President's Report 2006 | Community

Memorial helps revitalize Labrador Festival

The Labrador West Music Festival runs from March 8-11.

Western Labrador was literally abuzz with music as more than 750 performers, budding musicians and community groups took part in the newly-revived Labrador West Music Festival — an event that hasn't happened in 25 years.

In fact, the festival probably wouldn't have even gotten off the ground if it weren't for the steadfast support and help of Memorial University, who partnered with the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) to help breath new life in the event after such a long hiatus.

The results were amazing, said an ecstatic Linda Nuotio, manager of Memorial's Labrador Institute offices in Lab West and the key organizer of the festival.

"It has inspired the community to understand the value and importance of music in Labrador West," said Ms. Nuotio, who initiated the idea of the festival and went after sponsors. "It created a synergy between families. It also showed that in Labrador West there is more available than mining. The climate of the community has been altered permanently. This festival will contribute to the development of a new genre of musician in the area."

Over a four-day period — from March 8-11 — performers were totally engrossed in music and music education. The festival, which was billed as a friendly, non-competitive event, concluded with a sold out gala concert, attended by Axel Meisen, president of Memorial.

Three well-known musicians with strong ties to Memorial provided the performers with feedback throughout the festival. Dr. Donald Buell, a professor of trumpet in the School of Music and director of Memorial's Concert Band, Jane Steele, a per course instructor in piano, and Dr. Valerie Long, a graduate of Memorial's School of Music who has taught at the university in the past, were adjudicators.

Ms. Nuotio said Memorial and IOC succeeded in their goals to help bolster a positive feeling in the community, work in partnership with community groups, and to bring the educational experiences and expertise of the university to the community at large.

"It wasn't until the night of the gala that we could see we were truly a part of an enormous event full of magic and music."