For the first time in about three years, the Moose Jaw Band and Choral Festival will bring the art of music back to the community.  

The event, which kicks off Monday and runs until Thursday will feature 100 groups from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta.  

Janie Fries is the chair of the festival and a member of the Moose Jaw Band and Choral Boosters, which is running the event, explains some of the history behind it.  

“The festival is celebrating its 71st festival, it has been going on since 1950 in the city,” says Fries. “It used to be the Kinsmen International Band Festival and when the Kinsmen weren’t able to keep up with it in 1995, then it was handed over to a group of citizens and we have been running it ever since.” 

The festival will feature concerts and jazz bands, along with choral presentations over the four-day event, and will have students performing from Grade 6 all the way up to high school.  

Locations all around the city will house the festivals' performances.  

“Of course, we use the Mae Wilson Theatre, Peacock Centennial Auditorium, and St. Andrew Church in the social hall, those are our three concert band venues. We use Zion United Church for the choirs and St. Aidan for the jazz bands.” 

If that wasn’t enough, the Crescent Park Amphitheatre will play host to concerts put on by the groups themselves on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11:00 am., to 2:00 p.m. 

“We have three hours over the noon hour of different groups coming in to play a half hour or 45 minutes and we’re inviting the public to come down, bring their lunch, and enjoy that.” 

Fries explains that new to the festival this is a virtual performance by a group from Peace River, Alta., that had to cancel at the last minute due to wildfires around their community.  

“Those students will be up in Peace River and our clinicians will be down here in Moose Jaw and they still will get the benefit of the festival, thanks to technology. I’m sure the students are disappointed but at least they get the essence of the festival itself and they’ve paid their registration fees so it’s nice they are still able to take part as much as possible.” 

Admission is free to the above-mentioned events, with a couple of paid features on Monday and Wednesday nights.  

On Monday, Carter Powley and The Chop Shop will be taking to the stage at the Mae Wilson Theatre, and then on Wednesday West of Mabou will be performing.  

On both nights there will be two performances at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., admission is $15, and tickets can be purchased at the Mae Wilson Theatre.  

In addition, The Bromantics will hit the stage at the Crescent Park Amphitheatre from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday for “Party in the Park”. 

More information and a full schedule can be found on the Moose Jaw Band and Choral Festival website.