Our Volunteer Organizer’s Experience

Last summer I took one of the biggest risks of my young life.  Hungry for a solo summer adventure, I left my job as a teacher in urban Ontario and ended up as a homeless volunteer in the tiny Hamlet of Rosebud, Alberta. In truth I wasn’t really homeless for long, seeing as the community welcomed me with open arms and I soon had a handle of places offering me lodging. As I sized up my surroundings I discovered that Rosebud has some world-class hospitality to offer and some world-famous talent to back it up.

My volunteer mission, the one that I had travelled so far to fulfill, was to help produce the first ever Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, a long-time dream of local violist Keith Hamm. Despite my hours in the office collating music, working out marketing ideas and typing concert programs, I soon realized I was living in a valley that was literally brimming with artistic life. From the picturesque river views, art workshops and galleries, acting intensives and theatre productions, this was a town filled with my kind of people!

Life got even more exciting once the artists arrived and the concerts kicked into gear. Playing to full houses every night, these five young musicians performed with abandon and astonishing synchronicity of sound. If you’ve never experienced intimate chamber music before, this festival will spoil you forever. Seeing the musicians making eye-contact and literally feeding energy to each other is a riveting experience.

So that was last summer, and somehow a year has flown by and we’re approaching the next festival. Come July 28th the magic begins all over again, and you’d better believe that I have my plane ticket booked! It turns out that it wasn’t just me who fell in love with this Alberta valley as each one of our star-studded musicians has agreed to return, guaranteeing a repeat success. This year’s program features exciting works by Mozart, Shostakovich, Liszt and others.

As the great artist Picasso once said, “The purpose of Art is to wash the dust of daily life off of our souls.” If you’re hungry for a refreshing look at life, take the drive out to Rosebud and don’t miss this top-notch festival! Festival details can be found at Rosebudchambermusic.com. See you there!

—Julie Willms

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