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MusicFest Canada is a competition festival, established as the Canadian Stage Band Festival (CSBF) in Toronto, in 1972, by Robert Richmond (founding president), Gary Wadsworth, and Paul Miner. The CSBF added vocal and concert band components in 1981 and 1986, respectively. MusicFest Canada, introduced as of 1987, embraced[clarification needed] the CSBF and what had come to be identified by 1986 as the Canadian Vocal Festival and Canadian Concert Band Festival.
Bands and choirs are adjudicated by noted Canadian and US professionals in the jazz, band, and choral fields. Classifications are either by age (Jazz and Choral) or by an established level set by test piece (Concert Bands and Orchestras). Winning ensembles are ranked according to gold, silver, and bronze; awards and scholarships are also presented to individual musicians.
National finals have been held in the spring (usually May) in several Canadian cities. Regional competitions are held during the preceding three months. In 1991, nearly 400,000 musicians participated in the preliminary events; some 8000[quantify] (in more than 350 stage and concert bands, jazz combos, and choral groups) proceeded to the finals.
Activities at the national finals have also included clinics and concerts, the latter offered over the years by the Boss Brass, Gary Burton, Canadian Brass, the Humber College Faculty Band, Maynard Ferguson, and Woody Herman big bands, the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, Oscar Peterson, Quazz, UZEB, the Swingle Singers, the Nathanial Dett Chorale, Vertical Voices, Sixth Wave, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Diana Krall, the New York Voices and others. The festival's closing concert of winning ensembles has been documented by TV specials produced for TVOntario, CBC Television and in 1976, 1977 and annually beginning in 1980, CTV.
- Toronto (1973-7, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2013, 2015))
- Winnipeg (1978, 1990)
- Vancouver (1979, at Expo 86, 1991, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2011, and 2014)
- Ottawa (1980, 1987, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016)
- Edmonton (1981, 1993)
- Hamilton (1982)
- Calgary (1983, 1988, 1995, 2002)
- Quebec City (1985)
- Halifax (1992)
- Montreal (2004)
- Markham (2009)
- Niagara Falls, Ontario (2017)
Board and Officers
- Robert Richmond (1972-1984)
- John Nikel (1984-1986)
- Allen S. Michalek (1986-1996)
- Tom Glenn (1996-2005)
- Mark Wicken (2005-present)
- Harvey Botting
- Bryan Stovell
- Dr. Mark Hopkins
- Peter Grant
Jim Howard was appointed national co-ordinator in 1984 and executive director in 1985.
- Neil Yorke-Slader, Instrumental Jazz Division
- John Chalmers, Choral/Vocal Jazz Division
- Sharon Fitzsimmons, Concert Band Division
- Wayne Toews, Orchestra/String Festival