The first-ever Winnipeg Music Festival took place in May 1919. Interest in the inaugural event was so strong, despite the fact that the last class on May 15 lasted until after 1 a.m., the audience stayed until adjudication was finished — and then many people walked home, as the Winnipeg General Strike had just begun and streetcars were not running.
Established by the Men’s Musical Club, for the past 100 years, the festival has been awarding trophies for musical performances in a wide variety of categories, including the Rose Bowl (outstanding vocal performance), Aikins Memorial Trophy (outstanding performance among diploma-level instrumentalists) and Walter Klymkiw Trophy (outstanding performance of a folk or multilingual song by a community choir).
More than 3,000 performers come from all over Manitoba, northern Ontario and the United States to compete.
This year’s festival runs until March 17, with a gala concert of highlights at Westminster United Church at 2 p.m.