Our festival is celebrating its 13th season this year. It was started in 2004 as the Prince Edward County Music Festival under the umbrella of the Prince Edward County Arts Council, and it continued in this form for twelve years. In the fall of 2015 the festival was incorporated under the name of Prince Edward County Classical Music Festival.
The festival started as a three-concert weekend at Picton’s St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church. The church with its exceptional acoustics and intimate setting remains our home but the festival now spans over ten days, and includes a number of wonderful County venues. Each year has seen the introduction of a new feature. We presented opera in three of our recent festivals, and we also went beyond the small ensemble format and in 2014 brought in a chamber orchestra – I Musici de Montréal. The following year we went out on a limb and presented an evening of cabaret music.
Another component of our festival – one that we take quite seriously – is to offer school children from Prince Edward County an opportunity to experience a live music event that is not necessarily pop. We have been putting on schools concerts since the beginning. In 2012 the percussion performers by Bangers & Smash of music from around the world was received with such rapt attention and enthusiastic response that the following year we decided to double the capacity, and started offering two concerts with a total audience of close to 500 children. Over the years we have featured percussion, brass and a capella ensembles, and this year it will be a traditional string quartet. All performances are specifically designed for young audiences and include a measure of educational content.