Thirteen students from Mountain View Christian Academy will be performing in the speech arts and public speaking categories at the 54th annual Pacific Northwest Music Festival. (Contributed Photo)

Pacific Northwest Music Festival readies for their 54th year

Many entries this year in speech arts and public speaking

The pressure is on for many as the Pacific Northwest Music Festival (PNMF) makes its final preparations for its 54th year in Terrace.

From March 28 to April 13, the city will have more than 4,000 performers showcase their talents in a variety of art forms, including dance, piano, strings, guitar, band, choral, public speaking and speech arts.

There were 1,327 entries submitted this year, with some acts showcasing bands of up to 25 people.

“It’s a huge event because the school teachers get involved with it and word definitely gets around,” says Bonnie Juniper, president of PNMF.

She says participants young and old come from all over the Northwest for the festival, as it’s an important opportunity for many to grow as performers on stage.

For the first time, the festival has an adjudicator to evaluate the speaking components, which Juniper says they’ve received a high number of entries for.

“It’s interesting because as soon as you get interest in one area, it switches around. Lots of people this year are doing public speaking, so we had to get a separate adjudicator for that,” says Juniper.

Adjudicators come from all over the province and sometimes from the U.S. to evaluate each individual performance. To keep standards high, the panel of nine judges rotates every two years to make sure assessments remain objective.

READ MORE: ValhallaFest receives grant to expand festival this year

In speech arts, performers use prose, monologues and literature to tell a story while public speaking, and it’s up to the person to decide what they want to talk about.

“I think school teachers are really using this venue as a way of development for their students,” says Juniper. “There’s a lot of people out there who don’t want to speak… so this is great for them to try.”

Tamara Ewald is a drama teacher at Mountain View Christian Academy and will have 13 of her students, ages six to 16, perform this year in speech arts and public speaking at the PNMF.

“Everybody has a gift and a talent, and I think it’s important that we learn to try the hard things,” says Ewald. “Sometimes people are able to express things on stage they wouldn’t be able to on their own, and convey messages that need to be said through the art of speech, which can motivate their peers and society in general.”

READ MORE: Colours fly at Terrace’s Holi celebration

For many months, her students have been practicing their speeches by learning how to emphasize, use proper pronunciation, improvisation and even how to use their body to convey a message.

“They’ve been also exploring a range of emotion, feelings, perspective and topics through different activities,” she adds.

She says all her students excited to take part in the festival and are looking forward to getting on stage in front of a crowd.

“It’s so much fun seeing them reach a potential they never knew they had.”

This year’s PNMF schedule can be found on

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