The organizing committee has been busy getting ready to host the Performing Arts BC festival May 26-30 in Chilliwack.

Hosting B.C. Arts Fest has spinoffs for Chilliwack

Organizers say it's going to take lots more volunteers to help them pull it off smoothly. Can you help out?

A provincial arts festival is going to bring the best performers along with economic spinoffs to Chilliwack at the end of the month.

Organizers are sending out the message that it’s going to take lots more volunteers to help them pull it off smoothly.

May 26 to May 30 will mark the first time in decades a Performing Arts of BC festival is hosted by the community of Chilliwack, says Laurie Hirschman, a member of the organizing committee.

“It’s a huge event!” she enthused.

Chilliwack Lions Club joined forces with Performing Arts of BC (PABC) to host the 2013 event, described as the “pinnacle” of the arts circuit.

“This is the future of the arts,” she said. “These are the kids who even if they don’t win, it often inspires them to go on to do even better in their chosen endeavours.”

Winners from various regional festivals, like Chilliwack’s, will be streaming into the city to perform and compete in adjudicated sessions of dance and music, and some will go on to the nationals. The main venue will be the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, as well as in a number of downtown Chilliwack churches.

Up to 1,500 people are expected to spend $400,000 over the duration of the festival at local businesses, which will boost the local economy while also supporting performing arts, Hirschman said.

Everyone needs accommodations and food, and some people enjoy a little shopping.

They’re eager to have more volunteers. They have some, but up to 150 more are needed.

“We’re halfway there. We also need the community to sit in the audience. Come see these kids in action. The more supportive the audience, the better they do in competition.”

Sponsorships have been forged with partnerships between organizers and local businesses to make the festival a reality.

The Opening Gala will be in loving memory of the late Dorothy Kostrzewa, a beloved city councillor and community volunteer. There will be about five concerts, as well as the adjudicated competitions.

“The opening gala being in honour of Dorothy was the wish of an anonymous sponsor, and the Kostrezewa family has graciously agreed to it.”

They have to rely heavily on volunteer support because the government funding for the annual festival dried up years ago.

“It’s a reflection of where things are going in the arts. But the local support from Chilliwack has been phenomenal.”

The extremely talented organizing team has worked very hard to make up for that lack of funding.

They need more volunteers to step forward to help with various tasks, such as ticket taking, recording secretaries for music venues, writers for dances as well as set up and take down.

To help out as a volunteer contact Laurie Hirschman at 604 858-3147 or Delia Davies at 604-795-4780.

Go to  http://www.performingartsbc.ca to find out more about the event. Performing Arts BC (formerly the BC Association of Performing Arts Festivals), is a not-for-profit charity which acts as the umbrella organization for 34 regional performing arts festivals throughout the province. The Provincial Festival, also known as The Provincials, is the eagerly anticipated pinnacle of BC’s festival circuit.

The Opening Gala at the Cultural Centre is on May 26,  7 p.m., $15 or $50 family rate.

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