Something missing from the Lakes District honours concert

Something will be missing from the honours concert for the 54 annual Lakes District Music and Speech Arts Festival, Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Island Gospel Auditorium.

Students of the Decker Lake Elementary School kindergarten class performed on Monday at the 54 annual Lakes District Music and Speech Arts festival. The class sang

Students of the Decker Lake Elementary School kindergarten class performed on Monday at the 54 annual Lakes District Music and Speech Arts festival. The class sang

Something will be missing from the honours concert for the 54 annual Lakes District Music and Speech Arts Festival, Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Island Gospel Auditorium.

The audience can expect the usual top-notch performances from the cream of the festival participants.

A video projection screen will be used once again so people at the back of the auditorium can see the pianists. This year a professional sound system will make sure that every note uttered can be heard by all.

At this year’s concert, however, there will be no presentation of trophies.

The Festival Committee has retired the trophies and replaced them with gold, silver, and participant ribbons. Rosette ribbons in gold and silver will be used for school groups. Certificates have also been phased out.

Scholarships will be presented at the concert and provincial recommendations announced. In the European fashion, a single flower will be presented to each performer.

The ribbon system, used at the Prince George Music Festival and many others, is a much more accurate method to honour the skills of the participants.

A gold ribbon represents a mark of 90 or higher, a silver ribbon represents 85 – 89 and a blue participant ribbon covers all marks lower than 85.

The selection of honours night performers will no longer be restricted to those who won trophies, and will be based on overall marks and adjudicator recommendations.

“We hope that the ribbon system will turn the focus away from marks and winning,” said festival president Louise Rompen.

“Instead of ‘who won the category’ or ‘what mark did I get’, the student can say ‘look how well I am doing’, and the adjudicator will no longer have to adjust the marks of two equal students in order to award the trophy to one of them. “

Rompen added that the festival committee welcomes constructive feedback on the new system, which is still being tweaked.

“It is a big adjustment for all of us,” Rompen said, “because trophies have been a part of Festival for the past 53 years.  However, we all felt it was time for this big step forward.”

The aging trophies, many of them from sponsors and individuals long forgotten will be photographed and catalogued and individual name plaques removed for inclusion in a scrapbook which will be on display at the Burns Lake Museum.

This year’s festival program includes a tribute to Margaret Long, one of the original founders of the festival, who moved to Prince George last December.