Has your branch had the privilege of hosting a Young Artist Concert?  Has your branch considered hosting a concert but not followed through because you have unanswered questions about what it involves?

The Young Artist Tour, which is sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations, had its beginnings in 1941 when Lyell Gustin (1895-1988), a prominent Saskatoon music teacher, implemented his idea for a concert tour to provide experience for budding young musicians in the West. The CFMTA Young Artist Fund is sustained by a levy of $2.00 per CFMTA member, interest from a bequest by Lyell Gustin, and a $75.00 return from each branch sponsoring a concert. Invariably the touring artist finds the tour an exhilarating and artistically profitable experience. Sponsoring centres find the artists presenting a high standard of performance brimming with youthful freshness. Through the years, many of the Young Artists have entered the field of music as professional performers or have become leading teachers either privately or in music schools and universities. Some of these former Young Artists include: Angela Cheng, Andrew Dawes, Mary Lou Dawes, and Valdine Anderson.

Arranging for a Young Artist Recital is much the same as organizing any other recital except that CFMTA sponsorship means that the cost of transporting the Young Artist to your community, arranging such transportation, and a $200 stipend for the Young Artist is covered by CFMTA. Posters and templates for tickets and programs are also available from CFMTA.

One of the benefits of winning the B.C. Piano Competition is the opportunity to perform in a series of concerts within the province – the Young Artist Tour. Especially in smaller centres, these concerts are a unique opportunity for students and their families as well as the community to hear a polished performance of a full program by the winner of the B.C. Piano Competition. The Host Branch retains the right to tailor the concert for their individual needs, so the length of the concert could be anywhere from 45 -90 minutes. It might feature only the Young Artist, or a number of local students as well. A meet the artist event might follow the concert allowing students to ask questions and be inspired by the achievements of the Young Artist.

These concerts are hosted by interested branches who provide meals and accommodation for the young artist, arrange for the rental of a concert facility, tuning of the piano, rehearsal time for the Young Artist on the concert piano and transporting the young artist to and from the concert hall.

Advertising the concert is also the responsibility of the host branch and again, this can be tailored to suit individual situations. Seeking sponsorship and distributing a percentage of free tickets can be effective means of publicizing the concert. A personal suggestion I would like to make is that branches determine what their costs would be and then ensure those costs are covered either by sponsorship from the wider community, by the purchase of tickets by members of the branch or a combination of the two. So if the cost of hosting a concert were estimated to be $775 then 52 tickets would need to be purchased in advance to ensure that the concert covered its costs (assuming a ticket price of $15).

Ticket pricing, of course, is also set by the host branch in accordance with the charge for similar events in the community.

CFMTA ask that each host branch submit a financial report for the concert along with a cheque for $75.00 (I included this $75 in my estimate above) or 50% of the net profits whichever is higher and a report including comments or concerns regarding the concert to Maureen Hollins.

I cannot speak highly enough of the calibre of performance that has always been exhibited in these Young Artist Concerts.  Audiences generally leave feeling they have experienced something far greater than they had anticipated.  I am very happy to answer any questions a potential host branch may have, as well as give assistance to host branches in arranging a concert.  You can contact me at youngartist@bcrmta.bc.ca