcome everyone to the team and are looking forward to the 2024 festival season.”
The organization’s website is www.qfpa.org and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.