Chilliwack Lions Club Music and Dance Festival

OUR HISTORY

 

The first Festival was held over three days in April 1948, just before the great flood in Chilliwack.  Gordon Mitchell, Howard Denike, Jim Murray and Jack Walton were Chilliwack Lions Club members and were the founders of the Festival.  At this point it was named Upper Fraser Valley Festival, and later changed to the Upper Fraser Valley Music Festival.  Two of the founders were avid musicians, Gordon on a performance level, and Howard was a local teacher, who until his death was also an adjudicator for several festivals including ours. Back in 1948 we had 13 trophies of which six are still awarded.  There were 200 entries and one adjudicator for all the disciplines: piano, voice, elocution, violin, electric guitar, wind quartet, band and Sunday School Choirs.  Both folk and classical ballet were also included for the first three years.  They were discontinued due to hair-pulling on stage!!

The Festival took place at several venues around town, until it’s prime location was moved to the Chilliwack Arts Centre in 1996 and remained there till 2010.  In 2011, the Festival changed locations to the new Chilliwack Cultural Centre which was completed in September 2010.

At a Chilliwack Lions Club meeting in 1990 there was a motion to dissolve the Music Festival.  Jonesie Jones pleaded its case stating that in his many years as a Lion he didn’t know of any other Lions project to be the same age as that Lions Club.  He took over as Chairperson in 1995.  During his years as chair the name of the festival was changed to the Chilliwack Lions Club Music & Dance Festival.

Several secretaries donated many, many years to the Festival, the most prominent being Audrey Grimmett and Jean Tunbridge.  Jean held the festival together, and as one source said – she ran it like a sergeant major. Jean’s health was failing in 1997 – and although she wanted to be around for our 50th Anniversary – she unfortunately passed away in January 1998, just two months before the big 50. Vicki, Jean’s daughter, who had been her assistant for a few years, stepped in to take her place.

By 1999 the Festival had expanded to cover 16 days in late February and early March culminating in a Final Honours Concert.  At that time there were 15 different adjudicators and over 120 trophies.  Trophies were given for various reasons: 9 in memory of music teachers, 55 by local businesses both past and present, 20 from different clubs and associations, 4 from original committee members, and 25 in memory of various citizens.

Donna left after one year but Bonnie continued as Dance Co-ordinator, and remained until 2010. During those twelve years, Bonnie expanded the dance division from a small local dance festival into one that is attended by dancers from all over the lower mainland.

Chairperson's

Lion Bonnie Mason, 2001-08

Lion Monica Gibson-Puglsey, 2009-10   

Lion Madelene Lange, 2011-12; Co-Chair with Lion Neill Rickaby in 2013    

Lion Neill Rickaby Co-Chair with Colleen Adie in 2014    

Lion Madelene Lange, 2015-16

Lion Jim Martindale and Lion Val Martindale are currently our Co-Chairs                                     

We want to thank all the committee members and hundreds of volunteers over the years for their dedication and hard work in keeping the Festival in existence. We wouldn’t be here today, if it wasn’t for you.

Very Important Volunteer Help Needed in a big way!

We Urgently need 2 Dance Co-ordinators; 1 for Acro, Tap, Stage and Song & Dance and also 1 for Ballet and Modern. Small per diem honourarium is available!!! Also needed for Music is 1 Piano Co-ordinator, 1 Vocal Co-ordinator and 1 String Co-ordinator.

 

For more Info. Contact Jim or Val Martindale #604-392-3781 or clcmdf70@gmail.com or Contact Laurie Hirschman @ 604-858-3147 or hirschmanhouse@telus.net

 

We also need 1 or two people to assist with Registrations. Small honourarium also available for this assistance. For more info. Contact Laurie Hirschman @ 604-858-3147 or hirschmanhouse@telus.net

Interested in helping?

Are you interested in supporting our music & dance students? We need you! A festival this size needs lots of volunteers from selling tickets, taking tickets at the door, working backstage with organizing the dancers, writing for our adjudicators, to assisting in set-up and take down at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre! If you can help in any way, please contact Delia Davies at 604-795-4780 or howardanddee@shaw.ca