The Early Years

Dufferin Youth Festival of the Arts…
The Early Years

From its earliest days, the Dufferin Youth Festival of the Arts has been about
relationships and meaningful discussions towards enabling good ideas in community.
Individuals linking arms beyond the caps they wear as administrators, principals,
teachers, parents, school council members, students, volunteers, artists, art councils,
congregations and corporations as they explore ways in which the arts can encourage
empathy and respect among the various circles in which we are live and work.
Specifically, the Dufferin Youth Festival of the Arts provides a venue each May in which
the students of each school and school sector in this county, are invited to share what is
creating excitement in the school community they reflect. As students perform in front
of over 200 others students in diverse school sectors, empathy is developed and we
have much to be proud of in this community in this respect.

Discussions began in the fall of 1997 and start up funding was provided through the
Shelburne and Dufferin Arts Council and the Dufferin School Board. Public forums
encouraged a band of volunteers, teachers and administrators involved with the
Dufferin County Music Advocacy Committee, along with Theatre Orangeville, and
Orangeville Baptist so that the OBC congregation opened their doors to host the
inaugural celebration on May 7, May 1998. Thirteen public, two private, and two
separate schools took part. A student from Princess Margaret Public School wrote,

“I thought it was worthwhile to go and spend time with Eric Nagler, Jim Betts and you
wonderful people. I had a fun time and I thought it was successful. One hundred percent
of us students vote that the festival should continue. And I think that the public should be
able to come and watch what schools are doing nowadays. I had a great time.”

Ann McAlpine, at Hyland Heights Elementary School wrote that one student in her HHES
choir said, ‘It made me want to sing a lot more songs.’ Ms. Mc Alpine reported in a
school arts newsletter Music Matters, that HHES students loved preparing for the
Festival and it was great to involve several age groups in a wide variety of artistic
performances. Several grade 6 students wanted to create a dance and many children
expect tot see next year, more bands, more dancing, original songs and costumes. HHES
parents were impressed with the good variety demonstrated and overall, it was an
enjoyable experience.

Martha Rogers wrote in her Director’s Dialogue after the second annual DYFA that the
level of comment of parents, staff and students was instrumental to its success. As the
UGDSB Director of the newly amalgamated Upper Grand District School Board, Ms
Rogers stated that a DFYA highlights video was going to be produced by Reesor Draper
at the Silvercreek Education Centre of the UGDSB that would be offered to all schools
which attended. Several teachers from Princess Elizabeth Public School, Donna Allen, Jill Robinson‐Quill
and Tracy Gray, wrote to thank one and all involved in DYFA May 2000 for PEPS students
had enjoyed their opportunity to perform and were impressed by things other school
In a letter to all teachers attendees attending the DFYA 2000, the planning team of the
DYFA 2000 stated their belief that there is tremendous potential in working towards
cooperation and meaningful partnerships between the stakeholders in education . A
mass choral piece introduced by Joy Bell, was sung to bring closure to the final moments
of the celebration ‐ May 2000

The world is out there waiting. The future’s in our hands
Together we will work for peace. Together we will stand.
Who knows the future? Who knows what song the lark will sing?
The dawn of each new morning can hold most anything.
Look toward the future and what tomorrow brings.

Relationships in Community
DYFA 1997 to 2000

In the fall of 1997 several friends began chatting about band instruments that
were collecting dust at local elementary schools. Some schools didn’t even have
a choir. Brenda Cole’s family was thinking through what arts performance
opportunities were available in Dufferin for students. Val Scorgie was delighted
with her daughter’s experience at Mono and Amaranth PS and wondered what
lay ahead. Wendy Carter was looking forward to being meaningfully involved in
her children’s new school communities at Mono and Amaranth PS and ODSS.

