Administrative History: Prior to 1947, it was customary for choirs and individual music students to travel to Saint John, N.B. to compete in the New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music. 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 almost three weeks, including Saturdays and Sundays.
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.
On Feb. 15, 1997, the Fredericton Music Festival celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a gala evening of entertainment and dinner. Many former stars of the festival returned to perform for this occasion. The evening also paid tribute to James Manchip as founder and long time organizer of the music festival.
Custodial history: Throughout its history, members of the Fredericton Music Festival Committee compiled an annual scrapbook. The scrapbooks remained in private hands, moving from member to member, until Louise Mason became the archivist for the Committee and approached the UNB Archives in 1997 to donate the scrapbook collection. In December 1998, minutes, programs and syllabi held by executive members of the Festival Committee were added to the archives. In February 2000, financial records, which had remained in private hands, were deposited with the UNB Archives. In 2004, Louise Mason was replaced by Margaret Savidge as archivist for the Committee.
Scope and content: This fonds consists of minutes, financial records, scrapbooks, programs, syllabi, correspondence, slides, videotapes and DVDs documenting the activities of both the Music Festival Committee and the festival it oversaw, 1948-2010.
The fonds is divided into seven series:
l. Minutes from the Music
Festival Committee, 1948-2007
2. Correspondence, 1982-1985; 2000-2005
3. Fredericton Music Festival Scrapbooks, 1948-2010
4. Federation of Canadian Music Festivals Digest Reports, Provincial Music Festival
Programs and National Music Festival Syllabi, 1979-1993; 2000-2010
5. Programs and Syllabi for the Fredericton Music Festival, 1948-2010
6. Audio-visual materials, [1997?]-2010
7. Financial Records, 1969-1999
Title: Title is based on content of the fonds.
Physical Description: Fonds includes 90 b&w slides, 13 videotapes and 17 DVDs.
Immediate source of acquisition: Louise Mason, the Music Festival Committee Archivist, has made ongoing deposits with the UNB Archives beginning with the scrapbook collection on June 25, 1997. Annual accruals of scrapbooks and videotapes are anticipated. See donor file for details of donations.
Restriction on Access: Committee Minutes and Financial Records in Series 1 and Series 7 respectively are accessible only with permission of the Music Festival Committee President or Archivist.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction: The scrapbooks contain many inserts and the paper is generally fragile. Reproduction of material from the scrapbooks is very limited to prevent damage.
The Fredericton Music Festival Committee retains the right to temporarily borrow one or more scrapbooks for display purposes, with permission of the Music Festival Committee President or Archivist.
General: Two miscellaneous items are found at the end of the fonds in Box 9: (1) Biographical material on Joyce Belyea, who left a significant bequest to the festival in 2007 and (2) Festivals: A History of Competitive Music Festivals in New Brunswick, 1935-2007 by E. Gail Carleton.