By Brie Taylor
The South Simcoe Arts Council Music Festival is a non-competitive music festival that includes performing arts such as piano, vocals, musical theatre, strings, speech arts and drama.
It is a place where performing artists can meet others with shared interests, improve their skills, practice their talent, and receive professional advice.
This year, the South Simcoe Arts Council received a grant from the County of Simcoe to provide performing arts workshops to the public. These workshops featured renowned artists such as Christopher Norton, a famous composer and pianist who led a workshop and masterclass on Piano Improvisation. Juno award-winning singer Catherine Robbin taught a workshop called “Acting the Song” which educated young singers about bringing out the theatrical aspect in every song. JP Baldwin, an international actor, held a workshop to teach different tips and techniques about theatre auditions.
I attended a workshop about songwriting, led by Juno nominated singer/songwriter Glenn Marais. I was nervous at first because I didn’t know anything about writing music and I wasn’t sure what to expect. At the beginning of the workshop, Marais got us to break into partners and brainstorm ideas about topics such as our hopes and dreams, people who inspire us and our favourite things to do. They were simple one-liners like “My dream is to write music” or “The Avengers is awesome”. But then we formed three groups and Marais taught us some basic music rules. We chose ideas from our brainstorm and used them as lyrics for our songs.
I loved meeting the talented people in my group and discussing music with them. The process of writing wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be and I had a lot of fun. Our community got to experience an incredible opportunity for young and amateur performers to be mentored by experienced and world class artists.
[Published in ArtsTalk September 2019]
Registration for Music Festival 2020 is open and Early Bird discounts end January 15, 2020. Visit our website for details.