The old Terrace Community Centre burnt down in 1971. On that unforgettable night, one of the memories that went up in smoke was that of a young English immigrant boy, nervously standing in front of a panel of what seemed like very stern and elderly judges and reciting passages from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
That was mine and Terrace’s first exposure to the Pacific Northwest Music Festival and this year, that venerable event celebrates its 53 years anniversary. Once again this year, performers, judges, adjudicators and apprehensive parents and grandparents are in Terrace to participate in one of the oldest continuous Festivals of its kind in western Canada. Entrants of all ages are enthusiastically participating in events ranging from dance to band, speech arts and musical events of all types and varieties.
For some of us, the Festival is not unlike our best Sunday clothes come to life. It is our cultural and finer side that is taken out once a year, polished and put on display. For others, it’s a chance to shine after countless hours of practice in basements, studios and band rooms all across the North. It brings together like-minded people for an opportunity to learn, to grow and yes, even to show off the things that have been learned since the last one. Hotels and restaurants are filled, and our community grows by welcoming guests from all over BC.
The PNWMF is an integral part of the fabric that makes up Terrace. It is an ongoing recognition and affirmation that this little City on the edge (or the middle) of the bush is more than forestry and resource extraction and our leisure pursuits cover more than hockey games and other sporting events. Along with our much loved Terrace Little Theatre, the Terrace Concert Society and a growing and thriving live music scene, Terrace is blessed to have cultural events and performers that make us so much happier and make our town greatly more liveable. Terrace also has a thriving dance community, giving artistic opportunities to our youth that would not otherwise be available.
I encourage people to go out and indulge your artistic and musical side. Perhaps try something new that you haven’t experienced before. Join the audience and the mixture of excited and enthusiastic parents and proud grandparents. You may discover something new, something that makes your community and the entire region a better and some would say perhaps a more civilized place.
The Fine Arts in our community, no matter what kind, and the people and groups who practice them deserve our support and our patronage. This year’s music festival runs from March 28th to April 13th in 3 different venues.
By the way, our young English lad finished second in his class that year, his otherwise solid performance blemished by the adjudicator’s mistaken pronunciation of RL Stevenson’s middle name. For the record, it’s pronounced Louis (pronounce the “s” ), not Lewie as the French would articulate it. I have forgiven the judges, mostly because Google did not exist in 1966 and also because 53 years tends to fade one’s memories.