Marilyn Logan had chaired the Dufferin Parent Council for years and invited
discussion about the arts in that forum and Sue Honeyborne who was the DPC
Communication Secretary and newsletter editor, was tracking things with
interest. School councils were exciting places where people were getting
involved with issues around Dufferin School Board of Education’s
amalgamation into the Upper Grand District School Board. Brenda, Val and
Wendy were invited to an arts issue leadership meeting at ODSS to report on a
grass roots arts newsletter from the Dufferin County Music Advocacy
Committee that was to collect stories from all over about arts happenings. The
meeting voiced such divergence of values being placed on the arts voiced, such
discouragement and complexity that at one point Wendy quietly asked Brenda
and Val if they should bother to present at all. Val will always gratefully be
remembered for replying,’ Just do it!’ They left realizing that opinions about the
arts in education and supporting the arts at the secondary school level were far
more interesting than they realized. Yes, the issues facing committed secondary
school music leaders like John Wervers and Doug McIlwain were complex and
daunting. Yet imaginations were caught by what might happen if people met as
community to discuss what was going on in a county where elementary music
specialists had long since been assigned to classrooms.

Community gathered in Doug McIlwain’s band practice room in the fall of 1997:
local politicians, principals, teachers, parents, school council chairperson and
students. Some of those who attended were Marta Good, Dave Mander, Gail
Campbell, Heather Boswell, Mary Runciman, and Trish Symons. Over forty
attended in all and a strong community support for the arts was sensed, but how
could this be focused during the days of unprecedented change and challenge in
our education community as amalgamation was imminent?

Would there be that opportunity available at the last board meeting of the
Dufferin School Board to request that funds be set aside to organize an arts
festival? Superstar community leader, Marilyn Logan, presented the idea of a
festival to the Dufferin Board of Education on December 2nd and the Board
committed 1500 dollars towards bussing and supply teachers expenses to be
forwarded to the Shelburne and Dufferin Arts Council. Marilyn was not only
the Coordinator of Educational Events at Dufferin and Shelburne Arts Council; she was also Chair of the Dufferin Parent Council. Within months,
plans for the first ever DYFA were in place and Marilyn and Wendy coordinated
that first celebration, a morning and afternoon celebration on May 7th emceed by
Jim Betts and Kathy Knights. The educators, schools and volunteers that day
who linked arms on May 7th reflect the amazing people who know the beauty of
the arts in their own days and many are still involved with the DFYA : Joan
Hope, Karen Orme, Laurie Heimbecker, Joan Borden, Lynne Hunt, John
McIntrye, Chris Langman, Donna Jackson, Krystynna Pilch, Elena Oliva,
Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Spiers, Peter Moore, Jim Betts, Mary Runciman, Dave
Mander, Joy Bell, Linda Thompson, Melissa Dobson, Suzee Kennedy,
JoAnne Stone, Trudy Rockel, Kathy Ayliffe, Brandy Robinson, Beryl Taylor,
Ann McAlpine, and Sue Buckle. Our archives reflect advice from arts
advocates such as Gary Cook, Glen Godfrey, and Sharon Kerpan. Mary
Runciman must be mentioned at this point for guiding the efforts and
enthusiasm of DYFA volunteers since its earliest days, in ways that could be
understood by educators. She personally wrote letters of invitation and
orchestrated the first ever e mail festival and DCMAC correspondence. Students
from St Peter CDSB, Springbrook PS and Princess Margaret PS wrote notes
of thanks and the response overwhelmingly affirmed that ‘if we build it, they will
come’. The first festival in May of 1998 was supported by people from all over
this community and enabled through the generosity of the Dufferin Arts
Council, Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville Baptist Church and Dufferin
Music County Advocacy Committee.

DYFA 1998 Co Coordinator Marilyn Logan wrote to the press;
‘Music lives in Dufferin Schools! Over 1000 students, teachers and parents
participated in the first DYFA on May 7. Children from 17 schools sang,
danced, played in bands and displayed their artwork in an atmosphere of
celebration. Each returned home that night feeling very proud to be a part
of something so stimulating. . . .Cathy Knights of Theatre Orangeville
guided us through the afternoon session with enthusiasm and energy and
Joylyn Bell led the mass choral piece. We had harmony – we had descant! .
. . Special thanks go to Joan Hope for coordinating the Arts Show. The
children were the big winners in all of this. Their teachers were most
encouraged by the community support and gave above and beyond to
allow their students the opportunity to participate. Thank you for making it
happen! The bottom line was – it has to happen again. Marilyn Logan and
Wendy Carter, organizers of this year’s event, will be around next year to
see that it does.’

