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Hitting the High Notes: The St. Albert Rotary Music Festival's Impact on Youth and Community Engagement

For nearly 50 years, the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival has been celebrating and showcasing youth’s musical talent. In addition to being a performing platform for young people studying music, the Festival fosters a lifelong love of the musical arts and inspires many to continue pursuing musical education and performing after high school graduation.

“We are the only annual festival of its nature in St. Albert that is dedicated to the performance of classical music,” says Mark Moran, President of the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival Association.

“What I love about the Festival is that it gives musicians a chance to perform pieces they have been working on all year. The Festival creates a safe space for musicians to perform as all people involved want them to succeed. 

"In the end, it is rewarding to see their satisfaction when they are done performing and how proud they feel about a job well done.”

The St. Albert Rotary Music Festival, a cornerstone cultural event in the community, prides itself on its commitment to education and excellence. The festival welcomes more than 1,600 young musicians each year.

Learning music and performing live offers a multitude of benefits for the youth. It not only helps children develop fine motor skills, but also aids in their emotional and behavioral maturation. By playing music, young individuals give their brains a multisensory workout that strengthens memory and improves attention. The ability to read music has been proven to benefit a child's overall mental development and help them succeed in standardized tests.

Performing live fosters a "growth mindset" in children, according to a 2021 National Institutes of Health study. Live performances provide young musicians with an opportunity to learn about problem-solving and flexibility, thereby improving their executive functioning skills.

The St. Albert Rotary Music Festival is, therefore, instrumental in helping to provide these skills to the youth it serves – skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

The Festival and its vision also provide a platform for community engagement.

“The arts have a history of patronage that continues through to this day,” says Moran. “Very few arts organizations can survive solely on entrance fees. The Festival reaches out to the local community to keep the festival operating every year. As for volunteers, we support more than 100 volunteers working over 10,000 hours to ensure the festival is a success.”

Sponsoring, donating, or volunteering for the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival plays a pivotal role in supporting the festival, young musicians, and the arts. Such contributions are crucial as they not only help to fund the event but also provide an essential platform for young musicians to showcase their talents and gain valuable performance experience.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at various levels, ranging from “Friends” (up to $500) to “Signature Sponsors” ($10,000+), allowing individuals and businesses of all sizes to contribute according to their capacity. Sponsors gain significant exposure through the event and demonstrate their commitment to community development and the arts.

Donations, irrespective of the amount, go a long way in ensuring the continuity of this cultural event. They aid in covering necessary costs such as venue rentals, hiring adjudicators, and providing awards and scholarships to young, talented musicians.

Volunteers contribute to various areas, including administration, logistics, and event management, ensuring the smooth running of the festival. The festival greatly appreciates the invaluable time and effort put in by volunteers each year.

Supporting the Festival is about investing in the future of music and the arts, fostering a love for music in our youth, and strengthening community ties.

The St. Albert Rotary Music Festival truly embodies the spirit of community and the arts. This event not only nurtures young talent but also fosters an appreciation for the performing arts within the wider community. The festival's commitment to education and excellence, coupled with its provision of awards, bursaries, and scholarships, makes it an essential platform for aspiring musicians.

As the 2024 Festival approaches, musicians are invited to register and community members are encouraged to sponsor, volunteer, or donate to in support of this incredible event. Together, we can ensure the continued success of the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival and its mission of encouraging artistic pursuits among our youth.

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