Eloise Hobi has some advice for the many around the Cariboo preparing for this year’s Cariboo Festival.
“I’d like to tell them not to be scared, not to hold back, just to let it all out, do their best and not expect that they win immediately,” she told the Tribune. “There are many other kids who are quite talented, but it is not the winning that counts, it is the effort that you put into it.”
It’s wise advice from the 10-year-old singer, who has three concert songs and two musical theatre pieces she is prepping for the arts festival.
Just over two-weeks away, the Cariboo Arts Festival is set to run April 9 to 19 this year. Students, many like Hobi, young and old are practicing their entries in the four-section festival: vocal and choral; speech arts; piano; and band or instrumental
Hobi herself said she has been singing since before she could speak.
“Since I was small, instead of talking I would hum and make mini songs before I could even talk,” she said.
When she moved to the Cariboo about four years ago, she took up singing and competing thanks to her music teacher, Angela Sommer.
“My favourite part is to just sing and to let it out. When I sing I think of music. There is nothing else I really think of,” she said.
Her mother said she gets her talent from her grandfather, a tenor.
Having participated in the festival for three years, Hobi said she enjoys learning new things ever year.
“Don’t force it and take breaths but don’t shout. Stay smooth,” she said. “It’s really surprising how many things you need to do to get better in this hobby.”
She even gave this humble reporter some tips to help with vocals.
“When you breath, you don’t want to breath too loudly or else it won’t go smooth. You want little breaths, but also that you don’t lose your air or else you wont be able to go on singing long words. Also you need to open your moth so the song can come out and the sound.”
In her musical theatre performances, while Hobi warns you need to remember to control your voice — it’s something she’s learned over the years — she has fun using props and costumes to go with her singing.
“I like that I can put expression to the movements and that sometimes in some songs there are breaks where you say some funny things or sad things, and it’s really important that you stay in character that you don’t just start singing one verse and suddenly you are all out of character.”
For her part, Hobi practices every day, often on her drive out towards Lac la Hache, where she lives.
It’s not an unusual statement those practicing for the Cariboo Festival make.
Each entry is given an adjudication by one of the three professionals brought in from out of town to work with the many artists.
This year, Norene Morrow will be adjudicating the vocal, choral and speech arts sections, Alan Crane will be adjudicating the piano section, and Alan Matheson will adjudicate the band and instrumental section.
“There’s always a different adjudicator each year,” said Hobi. “Then you can see how may different opinions from many different people and they have different things to say.”
Winners of the various categories are also invited to attend the provincial arts festival, and observers are invited to attend as well.
While Hobi attended as an observer last year, she does hope to go farther, but she’s also realistic.
“I hope to go this year and if I don’t go this year, I will just keep on trying.”
To find out when Hobi, and other performers, will be onstage, the schedule for the Cariboo Festival is now online at cariboofestival.ca.
The vocal section of the festival will run April 9-11 at the Evangelical Free Church; Speech Arts will run April 12-13 at the Evangelical Free church; Piano will run April 16-17 at the Calvary Church; and the Band/Instrumentals will run April 18-19 at the St. John Lutheran Church.
Hobi said she is looking forward to performing.
“I’m happy that I have an opportunity and I am happy that I have my mom and my singing teacher to support me so much or else I wouldn’t be able to learn,” she said.
“It would be kind of boring, not to have people telling you do this or that. I think it’s very interesting to see what you can do.”