December Newsletter

Hello Festival Family!

Welcome to the December edition of our monthly newsletter and our last edition of 2022! In this issue, you will find a message from our Executive Director, information about our expanded July in January project, an exciting recap of our Music Scores, and some fun photos from the Holiday Train! 

Please note that our newsletter will be taking a break from monthly publication for the foreseeable future. As some of you may know, the editor is finishing her contract and moving out of the country in January. The rest of the Festival team is sad to see her go, but they wish her the best of luck!

From the Executive Director

Greetings from the snowy Near North. The ice is slowly creeping across the water, giving and taking a little each day in a slow waltz over the dancefloor of the Sound. The cycles of the seasons are on full display year-round here, and this week we’ve watched the last bits of warmth rise in mist above the lakes and streams and rivers.

Without winter, summer loses its lustre. This cycle is a part of the great creation that climaxes each year as we all gather on the shores of Georgian Bay in celebration of great music.  I am continually reminded of this dynamic cycle in my regular meetings with my friend and colleague, Artistic Director James Campbell. While the Festival appears to be sleeping between our lively bursts of summer activity, James is hard at work making sure things are set to bloom next July 19 – August 5.

Just as we all enjoy having the best seats for a concert, I wouldn’t trade my front row seat to watch the master at work for anything. The meticulous care being taken to create programmes that reward, challenge, and delight our audience and artists alike is no mean feat. It is a craft honed over decades of building trust and camaraderie with both musicians and audiences. The fact that James makes it look so easy is a testament to these years of experience and a very deep, sincere care for the Festival of the Sound and all it contains.

Our December fundraising campaign continues to be a popular place for many of our Patrons and Members to demonstrate what the Festival means to them. There are links throughout this newsletter if you want to share some cheer and help ensure our Festival continues for years to come.

As we enter the holiday season you may take pride, pleasure, and comfort knowing that James and our entire team are hard at work planting the seeds to make Festival 2023 the most memorable yet!

Warmest regards,


July in January

Carol and I send you our warmest wishes as we settle into the holiday season. When we think of the Festival (which at this point in the planning stage is most of our waking hours), thoughts of warm summer evenings, sunsets viewed from the Stockey Centre deck, and beautiful music shared with friends come to mind.

I am pleased to share that you can revive those feelings. July in January, our virtual festival, will return to warm your cold January evenings.

Festival of the Sound and eight Ontario summer festivals will be joined by the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, the Tuckamore Festival in St. Johns, and the Agassiz Festival in Winnipeg for July in January 2023! These twelve Festivals have contributed videos for you to enjoy while sitting in your favourite chair at home. Go to the Classical Music Festivals Canada website to learn more and experience the performances. Admission is free, our gift to you during these still challenging times.

I am proud to tell you that this is a Festival of the Sound initiative, put together by our marvellous staff. The enthusiasm and cooperation we receive from our sister festivals prove our classical music world is united through the power of our shared art.


Music Scores Returns

The Sky Speaks to Me

“[S]uch a magical experience that the students truly loved.”
– Krystle Kelly, 3/4/5 teacher, Whitestone Lake Public School

Festival of the Sound’s Music Scores reached new heights this fall as the educational outreach program returned live and in person to 10 local schools in the Parry Sound area for its 17th season. Musicians Samantha Whelan-Kotkas, Walter MacDonald White Bear, Mark Limacher, and Chloe Weston shared their music with students in kindergarten through Grade 8. In-school sessions featured performances by the artists and invited students to be actively involved in the creative process through writing poetry and music inspired by Chief Dan George’s poem My Heart Soars and incredible images of space from the James Webb Telescope.

Students were empowered to explore their own creativity in collaboration with the artists, culminating in a multi-disciplinary piece entitled The Sky Speaks to Me that was the highlight of the final performances on Friday at the Stockey Centre. The piece featured student poets performing on stage, accompanied by live and recorded music created together by both the students and artists. Over 700 students came together at the Stockey Centre to enjoy these performances which also featured music performed by the artists – including Indigenous teachings and songs by Walter MacDonald White Bear, new music composed and performed by Mark Limacher, and music of the classical canon performed by Samantha Whelan-Kotkas and Chloe Weston.

To see more about Music Scores’ impact, please click on the images below.

The Sky Speaks to Me is made possible with support from the following organizations: the Recording Industries Music Performance Trust Fund, the Near North District School Board, and Ontario Presents.

Click on the image above to watch a brief video showcasing the final performances at the Stockey Centre.
Click on the image above to read about the value of Music Scores from a teacher and a facilitator. 

CP Holiday Train

The annual CP Holiday Train returned this November after a two-year hiatus, and we were lucky enough to play host at the Festival Station Office! If you didn’t get a chance to join in the festivities, here is a brief gallery courtesy of Board Member Henny Groenendijk-Baljet.