Chatham Kiwanis Music Festival kicks off in-person return

The Chatham Kiwanis Festival is back after two years of being virtual.

The competition, which was canceled in 2020 and has been held online for the past two years, will resume live performances this week.

“Students have worked really hard to participate in the virtual festival during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are all excited to be back playing live,” said Festival Co-President Sue Lowther. “Live broadcasting is a different ballgame.”

The festival kicks off on Tuesday with performances at Holy Trinity and St. Paul’s Anglican Churches and Studio One at the Chatham Cultural Centre.

More than 180 youth are expected to participate.

Lowther said the festival will feature a variety of musical performances, workshops and competitions, culminating in an awards ceremony recognizing the best performers.

“We’re excited to see all the talent in Chatham-Kent,” Lowther said. “Many dedicated families, students and teachers supporting each other. Live music is very active in Chatham-Kent.”

While the return to live performances is something to celebrate, this year’s event will also be a mixed bag. George Service, a former co-chair of the festival, died last year.

“He’s been missed terribly, and he’s been remembered a lot,” Lowther said. “We remember all the work George did.”

Competitions through April 17 will have no entry fee, but donations will be accepted.

Tickets are still required for the festival’s grand concert at the Kiwanis Theater on May 16.

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