The best in their field
Selected by the respective Festival Chair, these individuals evaluate, encourage, enhance and broaden the musicality of each group and every individual participating in the national festival. These people are the foremost in their fields, and represent the highest standards of their profession, be it in a classroom setting or on a performance stage.
A native of Odessa, Ukraine, Mark Skazinetsky is Associate Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Upon completing his music education at the State Conservatory of Odessa, he was awarded a degree with honours in all four qualifications of performer, teacher, chamber instrumentalist, and orchestral player. At age 15, he won first prize in the Ukrainian Competition for Young Talents and subsequently performed the Bruch G Minor Violin Concerto with the Odessa State Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1979, he immigrated to Canada and was immediately appointed Assistant Concertmaster with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and Stratford’s Chamber Ensemble. A year later, he joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Skazinetsky is a prominent chamber musician and can be heard frequently on CBC Radio and in recital halls throughout the country. He is a founding member of the Maple Trio and The Moveable Feast, the latter with which he has recorded a CD with flautist Susan Hoeppner. He was also among a group of musicians that Glenn Gould chose for his last recording and conducting début (Wagner: Siegfried Idyll; Sony Classical). More recent engagements have included performances in Italy, both in recital and as soloist with the Orchestra Sinfonica della Provincia di Bari. He is currently on staff at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, and as well with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
Mr. Skazinetsky is also actively pursuing a conducting career. Since his conducting début with a University of Toronto ensemble in Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat, Mark Skazinetsky has been appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Huronia Symphony Orchestra and has conducted orchestras such as the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Toronto Festive Orchestra, I Virtuosi di Toronto (at its inaugural concert), New Hamilton Orchestra for two consecutive seasons, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and at the Northern Lights Music Festival in Ajijic, Mexico.
Sponsored by: Thomastik-Infeld Vienna
Moeen Hosain has been involved in the many facets of the music industry and music education for over 20 years. He is a sought after as a Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble clinician in Quebec. The Bands he has worked with have gone on to become awarding winning ensembles at Musicfest Canada and Festival Des Harmonies de Sherbrooke.
Also in the Drum and Bugle Community, he has been a Music and Brass Coordinator since 1995 working with a great number of corps in the US and Canada (3rd Regiment-Ste-Eustache 1995-98 (Winner of the Spirit of Disney Award), Syracuse Brigadiers, Syracuse New York 1998-99 (Winner of the World Championship 1999) to and presently he is working the Diplomates de Quebec.
He has also worked in for the Canadian Armed Forces as a Brass Instructor at CFB Borden, Ontario (1991-92).
Presently Moeen Hosain is on the Board of the NSMEAC (Nova Scotia Music Educators Association Conference)
Presently Moeen Hosain is the District Manager for Canada for Conn-Selmer Musical Instruments.
- Montreal QC
Finnish soprano Essi Wuorela began her career in 1994 with a solo-cd that was widely acclaimed and sold gold in it’s first year.
Following this strong debut, she worked as a solo artist for 3 years, touring Finland, performing in a several television music programs and galas. She hosted two television programs, and worked as a freelance musician for various recording projects including collaborations with Heikki Sarmanto and the Tapiola Chamber orchestra, Oulu Symphony orchestra, Lahti Symphony orchestra, Helsinki City Symphony orchestra, Proton String Quartet and several pop & rock bands in their recordings and background vocals for many albums.
In 1999, Ms. Wuorela graduated from the Pop&Jazz Conservatory, Helsinki, Finland as a certified music teacher. Today, she maintains a small private voice studio and works as a clinician for voice and choir workshops internationally.
As a collaborative artist, Ms. Wuorela has been a member of the internationally renowned vocal ensemble, Rajaton for the past 20 year. Rajaton has toured extensively, visiting festivals and concert halls all over the world. The group has recorded 18 albums to great acclaim on the world stage. In addition to their accapella repertoire, they have enjoyed collaborations with major Symphony orchestras worldwide with Abba, Queen and Beatles programs.
Ms. Wuorela is also a member of the EVA trio. This Finnish folk-fusion ensemble (voice, cello and kantele) has just released a new EP in anticipation of their upcoming Canadian Tour.Ms. Wuorela has also served as editor for a children’s song album published by Otava Publishing House (Helsinki) created in conjunction with a Rajaton recording, which highlighted many of the songs found in the songbook.
