In the fall of 1947, with impetus from James Manchip and a financial commitment from the Fredericton Rotary Club, an organizational meeting was held for the first Fredericton Competitive Festival of Music. Members of the Rotary Club formed the nucleus of the first executive. Dr. A.S. MacFarlane became president; Justice W. J. West, vice-president; and James Manchip, executive-director.
The first festival, held April 21-24, 1948, in the auditorium of the Provincial Normal School attracted 448 entries. Organizers were able to cover all the expenses with entry and admission fees, leaving the Rotary donation intact. The long tradition of scholarships given in conjunction with the festival began with a $100 scholarship donated by the Knights of Pythias for the outstanding performer of the first festival.
By 1952 there was such an increase in entrants that it was necessary to hire two full-time adjudicators. By 1954 there were 624 entries; in 1966, 725 entries; in 1981, 780 entries; in 1988, 1524 entries. By 1996, 1735 entries dictated the need for the services of seven adjudicators with sessions being held in six venues and lasting two weeks.
From its inception, the Fredericton Music Festival Committee, composed solely of volunteers, has been responsible for all aspects of the organization and operation of the festival.
National Music Festival - Fredericton Music Festival Representatives
2016 Vivian Ni, strings – 2nd place
2014 Vivian Ni, piano – 3rd place
2014 Vivian Ni, strings – 3rd place
2007 Trio Beausoleil, Chamber Ensemble - 3rd place
Jeremy VanSlyke, Matthieu Deveau and Jaeyoung Chong
2006 Maureen Batt, soprano - 2nd place
1996 Measha Brueggergosman, soprano - 1st place and Grand Award Winner
1993 District 18 Girls’ Choir directed by Dianne Wilkins
1st Place in Dr. & Mrs. JKF English Choral Class
1978 Shari Saunders, soprano – 2nd place
1976 Shari Saunders, soprano – 2nd place
1975 Jonathan Bayley, flute – 1st place
(photo courtesy of Faces of Fredericton - Keith Minchin)