The Cariboo Festival society is a non-profit organization that provides a unique creative, artistic and cultural experience to the community. The Cariboo Festival includes:
- Performance classes in voice, piano, band and instrumental, and speech arts (poetry, public speaking and drama).
- The incentive amateur children, youth, adults, and groups (choirs, classes, bands) to prepare and perform a selection at a high level of excellence for an adjudicator. The incentive, in combination with the challenge of a competitive atmosphere, enhances the whole experience for performers and the audience.
- Self-confidence and experience gained by performing in a public setting.
- Opportunities for participants to share their efforts with the community and receive valuable feedback and instruction from masters in their field.
The benefits to the community include:
- Developing citizens with a higher awareness of the arts.
- Bringing in highly qualified adjudicators who provide insight and inspire participants to continue to grow in, and share, their love of the arts.
- The encouragement of valuable life skills, such as preparation and presentation, public speaking, and public decorum and etiquette.
The annual cost to run a festival of this calibre is about $13,000, of which about one-third is raised through entry fees and the rest fundraised. In addition, the number of volunteers needed adds up to over 1200 hours every year. The Cariboo Festival is always looking for new volunteers!
- "Art breaks down barriers and builds up communities."
Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada
- Canadians predominate on the professional stage because of the festival experience, according to Michael Kim, piano adjudicator of the 2007 national festival.
The first Cariboo Festival was held in May of 1957 with 200 entries. President of the Festival at that time was Catherine Boyce. Other founding members were Hazel Huckvale, Marty Simon, Ann Stevenson, Marie Sharpe, and Toes Uchida. That first year most entries were vocal solos and school choirs along with spoken verse and choral speech. A one- act play and several square dance groups were also included. Approximately 600 entries were adjudicated in a one day event that lasted until midnight! There were few piano entrants as Williams Lake had few piano teachers. Mr. Halloren came from Quesnel twice a month to teach piano. In the early 1970's Gail Carson and Carrie Barker obtained their Teacher's Certificates and the piano entries started to increase. They also organized a committee and raised money for a community grand piano for the use of these piano entrants. (This info was taken from an article in the Tribune in November 1996).
In 2019 we celebrate 61 years of the Cariboo Festival! Celebrate with us by participating through registraiton, participating through attending the performances, providing financial sponsorship, renewing your membership, becoming a new member, volunteering, or simply spreading the word in our community.