Sponsored by: Ellison Travel & Tours
Dr. Karen Gustafson
Dr. Karen Gustafson is Music Instructor at Red Deer College in Red Deer, Alberta where she teaches trumpet and conducts the Symphonic Winds. She is an internationally known trumpet performer and ensemble conductor/clinician. She has performed worldwide from Italy to Malaysia to Australia and across the Americas as a trumpet soloist and with the Borealis Brass as well as with orchestras and wind ensembles. Currently she is Principal Trumpet and Guest Conductor with Opera Fairbanks (Fairbanks, Alaska.) Dr. Gustafson has conducted brass ensembles, bands, and orchestras in Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, and USA at festivals and in workshops. In 2014 and 2015 she was an adjudicator for both bands and orchestras at MusicFest Canada, held in Vancouver and Toronto respectively, and in 2016 at the International Trumpet Guild as Solo Competition Adjudicator in Los Angeles, Adjudicator at the National Trumpet Competition (USA,) and several other music festivals in Canada and the USA.
Performance credits include performing at the International Alliance of Women in Music, with the Bach Chamber Players of St. Paul (Minnesota), the Minnesota Orchestra, Windsor Symphony, Phantom of the Opera Orchestra (Toronto), Enid Symphony (Oklahoma), Niagara Symphony, and the Shaw Festival Orchestra. Dr. Gustafson has also performed at the UNESCO World Forum on Music (Los Angeles), the International Women’s Brass Conference, the World Saxophone Congress, and the International Trumpet Guild Conference. She is heard on NPR’s ‘Intermissions’ as well as PBS and CBC Radio Canada. She has been guest soloist with several bands and orchestras in the United States and Canada and has given solo recitals in Alaska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Ontario, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. She is heard on the Borealis Brass CD Roman Holidays (2010) and “Pacific Crossings” which will be released in 2017.
Dr. Gustafson has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Trumpet Performance and Wind Band Conducting from the University of Minnesota where she studied trumpet with David Baldwin and wind band conducting with Craig Kirchhoff and Jerry Luckhardt, a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University (Illinois,) a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria (B.C.) and a diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) Orchestral Training Program.
Red Deer AB
Colin Clarke remains active through his work as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator and composer/arranger. A recipient of the Clifford Evans Award for Conducting, Colin’s credits include collaboration with groups such as the United States Air Force Band of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, Orchestra London Canada, the New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia, Bulgaria, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Ballet Jörgen, trumpet virtuoso Allan Vizzutti, the Canadian Brass and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the official fanfare ensemble for the President of the United States. Colin is best known for his work with the multi-award winning Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, a group he started as a high school student. For two decades this ensemble has earned a reputation nationwide as one of the leading performance ensembles of its kind in Canada. Under Colin’s baton, the Wind Orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2006, and returned this past spring for another performance at New York’s famed concert hall to mark its 20th anniversary. Most recently, Colin was appointed Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
With a passion for music education and outreach, Colin maintains a commitment to working with young people and the community. He has conducted several all-city bands, orchestras and choirs across Ontario, and has lead the Provincial Honour Bands of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. In the spring of 2008 he served as conductor of the prestigious National Youth Band of Canada.
Michele Jacot is a musician with an active schedule of performing, conducting, adjudicating, teaching and concert production.
Besides being in demand for her skills as a clarinetist, she is equally at home as a saxophonist and flutist, and is often featured as a soloist or ensemble performer on all her instruments. She has played with symphony orchestras and opera companies across Ontario, as well as in theatre pit orchestras including Mirvish Productions, the Shaw Festival, and in many chamber ensembles.Michele was extremely honoured to be the Associate Conductor for Canadian musical icon, Howard Cable, and appeared as guest conductor of the Sudbury Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia.
In addition, Michele is a dedicated teacher and is in demand from the elementary to the post-secondary level. She maintains a busy timetable teaching privately, presenting workshops, adjudicating, and designing and leading instructional woodwind clinics for school music teachers. Michele was also an itinerant music instructor for the Toronto District School Board for seven seasons, specializing in beginning band.
Born and raised in Toronto, Michele holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto and a Master of Music in Performance from Northwestern University in Chicago.
Lance Ouellette is currently the Associate Concertmaster for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. While attending the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University, Lance received the top awards at the national finals of the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals and the Canadian Music Competition.
