During the summer of 1979, renowned pianist Anton Kuerti organized three concerts by outstanding Canadian musicians. The enthusiastic response to these programs inspired him to propose an annual concert series. In 1985, James Campbell began his tenure as the Festival’s second Artistic Director, a position he still holds with distinction.

Initially held in the gymnasium of the local high school, the Festival has grown from a two-week Festival in one venue with a budget of $60,000 in 1980 to a three-week Festival held in multiple venues in 2019 with a budget of $760,000. 

In 2003, the Festival of the Sound got its home, the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts, on the Georgian Bay waterfront. With a desire to share its love for music with the local community, the Festival launched its innovative and highly successful school music program, Music Scores, in 2005. 

Since 2016, the Festival has annually been named one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals and Events by Festivals and Events Ontario. The Festival of the Sound is proud to have presented an acclaimed world-class chamber music festival on the spectacular Georgian Bay for over forty years. 

Due to the pandemic, programming transitioned to a virtual platform.  In the face of adversity, the Festival adapted and responded creatively to fulfill its mission: to deliver a celebration of classical music for the enrichment of audiences and artists of all ages.

Visit Festival of the Sound

July in January

  • July in January 2023

    Festival of the Sound presents

    Sounding Thunder: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow
    with libretto by Armand Garnet Ruffo

    A musical journey into the life of the renowned Ojibwe WWI sniper and decorated officer of the Canadian military, Francis Pegahmagabow. Composed by Tim Corlis and written by Ojibwe poet Armand Garnet Ruffo, it is a complex work divided into three acts, exploring Pegahmagabow’s early years immersed in the world of the Anishinaabe spirits, his extraordinary accomplishments in the trenches of WWI, and finally his political life as Chief of the Wausauksing Ojibwe and founder of the early Indigenous political movement in Canada.

    Watch Sounding Thunder

  • Sounding Thunder

    The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow

    Scene i – Call to Action
    Scene ii – Spiritual Encounter
    Scene iii – Power

    Scene i – Enlisting
    Scene ii – The Warrior
    Scene iii – Wounded

    Scene i – A Returned Hero
    Scene ii – The Activist
    Scene iii – The Good Fight

    Featured Artists

    Timothy Corlis, composer
    Armand Garnett Ruffo, librettist
    Brian D. McInnes, narrator, cultural consultant
    Jodi Baker Contin, singer, songwriter, actor
    Keenan Keeshig, actor
    Larry Beckwith, conductor, actor
    Mark Fewer, violin
    James Campbell, clarinet
    Christian Sharpe, bassoon
    Beverley Johnston, percussion
    Rachel Thomas, trombone
    Guy Few, trumpet
    Joel Quarrington, double bass
    Gabriel Cropley, stage and lighting designer
    Jennifer Norton and Emile Surett, projection design
    Alanis King, dramaturge

    Sounding Thunder was one of the 200 exceptional projects funded in 2017-18 through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program.