The Kiwanis Music Festival of St. John's was started in 1952, two years after the formation of the first Kiwanis Club in Newfoundland. The first of these clubs - the Kiwanis Club of St. John's - comprised members who had a strong interest in music and were very keen on the idea of starting a proper music festival. This first festival proved to be the foundation for the Music Festival movement within the province. The 1952 Festival consisted of a two day event, featuring 193 entries and two adjudicators. Since then, the Festival has achieved exponential growth, and now includes a full 12-day schedule that features over 2400 participants and 10 adjudicators. It is the largest festival in Eastern Canada. The Kiwanis Music Festival has continued to grow with a strong history and a rich tradition within the greater St. John's area. After 67 years (and counting...) musicians young and experienced have come to appreciate this annual event. The enrichment provided to all involved makes this event a true and living entity and the Festival can look forward to many more years of bringing - through music - greater joy and happiness to the land.
THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS -When the first Kiwanis Club in Newfoundland was organized in November, 1950, one of the first projects considered was the establishment of a competitive Music Festival, organized along the lines of those being held in Britain for over 100 years and established in Canada in Edmonton in 1908. On the surface, it would appear unusual that a service club comprising business and professional people would become involved with a highly organized and technically sophisticated musical event such as a Music Festival, but experience has shown, and continues to be evident, that service clubs, particularly Kiwanis clubs, have had eminent success in encouraging artistic excellence while maintaining financial stability and organizational efficiency in the administration of music festivals in Canada. The co-operation between Kiwanians, musicians and the community at large has been essential and abundantly in evidence in St. John's throughout the past 50 years. As a Kiwanis Festival Chairman in Peterborough said in 1951 when he was asked for advice from their successful festival experience, "There will be some difficult times as deficits turn up and arguments develop between the Club and the "prima donnas" as to the merits of procedure, syllabus, adjudicators and so on, but none of them are very important as a little time passes and they are seen in their proper perspective". THE ROSE BOWLS As the Festival has grown in numbers and in quality of performance, several higher awards have been instituted. In the fifties, an award was established for the Best Performance in the festival. In 1964, The Rose Bowl Competition was instituted, first for solo singers, and subsequently for any senior solo competitor. This competition brings together winners in various senior categories in a competition judged by a panel of adjudicators, and an over-all winner is selected. This, of course is a most prestigious award, for it signifies a superior accomplishment. The Rose Bowl concept has been expanded so that in 1975 a Junior Rose Bowl was instituted for competition among instrumental and vocal solo competitors in the 17 and under age category and in 1989 a Group Rose Bowl was instituted for competition among choral and instrumental categories. For the 2001-2002 Festival, a Junior Vocal Rose Bowl was introduced, limited to participants 17 years and under, with the inaugural winner being Megan Felt. The list of winners in all the rose Bowl competitions is a ‘who's who' of our local music scene, and contains the names of many musicians performing as soloists or in groups who have attained outstanding national and international recognition. As a footnote, the first Rose Bowl Winner in 1964, Margaret Ann Hanley Whittle, had the benefit of being a competitor in every St. John's Music Festival up to that time.
Scholarship Fund 50th Anniversary Scholarship and Other Trust Funds The Kiwanis Music Festival Association of St. John's reached a significant milestone in 2001 with the presentation of the 50th Annual Kiwanis Music Festival. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the City of St. John's both recognized Kiwanis' contribution in fostering our musical heritage, by making significant contributions to mark the occasion. The Association decided to use these contributions as the starting point in setting up a 50th Anniversary Scholarship Trust Fund that will provide cash awards and music scholarships to help support our many gifted musicians, particularly those who have decided to pursue post secondary musical education. Additional contributions have also been received from other supporters resulting in approximately $107,000 in the specific 50th Anniversary Trust Fund and a total of approximately $190,000 in overall Trust Funds available to generate interest for ongoing distribution of scholarships. It should be noted that, while Kiwanis undertakes an annual fund raising campaign to support the regular operating costs of the festival, the Scholarship Trust Fund will establish a permanent legacy to provide support for promising musicians. It is the intent of the Association to use only the interest from the Trust to fund these special scholarships and awards. Ongoing administrative costs of the Annual Festival will continue to be funded from traditional sources. It should be further noted that these special scholarships do not replace specific scholarships for various musical categories or age groups and which are funded on an annualized basis. To date, we have been able to award several thousand dollars in Scholarships from this fund to deserving young musicians. This is in addition to specifically funded scholarships from generous donors. So far the bulk of these awards have been used to assist those musicians who have been recommended to go on to Provincial and National finals. We continue to seek your support for this worthwhile endeavour. Contributions to this Fund should be sent to the Kiwanis Music Festival Office and be identified as a contribution to the 50th Anniversary Scholarship Trust Fund. An official tax receipt will be issued for all such donations. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Music Festival office at 579-1523.
Past Presidents Past Presidents 1952 - D. W. MacPherson dec. 1953 - David K. Peters dec 1954 - David K. Peters dec 1955 - Leonard J. Brett dec. 1956 - William J. House dec. 1957 - James J. Greene dec. 1958 - Harold R. Bradley dec. 1959 - H.C. Dawe dec. 1960 - David K. Peters dec. 1961 - David K. Peters dec. 1962 - Allan C. Jerrett dec. 1963 - Allan C. Jerrett dec. 1964 - William Green dec. 1965 - Charles Strong dec. 1966 - Charles Strong dec. 1967 - John K. Pratt dec. 1968 - Charles Strong dec. 1969 - Fred Noble dec 1970 - Philip A. Saunders 1971 - Charles E. Pope 1972 - Harvey Flight dec. 1973 - Frank Stokes dec. 1974 - Wallace Howse dec. 1975 - Reg Norman dec. 1976 - James P. Redmond 1977 - V.L. Roy Ash dec. 1978 - Eric Thompson dec. 1979 - Carl Winsor dec. 1980 - Ray Noseworthy 1981 - Owen Antle 1982 - Rodney Soper 1983 - Bill Earle 1984 - Wayne Bussey 1985 - Rev. Don Harvey 1986 - Randell Earle 1987 - Clayton Handrigan 1988 - H. Christian Boehm dec. 1989 - Lester Snelgrove dec. 1990 - Brendan O'Connell 1991 - Robert Sinclair 1992 - Gilbert Heffern dec. 1993 - Fred Noseworthy dec. 1994 - Ken Thomas 1995 - Joan Dawe 1996 - Fred Noseworthy dec. 1997 - Gerry Murphy dec. 1998 - Ken Thomas 1999 - Clayton Handrigan 2000 - Fred Noseworthy dec. 2001 - Norm Williams 2002 - Les Russell 2003 - David Hillier 2004 - Joan Dawe 2005 - John G. Abbott 2006 - Clarence Randell 2007 - Brenda Picco 2008 - Paul Hamilton 2009 - Paul Hamilton 2010 - Charles Taylor 2011 - Charles Taylor 2012 - Charles Pope Jr. 2013 - Charles Pope Jr. 2014 - Margaret Wakeham 2015 - Margaret Wakeham 2016 - Janice Connors 2017 - Janice Connors 2018 - Janice Connors 2019 - Eileen St. Croix 2020- Eileen St. Croix