As an educator, Lance is teaches violin for the University of Waterloo, is an orchestral coach for the KWS youth orchestra program, teaches privately, and has adjudicated across Canada for the FCMF and CMC.
Career highlights include tours of Canada, Europe, Asia, and Carnegie Hall.
Lance is an avid angler who also enjoys golfing, table tennis, and everything outdoors.
Peter Tombler retired from teaching in 2015, after a thirty-five year career with the Toronto District School Board. He spent his last ten years as the Head of Performing Arts at Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute in southeast Scarborough. Mr. Tombler continues a long career as trombonist, performing regularly throughout the city. He was a member of the Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra for 28 years. Mr. Tombler enjoys work as a clinician and adjudicator throughout southern Ontario. He spends his time composing and arranging music and has a woodworking shop where he makes conducting batons.
Mr. Trembath studied with Jack Kirstein of the LaSalle Quartet and Peter Howard of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Since graduating from the University of Cincinnati, he has served as principal and assistant principal cellist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, principal cello with the Kingston Symphony, Toronto Pops and the Phantom of the Opera orchestra. Mr. Trembath also performed with many orchestras across Canada including the Hamilton Philharmonic, National Ballet, Canadian Opera, Symphony Nova Scotia and as featured soloist with the Huronia Symphony, Scarborough Philharmonic and the Trinity Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Trembath can also be heard on recordings with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Canadian cast recording of the Phantom of the Opera.
He currently free-lances in the GTA, performs chamber music with Trio Bravo and is principal cello of both Huronia Symphony and Etobicoke Philharmonic.Mr. Trembath has served musicians in various non-performance capacities including Chairman of Organization of Canadian Symphonic Musicians, OCSM Director of Symphonic Services Division SSD and as President and chief negotiator of AFM Local 149.
Mr. Trembath taught for the Toronto District School Board and Havergal College. He has recently retired from National Music Camp of Canada.
Angela Rudden received a B. Mus in Kingston Ontario and went on to complete her Masters in Viola Performance in Munich. While in Germany Angela played regularly with the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Tibor Varga Chamber Orchestra as well as both the München and the Kölner Chamber Orchestras.
She has performed both as soloist and as chamber musician throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan.
Angela is currently Principal Viola of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, where she often appears regularly as a soloist at the Four Seasons Centre and most recently at the National Arts Centre. She has also played in the Canadian Opera Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, the Toronto Symphony, Esprit Orchestra and Aradia Ensemble.
Angela is a viola coach at Cardinal Carter Performance High School, as well a violin/viola teacher at Dixon Hall Music School. She has been playing and coaching chamber music in Prince Edward County at Music at Port Milford Chamber Music Camp and Festival for the past 20 some years.
A widely respected brass musician, Brian holds a master’s degree in jazz performance from the University of Toronto, and has played trumpet and flugelhorn with top domestic and international jazz artists, including the Kirk MacDonald Jazz Orchestra, Barbra Streisand, and Aretha Franklin. He is equally well known for his work with classical ensembles such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and True North Brass. He has extensive experience as a pit musician and was a member of the Shaw Festival Orchestra from 2013 to 2016. Brian is also in demand as a clinician and adjudicator at colleges, universities, and music festivals.
Sponsored by: Humber College
Trombonist, composer and arranger Kelsley Grant received his Bachelor of Music from McGill University and completed his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music.
Shortly after leaving New York, he joined Maynard Fergusonʼs Big Bop Nouveau and toured the United States, Germany, Switzerland and England. Kelsley has performed with Aretha Franklin, Jackie Richardson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Michael Buble, Maria Schneider, Michel Legrand, Nicholas Payton, Sophie Milman, Ranee Lee, and Nikki Yanofsky. He toured with Forever Swing and took part in the Toronto productions of Annie, Romancing The One I Love, Ainʼt Misbehavinʼ, The Rat Pack, Kinky Boots, Matilda, and Beautiful -The Carol King Musical. He has played on several movie soundtracks including Born to Be Blue, Cirque de Soleil – Alegria, and Les Triplettes de Belleville. Kelsley has been twice nominated for trombonist of the year by the National Jazz Awards. The Jefferson-Grant Quintet won an Opus Award for their first recording and was nominated as Acoustic Ensemble of the Year by the National Jazz Awards.
