Dancers with Images Dance Studio rehearse for their number 'Jungle' which will be performed on Feb. 16 at the Chilliwack Lions Club 64th annual Music and Dance Festival.

Dancers with Images Dance Studio rehearse for their number 'Jungle' which will be performed on Feb. 16 at the Chilliwack Lions Club 64th annual Music and Dance Festival.

Lions festival roars to life

The Chilliwack Lions Club has been welcoming competitors, adjudicators, and performers to town for the 64th Annual Chilliwack Lions Music and Dance Festival for a full week.

The Chilliwack Lions Club has been welcoming competitors, adjudicators, and performers to town for the 64th Annual Chilliwack Lions Music and Dance Festival for a full week.

More than 5,400 festival participants will stream into Chilliwack over the course of the festival to take the stage, mainly at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, as well as a couple of other venues.

It’s the first year the shiny new cultural centre stands in as the main venue.

“It’s taken some adjustment,” said festival chair Madelene Lange. “Like everything, it’s taken a little bit of time. But the centre staff have been just wonderful and have assisted in every way they can to help us make the transition.”

The Lions Music and Dance fest has built a long and proud tradition in the community, for more than six decades.

“This is the first festival on the circuit, so the kids are all vying for the chance to compete at the provincials,” Lange says.

Thirteen adjudicators will evaluate the dozens of varied performances.

The fest kicked off Friday with dance in the cultural centre and they’ll continue until Feb. 21, and then music sessions will begin Feb. 22 and run until March 10.

Every year the fest attracts young performers in categories that range from ballet, tap, stage, song and dance, street jazz, piano, vocals, as well as in choir, strings, bands, brass and woodwinds.

“There is some wonderful entertainment by young students for just $3,” says festival chair Madelene Lange. “You can’t find that kind of deal anywhere.”

They’re still actively looking for volunteers, too, Lange said. Call her to find out how at 604-795-9633.

“We needs upward of 350,” she estimated. “It gives everyone a sense of giving back and they get to be part of a great event. Sometimes it’s the parents or grandparents of performers who come out to volunteer.”

The $8 program for the entire festival is available at the Cultural Centre, the main venue for many divisions of the festival. Most sessions run morning, afternoon and evening at a ticket cost of $3 each, or $15 for a season pass.

Final Dance Honours Performance for top contenders will be held on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 1:30 p.m., followed by final Music Honours Performance on Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m., both in the main theatre at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

Tickets at the Cultural Centre, 604-391-7469 or www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca. For the full schedule see www.chilliwacklionsclubmusicanddancefestival.com/frames.html or to volunteer call 604-795-9633.