How awesome all of you are!” Those words were the first that Phil Roberts, a piano adjudicator at the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival (Canada, RI District 7820) this week had for Rotarians and their festival organisers.
The teacher at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s School of Music in piano performance said although he has been adjudicating now for six to seven years, it’s his first time to Stephenville.
“Being at the university, we (music teachers) see the fruits of your labour,” he said of some students who had grown up attending the music festival.
He said Evan Smith is an irreplaceable member of the Newfoundland and Labrador music community.
Roberts said Stephen Eckert is another area resident who is a very dedicated student and hard worker who had the opportunity to perform locally because of the festival in Stephenville and got support from the community at large.
He said Marigold Benoit and Sarah Bartlett are two other great pianists that came to Memorial University from Stephenville.
“Once students go through the programme (Rotary Music Festival) here it really carries on,” Roberts said.
He gave a huge thank you to music teachers and the parents of music students, who he said put a huge amount of dedication into their pupils and children respectively.
“Celebrate the accomplishments they make and the goals they work towards,” Roberts said. “Keep doing this! Keep putting off the music festival!”
Rotarian Rosa Dollard said Roberts’ address reinforces what Stephenville Rotary members believe – that the music festival is building music talent in youth that might not be otherwise done or achieved.
She said he spoke highly of students who came through their system and that’s evidence of those who went to Memorial University and they’ve had others, like Debbie Scurto Davis who went to school abroad and are successes.
“The thing that impressed me most was the importance he expressed of the festival and keeping it going,” Dollard said.
She said Rotary started 42 years ago to build a foundation of musical talent and they have to keep it going.
From the address, Rotarian Mel Dean said what has always amazed him is how adjudicators work with students and are so positive with them, always having some way of making them go that step higher.
He said then, at the university they have to work with the students at an even higher level and help them in continuing to reach even higher in the music field.
Local music teacher Jean House was impressed with the things Roberts had to say about music festivals and especially the one in Stephenville.
She said he was introduced to some local young musicians furthering their music as students at Memorial University and was impressed with their musicianship and music abilities.
“It’s always good to hear compliments about our young music students and their educators and the encouragement to the Rotary Club and the Rotary Music Festival organisers to continue to give this opportunity to the students,” she said.