Kelsley has served as a faculty member at McGill University, University of Montreal, and University of Toronto. He has given master classes and clinics at universities across Canada and is currently a full-time faculty member at Humber College.
Sponsored by Humber College
Drummer-composer Ernesto Cervini is making a name for himself as a consummate bandleader and in-demand collaborator, praised for his deep musicality and infectious energy. Downbeat described his fluid style as one that “exemplifies ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’.” Modern Drummer said: “Cervini recalls such old-schoolers as Art Blakey and Billy Higgins… It’s his robust, magnetic personality that fascinates consistently.” After releasing three quartet discs, Cervini made his latest venture a sextet album, with Turboprop released by Anzic Records in 2014. The Ottawa Citizen said: “With his fourth disc, Cervini has strikingly raised his game… With its fetching writing for horns, palpable sense of team spirit, highly focused solos and varied emotional depths, Turboprop is full of jazz pleasures.” He is also a member of Myriad3, alongside keyboardist Chris Donnelly and bassist Dan Fortin. JazzTimes called the collaborative trio “Canada’s answer to groups such as The Bad Plus and E.S.T, bearing a similar open-minded perspective and unpredictability.” Myriad3’s second album, The Where, was nominated for a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy); and the band was also nominated for an Indie Music Award (presented by Sirius/XM Radio) for 2014 Jazz Group of the Year in Canada.
Sponsored by: Ludwig
Dr. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor
Brainerd Blyden-Taylor is the Founder, Artistic Director and conductor of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canada’s first professional chamber choir dedicated to the creation and performance of Afrocentric music of all styles. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, Mr. Blyden-Taylor immigrated to Canada in 1973. He founded The Chorale in 1998, in response to a musical void in Canada; there had never before been a professional ensemble dedicated to the dissemination of Afrocentric choral music. The response that The Chorale has received in Canada and the United States since its inception has certainly given credence to Mr. Blyden-Taylor’s vision.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor has conducted several university, youth and concert choirs, most notably completing a 25year tenure with The Orpheus Choir of Toronto. In addition he works frequently as a guest conductor, having appeared with organizations such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Hannaford Street Silver Band, Nova Scotia Youth Choir, Ontario Youth Choir, Central Manitoba Youth Choir and the New Brunswick Choral Federation Youth Sing. He has also worked as artistic director and advisor for the Algoma Festival Choir, the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Chatham-Kent Roots Festival.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor has served as a member of the teaching staff of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and the Faculty of Music, Queen’s University. He is a Master Teacher with the Toronto Board of Education, coaching teachers and students in conducting and choral technique, and was awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from York University in Toronto for his contribution to education.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor is also in constant demand as a Clinician, Adjudicator and Lecturer both nationally and internationally, working extensively across Canada and the United States of America, as well as in Cuba and France. He has also been invited to deliver workshops in Japan, Turkey and Israel. In addition Mr. Blyden-Taylor is an active church musician, serving currently as Director of Music at All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church.
Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt
Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Conducting at the University of Toronto where she was named the inaugural Faculty Teaching Excellence Award winner in 2013. She holds the Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting. She is also Artistic Director of Exultate Chamber Singers, a semi-professional ensemble in Toronto. Raised in Nova Scotia, she earned degrees from the University of Toronto, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds an ARCT in piano performance. She has conducted choirs at divisional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and conducted the University of Toronto MacMillan Singers at Podium, the national conference of Choral Canada. She has led choral festivals in Europe, and at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. In 2009, she conducted the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a live broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word.” She has directed all-state choruses in more than 35 states and conducted both the 2011 Ontario Youth Choir and the 2014 National Youth Choir of Canada. A frequent conference presenter, she often does conducting masterclasses and has participated in several university conducting residencies.
Dr. Apfelstadt is a prolific author, having published multiple articles in professional journals, as well as chapters in two books: Wisdom, Wit and Will: Women Choral Conductors on their Art (GIA, 2009) and Conducting Women’s Choirs: Strategies for Success (GIA, 2012). She is a contributing author to Teaching Music in Performance Through Choir, volume 4 (GIA, 2017) and is co-editing volume 5 (to be published in 2019). A member of the Editorial Board for the ACDA Choral Journal, she also write s a regular choral column for The Canadian Music Educator. Her book on Canadian composer Ruth Watson Henderson, entitled I Didn’t Want It to be Boring, was released by Prism Publishers in the fall of 2017.
