Just like any organization, there is history and a long list of people who worked hard to attribute to the success of the committee. In our community there are many people who had the foresight to plan, organize, and maintain a local music festival for the education of the students of our area. This year, we would like to shine the spotlight on one in this group of dedicated volunteers who were responsible for the beginnings of our Music Festival which celebrates it’s 45th Anniversary, Mrs. Elaine Brouwer.
Elaine was a young mother at the time and remembers that there were several music teachers and families driving their children to Lloydminster to compete at the Music Festival there and all it took was the simple question, "Why don't we have a Festival in Provost?" for the idea to take root in the minds of a group of dedicated individuals headed up by Ross and Irene McCormick and Verlie Meiklejohn. This Awesome group worked tirelessly with the Alberta Music Festival to organize and fund raise and demonstrate that our small East Central Alberta community could host and sustain a Music Festival of high standard. After many volunteer hours and administrative work and a successful first Music Festival, Provost Music Festival became an affiliated member of the Alberta Music Festival Association on May 1, 1973. This was exciting for those who had worked so hard as they had been told that it could take several years before the Festival would be affiliated.
In talking to Elaine in preparation for this tribute, it occurred to me that the old saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is quite fitting. So much of the preparation we do today is the same as organizing the festival 45 years ago - you need volunteers and those willing to donate money for awards. We are so lucky to live in a generous community where businesses and individuals donate willingly their time, talents. and resources. This hasn't changed over the years. A big part of organizing the festival is hiring high caliber professional Adjudicators to give our students the best possible learning experience. Mrs. Brouwer fondly recollects that Adjudicators were always willing to come to Provost and were always impressed with the talent of the students. This is also something that hasn't changed, it is usually not hard to find an Adjudicator willing to come to our small town to work with the students because we have a very good reputation in the Festival community. However, just like our clothes and hairstyles, a lot has changed with regard to Music Festival Since 1972. The first years there were record numbers of entries in 4 disciplines - over 500 entries - and these sessions were held in just 3 days!!!! Sessions were long, quite often starting at 8:30 a.m. with only half hour breaks for quick meals, and lasting until 8:30 a.m. or 9 p.m. I can't even imagine trying to schedule that number of students into only 3 days.
Mrs. Brouwer held many rolls within the Association; Publicity Chair, President, and Vice President. She served as an accompanist for vocal and instrumental students for many years. Elaine mentioned she always hoped that her own children would receive an aware and perform as Colour Night as she was never able to watch them perform during Festival Week because she was busy accompanying students to their venues. One year she played for 98 band and vocal students. Wow!! On top of volunteering and taking an organizational role in the Festival, Dirk Brouwer Photography has donated an award annually since 1972....."the more things change, the more they stay the same."
Just like 1972, the Provost Music Festival has a great group of volunteers working together and planning a successful Festival year after year. We are able to build on the strong foundation laid out by many, many, community-minded individuals over the years and our work is relatively easy because of their success.
"Coming together is a beginning; keeping thogether is progress; workign together is success."
- Henry Ford