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Rules and Regulations

The following rules apply to all disciplines in the Niagara Festival of Performing Arts.




1. The competitor's age is as of December 31, 2023.

2. All entries must be received by January 31, 2024.  Late entries will be subject to a $25.00 late fee until February 10, 2024.  Changes to entries will only be allowed until February 10, 2024 with a fee of $10.00.

3. Competitors must enter at the same grade level for their discipline.  Competitors cannot compete in two different grade or age levels.

4. Competitors in all classes will declare their selections on their entry forms.

5. Competitors must be amateurs.  Performers who are paid to perform, perform in a professional show or who are members of ACTRA or Equity  are not allowed to compete in the festival for the same year they are  members.

6 . Deportment and appearance are important to a polished performance.  Footwear and suitable stage attire should be worn.  

7.  A selection may be used in one class only at the festival and cannot be re-used in future years in the festival excluding the Open Musical Theatre class.

8. Original scores, books and/or music are to be given to the Festival Secretary for the Adjudicator.  Receipts for digital copies must be provided showing payment – digital title pages are not receipts.

9.  Competitors do not announce their name or selection when performing in musical theatre.  For all other disciplines, competitors can announce their selection if they wish.

10. The Niagara Festival of Performing Arts does not provide refunds FOR ANY REASON including inclement weather. The festival will proceed and will not cancel.



Classical Voice

  1. Please read the specific rules for each class.

  2. Songs may be transposed to suit the entrants voice within reason.

  3. Singers should perform at the graded level they are currently studying at.

  4. Singers may introduce their song(s) and composer(s).

  5. All selections should be sung from memory.

  6. All selections should be sung with acoustic piano accompaniment.


Popular Voice

  1. Singers must sing a popular voice selection in one of the following genres: pop, pop folk,R & B, soul, rock, alternative, indie, jazz or country.  Selections should be covers from commercial artists in these genres.  Selections from Musical Theatre (both staged and non-staged), cabaret, revues and stand-alone songs in musical theatre style are not allowed.  Rap and Hip Hop are not allowed.  Selections from Conservatory Canada Contemporary Idioms Voice lists and the RCM List C  (Levels 1- 6 ) and RCM List D (Levels 7 – 10) are eligible excluding musical theatre and operetta. Age-appropriate repertoire and suitable lyrics/offensive language must be taken into consideration when choosing selections that are suiable for all audiences.  All selections must be sung from memory.   

  2.  Accompaniment can be acoustic piano, instrumental backtracks without vocal background tracks, guitar or ukulele .  Self-accompaniment is allowed.  Entrants must supply their own sound source.

  3. If an original copy of the music is not obtainable, competitors must provide lyrics for the adjudicator and purchase the music on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc and provide a receipt.

Musical Theatre

  1. Costumes may be worn in musical theatre, but are not taken into consideration in the adjudication.  Costume changes in concert classes should be added into the total time allotment.

  2. Only 2 hand help props may be used in musical theatre. A chair will be provided at the venue if needed.

  3. Songs may be transposed to suit the entrants voice within reason.

  4. No cuts are allowed in vocal sections of the songs – only instrumental cuts (eg extended piano interludes) are allowed if necessary and repeats should not be observed.  Additional music should not be added for dance breaks.

  5. Junior or simplified versions of musical theatre selections are not allowed.

  6. Please see specific rules for 'Songs from the Screen and More' category in the Musical Theatre Syllabus.

  7. Age-appropriate repertoire and suitable lyrics/offensive language should be taken into consideration when choosing selections.

  8. All selections must be sung from memory.   

  9. All selections should be sung with acoustic piano accompaniment.


Classical Piano

  1. Please read the specific rules for each class.

  2. Pianists should perform at the graded level they are currently studying.

  3. Selections should be played from memory.

  4. Pianists may introduce their selection and composer.

  5. Associate/Diploma classes are for pianists who are currently working at the ARCT level.  After two years of study, competitors should enter the Open level class.


Popular Piano

  1. Competitors must play selections in the Popular piano idiom.  No classical music is allowed.  Popular selections such as pop, rock, soul, jazz, country, ragtime, R & B, alternative, indie, etc and covers from commercial artists may be chosen as well as from the RCM Popular Piano syllabus or from the CC Contemporary Idioms Piano Syllabus for all levels.  Selections from the Classical RCM or CC syllabi are not allowed.  Selections should be played from memory.

  2. If playing an original composition, the score must be provided to the adjudicator.




  1. Scholarship recipients will be chosen at the Adjudicator's discretion. Each scholarship has specific requirements as to age, residency, class entered and may change year to year.  Competitors MUST enter a minimum of 2 classes to be eligible to qualify for a scholarship.  

  2. Scholarship winners and their teachers will be notified by email.  

  3. Scholarship winners may or may not be chosen by the Adjudicator to perform on the Gala concert.

  4. Scholarship winners will receive their awards either by cheque or e-transfer.

  5. The Overall Scholarship in Musical Theatre can only be awarded twice consecutively to the same competitor.  If the same competitor gets recommended for a third time, they will be awarded the 'Most Distinguished Artist/Performer' scholarship.


OMFA Provincial Finals


  1. The Adjudicator can recommend up to 3 competitors per level/age category/class to the Provincial Music Festival. Recommended competitors must accept their first festival recommendation.

  2. Recommended competitors will be informed by email  immediately following The Niagara Festival of Performing Arts and must accept or reject their recommendation within TWO (2) days of notification.   Competitors are responsible to read the rules on the OMFA website for their recommended discipline/level to make sure they are entering the correct selections, pay their own entry fee and provide their own accompanist if needed. Recommended competitors must submit their entry form and fees by May 1, 2024, 9:00 p.m. online to the OMFA website.

  3. The OMFA Provincial Finals will be held in  Oakville and Burlington, June 10 - 15, 2024.




  1. A listing of classes and competitors will be posted on the website by March 1, 2024 as a digital program for download.

  2. Competitors may be required to certify that the festival rules have been followed. If an infringement occurs, adjudication may be given, but no mark will be awarded.

  3. The minimum mark to win a scholarship and to be recommended to the OMFA Provincial Music Festival is 85 in competitive classes. 

  4. All competitors will receive the Adjudicator's written comments.

  5. Adjudicating will be by a qualified Adjudicator in each discipline and all decisions made will be final. Criteria for judging/adjudicating will be for overall artistry but other things that will be considered are musicianship, musicality and expression, choice of repertoire, communication, presentation and attire. In Classical Voice, Musical Theatre and Speech Arts, voice quality, diction, characterization and acting will also be taken into consideration.

  6. No participant or their parents may approach or contact the Adjudicator. This may result in disqualification.   Any questions from a participant or their family must be directed to the Festival Coordinator or Welcome Desk Volunteer.

  7. No video or audio recording of the Adjudicator’s comments is allowed.

  8. No coaching from audience members is allowed.  

  9. The Adjudicator's decisions are final. 

Sheet Music
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