Dr. Tony Leong
Dr. Tony Nam-Hai Leong completed his PhD at the University of Toronto in addition to a Master’s degree in Computer Applications and a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Toronto. Dr. Leong studied with Paul Meyer on Violin, Rivka Golani, Daniel Blackman and Rennie Regehr on Viola while studying both orchestral and choral conducting with Professors Dwight Bennett and Lori-Anne Dolloff. He has also participated in master classes and chamber music coaching with such eminent musicians as the Orford String Quartet, the St. Lawrence Quartet, Lorand Fenyves, Simon Fryer, and Scott St. John, and has done his Suzuki violin/viola training with Margot Jewell.
Dr. Leong is currently MusicFest Canada’s Chairman of the Orchestra/Strings Division; President of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association’s board of directors and the past co-editor of their publication, “The Recorder”; co-founding director of the Ontario Strings Association; an instructor at Queen’s University; a lecturer at the University of Toronto; Head of the Performing Arts Department at Sir Oliver Mowat C.I.; and has been a past member on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada.
Dr. Leong also conducts the National Music Camp of Canada and Sir Oliver Mowat Orchestras and previously, the Music by the Lake and Oakwood C.I. Orchestras, Korean Canadian Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of Music Baroque and Chamber Orchestras and the Etobicoke Suzuki School of Music Orchestras. Dr. Leong was also a member of the Korean Canadian Symphony Orchestra as a violist for over two decades.
In addition, Dr. Leong has given presentations across Canada and the USA as a Technology and String Education clinician and adjudicator, as well as being a Clinician trainer for Finale and SmartMusic Studio. Dr. Leong’s research areas include string education, technology, and adolescents. His publications include the Canadian and Ontario Music Educators’ Association Journals, as well as presentations of his research both at the international and provincial levels. He has also guest lectured courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Toronto, York University, and the University of Western Ontario, as well as having given presentations across Canada and the USA on the topics of string education and technology in the music classroom.
James Sparks (Jim) is adjunct professor at the UBC School of Music (conducting), lecturer in Arts Education at SFU, senior advisor for choral music for Music Mentors International, and former director of vocal music at the Langley Fine Arts School (LFAS) in Langley British Columbia. With an undergraduate degree in piano and voice (University of British Columbia), a Masters Degree in choral conducting (University of Arizona), and a PhD in philosophy (Simon Fraser University), Jim has continued his teaching in school, university, and community contexts for over three decades.
In his roles as researcher, conductor, and singing leader, Jim connects active research with music learning, music performance, and professional music leadership. With support from the Canada Council, the Canadian Music Educators Association, the AIRS collaborative initiative and Simon Fraser University, Jim has pursued collaborative singing research with several choral leaders in the world: Alina Orraca, Havana, Cuba (Schola Cantorum Coralina); Joseph Muyale Inzai, (National Boys Choir of Kenya); renowned Ukrainian choral conductor, Anatoliy Avdievski in Kiev, Ukraine (Veriovka Choir); Wes Janzen, (Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus); and Helle Hoyer in Aarhus, Denmark (Aarhus Pigakor Choir). Jim is the recipient of the Profession Music Educator Award from the BC Music Educators Association, the 2009 recipient of the Willan Award from the BC Choral Federation and Simon Fraser University President’s PhD Award for 2014. Jim is in demand as an adjudicator, lecturer, and guest conductor and has continued his international research and conducting engagements in Europe, Kenya, Cuba, and Brazil.
Mary Ann Fratia earned her Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Toronto and her Masters of Music Education degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and studied trumpet with Ronnie Romm, Fred Mills and Stephen Chenette. She has taught instrumental and vocal music for 35 years in both Ontario and Manitoba at both the elementary and secondary levels. Mary Ann served as a former Head of Music and was the Arts and HPE Coordinator (K-12) with the Peel DSB. A recipient of various OSSTF, Peel DSB, Ontario Band Association and IAJE awards, and most recently, the Ontario Music Educators Association Honorary Life Membership Award, she was also just recently nominated for the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award at York University’s Faculty of Education. Mary Ann is currently the Course Director for J/I and I/S music education at York University, Sessional Lecturer for I/S Music at OISE/University of Toronto in the Masters of Teaching program , has served as a Practicum Facilitator for pre-service education students at York University and OISE/UT (K-12) has written and currently instructs various Music ABQ and AQ courses for OISE/University of Toronto. She has also serves as an education/music consultant with TVO Kids and more recently, Kondolole Films on various elementary music/language programming as well as teaching in the Building Leadership for Change program (International Education) at OISE/UT. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, various OMEA Conference committees and enjoys adjudicating various music festivals across the province and Canada. She has been the director of many award-winning wind ensembles, instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles and has had numerous articles published in various music, arts and teaching provincial and national journals.
