North Hastings Music Festival asks for donation from Tudor and Cashel

At their meeting on March 7, Tudor and Cashel Township council reviewed a letter they received from Jacqueline McLean, recording secretary with the North Hastings Music Festival, requesting a donation to this year’s festival. After discussing it, council decided to defer judgement on a donation until they had a tangible donation policy in place, which council instructed staff to bring forward as soon as possible, at which point they would look at this donation and others again. Gillian Metcalfe, the president of the NHMF further comments on this upcoming event.

McLean’s letter on behalf of the NHMF from Jan. 31 was sent to Nancy Carrol, the clerk and treasurer of Tudor and Cashel. In it, she said that the NHMF was celebrating its 65th year and she asked for the township’s continued support for this community event. After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said that the 2022 festival was a big success and they wanted to build on that momentum. This year, winds and percussion are returning and the amped and mic’d class offerings are expanding. In addition, they have four adjudicators this year to engage, develop and inspire the local musicians from throughout North Hastings. The 2023 adjudicators are; Amanda Brunk (voice), Michael Faulkner (piano), Alanna Jennish (fretted and fretless strings), and Suresh Singaratnam (winds and percussion). Their CVs can be found at

The NHMF is a registered charitable non-profit organization, run by volunteers and supported by local community group, business, and individual donations.

“Without local support to cover adjudicator fees and accommodations, piano tuning and maintenance, cash awards, bursaries, certificates, insurance and custodial fees, the festival would not be feasible. We invite you to support again this year. Your donation in 2022 of $50 was a great help to us,” she said in her letter.

Metcalfe told The Bancroft Times on March 9 that municipalities have generally been quite supportive of the festival, with around five donating each year, although she realizes that they’re accountable to their residents and as such, they appreciate any support they receive.

“Preparations are going well for the upcoming festival. As the festival has evolved over the past 65 years, we’ve worked together to streamline what we can. We’re fortunate that our committee works well together, with each member bringing complimentary skills that help in the coordination of the festival. Publishing the program for festival week is the next task, which can’t be done until after the registration deadline (March 10). Over the past two years, we’ve taken the opportunity to update registration to an online format, which has allowed us to streamline this process,” she says.

Metcalfe says that this year, they’re really looking forward to having a separate section for participants using electronic equipment. She reveals that several years ago, they introduced the “Play and Sing” and “Amped and Mic’d” classes, and that with their growing popularity, it made sense to create a section for them.

One of the highlights of the festival, according to Metcalfe, is the Festival of the Stars, which will happen May 11, the Thursday after festival week.

“While the North Hastings Music Festival is non-competitive, we believe it’s important to recognize the hard work of our participants and there are several awards available. Award participants are selected by the adjudicator for each section and reflect all levels and musical styles represented at the festival. Recipients are invited to perform at the Festival of the Stars and it’s a chance to see and hear the performers who really stood out over the course of the festival,” she says.

Metcalfe says she really enjoys seeing the adjudicators working with the participants, as she always learns things that she can apply herself. She says they are fortunate to have experienced musicians and educators who do a fantastic job of tailoring their feedback to the participants’ skill and comfort level.

While Tudor and Cashel council recognized the overall value of the NHMF during their discussions on March 7, Carrol recalled there was a resident who benefited directly from it last year, and Chadwick put forth a motion (that was defeated) to donate $100 to the NHMF this year, it was ultimately decided by Hederson and the other councillors that a more tangible donation policy should be put into place before they proceed with any donations with the Tudor and Cashel taxpayers’ money. Hederson instructed Carrol to come up with a draft for such a donation policy bylaw and bring it to their next council meeting in April.

Metcalfe says the NHMF is extremely grateful for all the support they’ve gotten throughout the years from the community.

“As a non-profit organization, this festival would not be possible without this generosity. I’d also like to recognize how important our volunteers are. While the committee members work year-round to prepare for the festival, there are also many community members who donate their time annually, to help sessions run smoothly during festival week. The festival is truly a community event and we invite all to be a part of it,” she says. “The public are welcome to attend and support our performers as members of the audience.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times