More than 600 performers are set to gather in Bowmanville for Ontario Christian MusicFest to share the gift of music with “an audience of one.”
“People get to hear some wonderful music…and bring praise and glory to God through the gift of music,” says Dennis Ullman, the regional director of Ontario Christian MusicFest, and president and CEO of D.R.U.M.S. Inc., an event sponsor.
He says the festival is about showcasing the music programs of participating schools while sharing the passion of music with all who attend, be they from Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) or beyond.
The festival is open to public, private and Catholic schools, and while most participants are from Christian schools, Ullman says he’s happy to have other participants scheduled because it’s a chance to highlight what makes Christian schools special, and everyone is “there to celebrate music.”
The three-day festival, which for five years has been a regional festival of Canada MusicFest, will feature the York University Gospel Choir and Nashville-bound Caroline VanHalteren with the Redemption Praise Team.
These special guests tie in with the Christian school system nicely, says Burke, because the York choir’s director, Karen Burke, used to be the director at Toronto District Christian High School, and VanHalteren is a graduate of Lindsay’s Heritage Christian School.
Over the course of the festival Christian adjudicators will assess ensembles and performers and can recommend the group be invited to compete in the national finals of MusicFest Canada.
Jazz ensembles and concert bands will perform and a Canada MusicFest category for “Praise and Worship Teams” was created through OCM in 2006. These teams can be from churches, youth groups or schools and all are encouraged to participate.
This year’s festival, which runs April 6 - 8, at Knox Christian School, will be the largest ever since the event was established10 years ago, and Ullman says it’s a testament to the success of the program that it continues to grow every year.