Yellowknife Music Festival, ‘invaluable’ for kids, begins

Children and youth from across Yellowknife will gather on Friday to begin performing the music they’ve been practising online for months.

Categories at the Yellowknife Music Festival include piano, vocal and strings, and a select few will be chosen to participate in a live showcase open to the wider public on May 3 at NACC.

The festival began in 2009 when Susan Shantora, a music teacher, realized her students lacked an opportunity to perform music. For Shantora, performance is a critical skill for youth.


“The festival experience is invaluable,” she said. “There was a gal in town who’s now a physician, and she shared that during her time in Music Festival, the preparation and having to work under pressure of a festival performance really prepared her for being a doctor.

“Because when she’s in surgery, she’s nervous, she’s got an adrenaline rush, but she knows that she has the knowledge and the practice to carry out the procedure. And it’s not that we’re training kids to be musicians, or doctors, but training them to learn things by being in a situation they wouldn’t normally experience.”

Performances at the festival will be judged by adjudicators whose expertise ranges from classic opera to folk rock.

Shantora said a number of performers can be expected to go on to perform in Alberta’s provincial festival, where Yellowknife kids have been known to place quite competitively.

“It’s pretty exciting for our little town,” she said.


The musical showcase opens at 7pm at NACC on May 3. Admission is free. More information can be found on the festival’s website.