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Young performers ready for 67th CDMF

Eight-year-old Lina Hrabinsky belts out a few bars of Shy, a song from the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress.
Lina Hrabinsky, 8, a student at Port Coquitlam’s Castle Park elementary, will perform for the first time in the 67th annual CDMF Performing Arts Festival, which starts Monday with the piano category.

Eight-year-old Lina Hrabinsky belts out a few bars of Shy, a song from the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress.

The Grade 3 student at Castle Park elementary is relishing the chance to sing the show tune — as well as Quiet from Matilda — for her début in the CDMF Performing Arts Festival, an annual gathering of young pianists, vocalists and speech arts students that opens next Monday in Port Coquitlam.

A student of Margo LeVae at the Tri-City School of Music, Hrabinsky is one of about 260 young students who, over the next month, will converge at the Trinity United Church for the festival’s 67th year.

And for many, like Hrabinsky, it won’t only be their first time on a stage but their first time to get professional criticism as well.

Jacques Després of the University of Alberta (Edmonton) starts off the festival, on Feb. 11, with two weeks of piano. Next up is Vancouver soprano Dorothea Hayley, who adjudicates the classical voice component, starting Feb. 23. Finally, theatre director and actor Barbara Tomasic wraps up the festival by judging the speech arts and musical theatre categories, starting Feb. 28.

CDMF president Michael Wright, a former PoCo city councillor, said organizers were especially pleased to secure Tomasic as she’s a past CDMF entrant; it will be her first time at the CDMF adjudicator table.

But while most students are in it for a chance to hear tips from a pro, a few are also hoping to win a spot at the provincials to compete against other regional festival performers (this year’s Performing Arts BC will be held in late May in Chilliwack).

Last year, CDMF scored well at the provincial level with its representatives, taking: honourable mention in Junior A Piano (Owen Yi Su Wang); first place in Intermediate Piano (Hamilton Lau); runner-up for Senior Piano (Chloe Wong); runner-up for National Piano (Mina McKenzie); runner-up in Intermediate Classical Voice (Sophia Strang); runner-up in Intermediate Musical Theatre (Lyrie Murad); and runner-up in Senior Musical Theatre (Brooklyn White).

The public can hear the CDMF reps for 2019 at the honours concert on April 7.

Meanwhile, new for this year’s CDMF speech arts entrants are two half scholarships to the Arts Club Theatre’s Creative Teens Theatre program; the two candidates will be recommended by Tomasic.

• Admission to CDMF is free at Trinity United Church (2211 Prairie Ave., Port Coquitlam). For performance times, visit Volunteers are also sought for administration and front-of-house; call 604-942-8897 or 236-986-6341 to lend a hand.