Since its inception, the Oakville Vocal Arts Festival (OVAF) has been dedicated to celebrating the joy of singing. The festival is unique in that participants have their performances adjudicated by world-class professionals; however the focus is on the growth of the individual, not on awards. In this non-competitive environment, I have seen young singers cheered on by other participants when they hit all of their notes and comforted by other participants when their voice cracks or they forget their lyrics. By design, they are inspired to be passionate about their gifts, and to share those gifts with their community.

Perhaps the best testament to the value that OVAF brings to our community is the finale concert and the massed voice choir, made up of all of the festival participants – it is this beautiful opportunity for coming together that embodies the true spirit of community. The organizing committee of OVAF truly represents the best of what our community is, in action and in spirit, and are deserving of this recognition.