Elora Festival announces competition winners

The final per­for­mance of the TD Canada Trust festival competition took place on July 15 at St. John’s Church in Elora, and of the seven competitors, four winners were chosen.

First prize of $3,000 and a future engagement with the El­ora Festival went to Robin Best, harp, from Ottawa. Sec­ond prize of $2,000 was awarded to tenor Graham Thom­son, of Toronto; and third, $1,000, went to clarinet­tist Shauna McDonald, of Ottawa. The Kathleen Deters audience favourite award of $500 also went to McDonald.

The other finalists were Aidan Ferguson (Montreal), mezzo soprano; Jacqueline Le­ung (Montreal), piano; Kath­erine Finch (St. George), cello; and Adam Rose (Montreal), saxophone.

Judges for the competition were Rick Phillips, author of The Essential Classical Recor­d­­ings – 101 CDs, and host and producer of Sound Advice, Catharine Robbin, Director of Classical Vocal Studies at York University, and Larry Beck­with, Artistic Director of Tor­onto Masque Theatre.

“It was a difficult choice this year,” said Phillips. “From the first round of 65 applicants to the final round tonight, the skill level of these young per­formers is terrific. It’s good to know that music is still an important aspect of learning, de­spite cuts by education faci­lities and the government.”

The competition is now in its 20th year, and was origi­nally called You Heard Them Here First. The Elora Festival en­courages young performers who are studying music by offering financial support for continued musical studies and provides the finalists with an opportunity to perform at one of Canada’s top music festivals. Competitors must be born in or reside in Canada, and be be­tween the ages of 17 and 27. Ap­plication forms for the next competition will be available on the festival’s website, www.elorafestival.com in Oc­to­ber.

The 2006 competition win­ner, cellist David Eggert, will perform a solo recital on July 25 at 4pm at St. John’s Church.

The 30th anniversary of the Elora Festival runs to Aug, 2. Tickets are available by phone at 519-856-0331 or 1-888-747-7550, in person at 33 Hender­son Street in Elora, or at the website.