TIMMINS -- Every year, people who study music through private lessons in the Timmins area get a chance to have live performances adjudicated during the Porcupine Music Festival. 

It's an annual showcase that's been going on for decades.  However, this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers are hosting a virtual festival for the first time.

“Last year was not virtual. We just highlighted their videos that they sent into us on our social media platforms," said Mary Ellen Pauli, president of the Porcupine Music Festival de Musique.

She said there are more than two-hundred entries to this year's 81st festival.  Vocal, piano, instrument, and string students were all given an opportunity to prepare, record, and submit videos of their pieces to the Festival's organizers.

Long-time festival participant and now piano teacher, Jessica Kim, said some of her students and her sister are taking part.

“We’re still motivated to perform well and to do well because of the e-festival so the majority of students practiced ... to be proud of what you have and what you present to adjudicators," said Kim.

 The submissions will be adjudicated by professional musicians from southern Ontario.  Pauli says the feedback helps students grow.

“It’s important for them to have positive and constructive criticism you know in their studies and especially like I say from an outside professional that isn’t maybe their teacher. It’s just a different slant or a different view on how they’re doing.”

Pauli said the adjudicators also award scholarships to top performers and many of those students will be asked to play in a virtual concert that's happening at the end of June.