The Fredericton Music Festival is celebrating its 70th anniversary over the next two weeks.
Musicians and singers as young as five will perform in churches and school theatres across the city in categories such as junior piano, senior voice and school bands.
"There's something for everyone," including classical, jazz, and folk songs, said festival vice-president Anita Legere, who has been involved for the past seven years.
"It's mainly my nephew [Ryan's] fault," she joked. "I became hooked I guess on it when I saw how much he got out of it."
Ryan Legere, who was "very active in music," has since graduated with a music degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, plays oboe with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, and plays organ and piano in various churches in the Kitchener area, Anita Legere said.
The festival gives youth like him an opportunity to perform for the public and adjudicators, she said.
"A lot of times these children may have only performed for their parents, [or] their grandparents, and so this way they are able to perform in a real venue," she said.
The seven adjudicators, who have come from across the Atlantic provinces, will "tell the child what they've done well, but then also offer suggestions maybe for improvement," said Legere.
It's "amazing" to watch, she said. "You see them grow right before your eyes, it seems, and improve as far as their musical ability is concerned, as far as their performance skills."
"They're also participating in something that's bigger than themselves."
Legere said she enjoys seeing the "little ones" whose feet don't even reach the floor as they play piano and the senior string performers "send goose bumps up your back."
She encourages the public to attend the festival, which continues until April 27.
"It's just so nice to have people sitting in the pews or in the seats while the children are performing. It gives them a boost to have an audience."
Tickets cost only $2, and passes, which include two awards concerts in May, cost $20. Festival programs are available at Tony's Music Box for $10 and the various venues.