BY any measure it’s an impressive series of numbers.
Seventeen days of performances.
Five days alone for dance.
A record 1,524 entries this year.
Two sold out nights at the REM Lee Theatre, one for scholarships and the other to showcase specific talents.
Now in its 51st year.
More than 4,000 performers in all.
All backstopped by one dedicated core of volunteers.
It’s the Pacific Northwest Music Festival, the annual display of dance, music, speech, instrumentalists of all kinds, bands, choirs and more from around the region.
From its start in 1965, which featured four days of performances, the festival continues to provide a venue for excellence.
But there’s more. Performers, especially young ones, learn and polish poise, mastery of voice and instruments and movement and the discipline of practice and persistence, all essential elements for everyday life.
Educators will tell you music makes young brains come alive. Mathematicians in particular will tell you that learning and performing music of all kinds aids in numeracy.
With school districts everywhere facing the immense challenge of preparing young people for adult life, it should not be forgotten there is a place for the arts.
And in the northwest, the Pacific Northwest Music Festival demonstrates the arts can do and flourish.