Our Story

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For our story in detail please click on these archive pages:

You may be wondering how an arts celebration of this size, diversity and scope came to be and there have been times when we have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the response from our community.

A little over seventeen years ago, an idea began to be talked up in Dufferin. . .

An idea whose time was right. . .

Rather than expect any one stakeholder to education to provide such a celebration for so many children, indeed, rather than ask that a school board, principals, or teachers alone organize such a venture, the time seemed to be right to see if our communities, our parents and our school councils could organize a festival and then ask for a school’s participation.

Our story is that of being blessed by volunteers who caught the vision and helped us make it happen. . . volunteers who have supported us through to this day.

With pleasure we are able to advise you that plans for the next years Dufferin Youth Festival of the Arts are underway. The event is planned for the first full week of May to be held at Compass Community Church.

. . .it was a very good year. . .

The DYFA began as a conversation between neighbour in 1997 about band instruments that were collecting dust at a local elementary school.

Part of the dilemma was the fact that music and art teachers were feeling demoralized by cuts to programs and profiles. A music festival had not been held in Dufferin for over 10 years. After a ‘possibility thinking community forum’ we realized that there was indeed a place for parents to bring some excitement and meaningful energy to arts advocacy: The Dufferin Youth Festival of the Arts (DYFA), The Dufferin County Music Advocacy Committee (DCMAC) and a newsletter ‘Music Matters in Dufferin’.

‘If we build it, they will come.’ Could we include students in a non-competitive venue, from private, public and separate school circles over the elementary and secondary school levels? Yes! The teachers, principals and administrators of Dufferin share a special place in this unique and powerful story of bringing energy and opportunity to the students of Dufferin. The DYFA is about people assessing needs sensitively, suggesting appropriate support strategies and making these good ideas happen. This festival of music, dance, drama and visual arts was welcomed by teachers who were willing to give it a try. Principals let us all give it our best shot. Personal determination still makes a difference in the education of our children, even during days of phenomenal change and challenge.

Dufferin pulled together as a community. The Dufferin School board, at its last business meeting before amalgamation with the Upper Grand School Board, designated funds to fund the first year, through a presentation given by the Marilyn Logan. The Dufferin Arts Council, Theatre Orangeville and the DCMAC caught the vision. Compass Community Church partnered to provide the best acoustics of any 750 person capacity facility in the county, a top notch sound technician team and space for the visual arts display over a three morning commitment. As a community, a team of volunteers rolled up their sleeves to make it happen and a corporate sponsor, Carter & Associates Law Firm came on board.

To everything there is a season… and a time to gather highlights about the arts in Dufferin schools was realized. With each edition, ‘Arts Matters in Dufferin’ passes along student submissions, teacher’s remarks, and parents’ enthusiasm to the people who love to go the extra mile to encourage excellence in the arts.