Jean-Michel Malouf enjoys a flourishing career as a conductor, and he is already recognized for his remarkable precision, sensitivity and natural leadership. He was conductor-in-residence of I Musici de Montreal Chamber Orchestra where he conducted many concerts at the Maison Symphonique (Montreal) and at the National Arts Centre (Ottawa).
In recent years, he has also been invited to conduct the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), the London Symphony (Ontario, Canada), Les Violons du Roy (Montreal) and the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal. Mr Malouf has been conducting the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra since 2008 and was appointed conductor-in-residence of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra in September 2015. He was officially nominated Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.
Bill Thomas is an Associate Professor of Music, Chair of the Department of Music, and director of the Wind Symphony at York University in Toronto.
Prior to his time at York University Bill taught music for twenty-three years at the elementary and high school levels in the York Region District School Board spending most of that time as the head of the music department at Markham District High School. Bill is a graduate of the jazz program at Humber College and holds Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Toronto as well as a Master of Arts in composition from York University. He is a former Drum Corps International adjudicator and he has been an arranger for over forty marching bands and drum & bugle corps in Canada and the United States. Bill’s concert band compositions are published by Eighth Note Publications.
A past board member of the Ontario Music Educator’s Association and is much in demand as an adjudicator and clinician. His performing groups have won many accolades and awards including the Jazz Report Magazine award for High School Program of the Year. Bill is a member of the international bandmaster’s fraternity Phi Beta Mu.
Dr. Cynthia Johnston-Turner
Cynthia Johnston Turner is Director of Bands, Professor of Music, Area Chair of Conducting, and Artistic Director of Rote Hund Muzik at the Hodgson School of Music, University of Georgia. Turner conducts the Hodgson Wind Ensemble, leads the MM and DMA programs in conducting, and oversees the entire band program including the 430-member Redcoat Marching Band.
Before her appointment at the Hodgson School at the University of Georgia, Cynthia was Director of Wind Ensembles at Cornell University. Earlier in her career Cynthia was a high school music educator, taught middle school beginning instrumental music in Toronto and choral music in Switzerland.
A Canadian, Cynthia completed her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees at Queens University and her Master of Music in music education and conducting at the University of Victoria. Touring with her ensembles inspired her master’s thesis on the musical and personal transformations that occur on tours, and her D.M.A. thesis at the Eastman School of Music centered on the music of William Kraft, one of this generation’s leading composers. At Eastman Cynthia was the recipient of the prestigious teaching award in conducting. She received the National Leadership in Education Award (Canada), the Excellence in Education Award (Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation), and the Marion Drysdale Leadership Award (also from OSSTF). She is also the recipient of the Donald A. Reick Memorial Award for research with wearable technologies and music pedagogy, and the American Prize for innovative programming with wind bands.
Among other recent engagements, Cynthia has guest conducted the National Youth Wind Ensemble of Great Britain, the Syracuse Symphony (“Symphoria”), the National Youth Band of Canada, Concordia Santa Fe, the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Latin American Honor Band, the National Band of Costa Rica, the National Orchestra of Heredia, and numerous state honor bands. Cynthia has been invited to present her research with teaching and technology, innovative rehearsal techniques, and service-learning and music performance at numerous conferences nationally and internationally. She is published in such journals as Music Educators Journal, Interdisciplinary Humanities, International Journal of the Humanities, Journal of the World Association of Bands and Ensembles, Fanfare Magazine, and Canadian Winds, and has recorded CDs with the Innova and Albany labels.
Cynthia has served as a board member with WASBE, and is an active member of CDBNA, Conductor’s Guild, College Music Society, Humanities Education and Research Association, the National Association for Music Education, and National Band Association.
