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Pacific Northwest Music Festival returns for 56th year

The 17-day festival will host nearly 4,000 participants from different disciplines
Dancers perform in a previous Pacific Northwest Music Festival. The festival hosts nearly 4,000 participants competing in many different disciplines. (Carol Laird photo)

The Pacific Northwest Music Festival is returning for its 56th year from April 14-29 to show off local musical talent, provide training, award scholarships and offer friendly competition between musicians.

The 17-day non-profit festival is the largest annual event in the Terrace area. Events are happening all over town and are free for anyone to enjoy.

Hosting nearly 4,000 participants in previous years, disciplines such as dance, speech arts, piano, strings, guitar, band, and choral are all on display from all over the northwest.

“We’ve really taken great pride in the fact that we keep it multidisciplinary in our area,” said Kelly Lima, the president of the festival. “We’re all participants, and we all cheer each other on.”

Contestants will compete for 136 awards, scholarships and trophies that local individuals and businesses sponsor. Although there is a competitive nature to the event, it’s all in the spirit of learning and fun, according to Lima.

“The competitors learn from the professionals and adjudicators,” she said. “That’s really the focus of our festival — friendly competition.”

International and Canadian professional artists will be arriving from all over the world to judge the participants.

“We sort of pride ourselves on the fact that [the adjudicators] reach out to us and ask to return,” Lima said. “They love our philosophy of friendly competition, and they love the northern hospitality they feel when they’re here.”

The festival has catapulted some young talent into the limelight. Former Terrace student and participant in the festival Ambur Braid has taken the opera scene by storm, performing as a soprano in Canadian and international operas.

She’s been called a “revelation” by Das Opernmagazin and an “extraordinary performer” by Opera Canada.

“She entered our festival as a young participant and then took her love of that and went off to Toronto and is now huge in the opera world,” Lima said. “There’s a lot of people that have been very inspired to start their arts through the festival and then carry it through and make a career out of it.”

Above all the success and awards, Lima emphasized that the festival exists for the love of music.

“We really encourage the community to come out and support our artists and come and listen to some wonderful music.”

You can see the schedule of events, contact the festival or inquire about volunteering at