Who started Westben Arts Festival Theatre?
Soprano Donna Bennett and pianist/composer Brian Finley (please see Artists Bios) returned from Europe where they were pursuing their musical careers to Donna’s hometown of Campbellford, Ontario to start a family.
The idea for a permanent venue for a classical musical festival evolved after performing and hosting events at local venues. They also began teaching advanced level music students and leading the music program at St. John’s United Church in Campbellford.
The success of Jesus Christ Superstar, a fully-staged community event, galvanized local support for a permanent performance organization. In 1999, The Westben Arts Festival Theatre was formed as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating, enriching and integrating professionals and amateurs in musical projects and educational activities. Run by a Board of Directors, Westben received its charitable status in 2000.
Who is the Artistic Director?
Brian Finley, pianist and composer, is the Artistic and Managing Director as well as one of the founders of the Westben Arts Festival Theatre.
Trained at the University of Toronto, Mr. Finley holds Bachelor's, Masters' and ARCT degrees in Piano Performance with postgraduate studies at Banff Centre, Victoria International Festival and with Maria Curcio in London, England.
He has performed with orchestras including the Dallas Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic, and at the Olympic Music Festival in Washington, The Wigmore Hall in London, England and the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Recordings include a collection of solo piano music from Wigmore Hall, in addition to many for the CBC and CFMX, and three critically acclaimed CD's with soprano Donna Bennett.
His compositions have been published by Boosey & Hawkes and range from solo piano music to songs, choral works and arrangements for full symphony orchestra. Larger projects include Requiem for a Millennium, the opera-musical SAMSON and a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and the Rap/Opera/ Muiscal RAPUNZEL. He is currently at work on a new Christmas Musical with Michael Nitsch called The Magic Ornament to be presented in November 2008 at The Barn (please see Artists Bios).
What type of music can I hear at Westben?
While Westben is primarily a classical music festival: instrumental and vocal; lieder to full opera; soloists to full orchestra and chorus, we do have a lighter side, with classics from the Broadway stage and jazz clubs. Westben also premieres new works.
“Concerts at The Barn” refers to our professional concerts located at The Barn, Campbellford.
Our summer festival funs from late June through to the August long weekend. Our Gala Weekend opens the new season with full Orchestral concerts and Champagne Reception on the first day. There are over 40 events including matinee and evening concerts offering chamber, choral and band music, with repertoire ranging from Bach to Broadway and world Jazz.
Earlier in June, Voices of Spring is reserved for emerging performers and original opera-musicals and community productions.
In September the annual Fund Raiser, A Taste of Westben offers an afternoon of music, wine, gourmet delights, silent auction, fine art display and intervews of several concerts.
At Christmas, The Barn presents a seasonal celebration, which has included choral, brass concerts and community musicals.
Other events include educational initiatives such as in-school presentations, master classes. Our 45-member Westben Festival Chorus and Westben Youth and Teen choruses perform at The Barn and various other venues throughout the year, again with classic and modern repertoire.
For more information on past seasons please see our History page.
What is the main venue? or Is it really a barn?
Yes Westben’s main venue is a barn and although we are in the midst of farming country, you won’t see a barn like it.
Westben’s Barn is a purpose-built concert facility designed to optimize sound while allowing patrons to enjoy the natural atmosphere.
Where is Westben located?
The Westben Arts Festival Theatre operates a year round box office and administration office at 87 Bridge St. East, Campbellford, Ontario.
Our main venue, The Barn, is located on County Road 30 North, 3 km outside of Campbellford. (See Detailed Map)
What is the price range for tickets?
For our regular Concerts at The Barn tickets range from $32 to $50 for adults, $15 for students and $5 for Youth 18 & under. Meadow Passes our available to most of the concerts. Ask about our Buy More Save More Subscriptions and Seniors Rates. Groups Rates are available for 10 or more.
When does the Festival run?
Westben has events in all four seasons of the year.
How long has the Festival been running?
The first year for Concerts at The Barn was 2000.