May 1999 – May 5 & 6 – The second celebration included even more Dufferin
educators and volunteers : Danny Fredenburgh, Susan Gardhouse, Andrea
Parsons, Brenda Warder, Sue Trowbridge, Lisa Longstreet, Wanda White,
Ryan Grist, Sharon Bonikowski, Jane Hunt, Cathy Fredenburgh, Susan
Gardhouse, Andrea Parson, Brenda Warder, Sue Trowbridge, Lisa Longstreet, Ryan Grist, Sharon Bonikowski, Janet Hunter, Kathy Wray, Pat
Hanna, Wanda Oosterman, Donna Jackson, Jerri Maine-Willis, Julie
Bannon, Penny Squirrel, Jill Robinson-Quinn, Tracy Gray, Maureen Mellor,
and Lynne Hunt.

Committed people in this education community continued to talk face to face over
amalgamation issues in UGDSB Board strategic planning meetings, provincial
school council sessions, county wide council forums, and local school council
settings. Conversations revealed individuals’ hearts in the matter. Martha
Rogers, Director of the Upper Grand District School Board has personally
attended each year since that time and brought along Board chairpersons.
People committed to excellence in education met other people across county
divisions and stories were shared. Principal of Aberfoyle PS, Judy Massey,
brought her incredible drumming circle in the second year of the festival and
Mary Runciman, as a teacher at Mono and Amaranth PS was intrigued and
pursued the idea with her students. Yes, arts ideas were being shared amongst
educators in days when arts inservices were few and far between. Today,
drumming circles are one of the most exciting and innovative arts ideas for any
teacher as it can prove the power and value of the arts, and be taught by any
educator. No formal music experience is required.

Joan Borden from Laurel woods ES wrote
“The Laurelwoods Ukulele Band
was very excited to make its début at the ’99 Festival of the Arts in May. It’s
amazing how many songs you can play using just a few chords. . . Special
thanks to Beth Salisbury for her on going support of the ukulele
programme and to Joy Bell for graciously agreeing to provide piano
accompaniment for our band. The Festival provides a wonderful
opportunity for so many students to share in and enjoy the creative talents
of this family of schools.’

DYFA 1999 Planning Team
School Hosts Val Scorgie, Mary White, Sharon Resse, Wanda Oosterman,
Marilyn McCaldon, Joy Bell, Gary Vipond, Jim Dow & Nancy Rusak
School Host Coordinator Maryan Angus
Program Design Joy Bell
Guest Services Val Scorgie, Mary White, Gwen Holland
Stage Manger Marilyn Logan
Press Release & Communications Sue Honeyborne
Visual Arts Coordinator Carol Bryan
Video Taping & Production Gary Vipond, Reesor Draper, Simon Leibovitz
Sound Technician Oscar Van Binsbergen

The political realities of those years motivated Wendy Carter to attend
community forums concerning budget cuts and state
We invite everyone who loves music and believes in its essential role in education to join us. We
are not asking what the Board of Education can do for us. We are asking
what we can do together as community partners in education to strengthen
music programs in Dufferin Schools.’

DYFA May 2000 May 10 and 11 – The programme states that ‘The third annual
DYFA draws on the same magic, the same inspiration and the same
grassroots commitment that is nourishing the growing enthusiasm for the
arts in Dufferin area schools.’

DYFA 2000 – May 10 and 11
Festival Coordinators – Wendy Ruth Carter & Marilyn Logan
Music Advisor Joylyn Bell
Master of Ceremonies Jim Betts
Visual Arts Coordinator Sandy Harron Shelburne Arts Studio
Photography ODSS Students C. Hailstone & B. Allin
Sound Eric Nagler
Video Production Reesor Draper UGDSB
East Garafraxa DPS – “What a wonderful experience. . .the participants
were all very well prepared by their teachers and directors, respectful and
courteous to each others school and proud of their contributions
”. East
Garafraxa student – “I wish that everybody in our school could have been
in the festival because it is so good and fun
A student from Princess Margaret PS wrote – ‘Thank you for letting us stay
for the whole day. . .Three things I like about band is our conductor Mrs.
Heimbecker, our instruments and how much fun we have. The instrument I
play is the trumpet and I love the sound of it. The other conductor is Mrs.
Orme. I think our conductors are fun and they are the best. Thank you so
much for everything