Sponsored by: Conn-Selmer
Dr. Brendan Caldwell
Director of Wind Ensembles at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. In this role, he conducts the BW Symphonic Wind Ensemble and BW Symphonic Band. In addition, Dr. Caldwell teaches courses in conducting and leads a seminar entitled: The Buddha and Bruce Springsteen: Consciousness and the Art of Connection. Through an artistic process deeply rooted in collaboration, Brendan regularly forms unique partnerships with ensembles, soloists, composers, and audience members with the shared goal of seeking to re-imagine the concert going experience. Past collaborations have included Dame Evelyn Glennie, George Crumb, Frank Ticheli, Bud Beyer, Marianne Ploger, Charles Rochester Young, Gro Sandvik, Velvet Brown, Graham Breedlove, Wesley Anderson, and Nancy Ambrose King. In 2006, Caldwell was awarded the prestigious “Outstanding Emerging Conductor Award” through the Minnesota Orchestra – Osmo Vanska, conductor. Brendan’s degrees have come from Louisiana State University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Caldwell’s research and scholarship explore personal and musical transformation through the spiritual practice of Mindful Listening. In 2013, Brendan released a CD containing his song-cycle that explores mindful listening entitled, Gypsy Radio and the Rock and Roll Consecration. As accompanying documents, Brendan is currently in the process of finishing two books: The Conscious Conductor and The Buddha and Bruce Springsteen.
Before arriving in Cleveland, Dr. Caldwell served as Director of Bands at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point from 2006 until 2014. In this role, he oversaw the wind band area and conducted the UWSP Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. At UWSP, Brendan was the curator for two initiatives: The Perception Project – a campus-wide exploration of teaching and learing through the examination of habits of perception, and The Courtyard Connections Forum – a lecture series, modeled after the TED Talks, in which audiences gathered once a semester to awaken from the illusion of separateness through presentations which discussed various areas of passion and scholarship. Through exploring seemingly disparate topics in a profound manner.
Brendan loves living in Cleveland with his wife Luda and their son Xander.
Dr. Les Sabina
Saxophonist and composer Les Sabina holds degrees from the University of Toronto(Bac.Mus.), the University of Windsor (B.Ed.), the University of Miami (M.M.), andMichigan State University (Ph.D.). He is currently Professor of Music and chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at St. Bonaventure University near Buffalo, NY.
Dr. Sabina is a former member of late drummer J.C. Heard’s Detroit-based jazz orchestra and has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Helen Merrill, Billy Eckstine, Milt Hinton, Della Reese, the Manhattan Transfer, the Temptations and many other jazz and pop acts in both Detroit and Buffalo. He is a regular saxophonist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and a member of the BPO Jazz All-Stars. Dr. Sabina also plays electric bass with two Western NY jazz trios, New York Standard Time, and the LTM Trio.
Sabina has over 75 big band compositions and arrangements, as well as many saxophone quartet arrangements, published by Kendor Music and Alfred Music/Belwin Jazz. He has received many awards from ASCAP and twice won PROCAN’s Jazz ComposersCompetition. His textbook, “Jazz Arranging and Orchestration: A Concise Introduction” was published by Cengage and is in use in over 50 colleges in the USA. Dr. Sabina also scores music for a variety of video projects, using many virtual instrument libraries in his studio.
Colleen Allen is one of Canada’s most in-demand musicians for live concerts and recording sessions. Based in Toronto, the acclaimed and versatile multi-instrumentalist has performed all over Canada, the U.S. and Europe with world class jazz and pop artists including Molly Johnson, David Clayton-Thomas, Holly Cole, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Rik Emmett, Marc Jordan, Andrew Craig and Jackie Richardson, to name a few. She works frequently with Brian Barlow’s Big Band, Cirque du Soleil, is a resident artist at Soulpepper Theatre, and a member of Manteca, Canada’s premier fusion jazz big band. She has been in the house band of the Toronto Blues Society’s Women’s Blues Revue since its inception in 1986. Colleen is a beloved mentor and teacher of music for 15 years now at Humber College and a regular adjudicator/clinician for musicfest, and the TD jazz education festival in Picton.
Colleen’s first CD “Colleen Allen” displays her talents as instrumentalist, arranger, bandleader and producer. Her sophomore release “Flashlight” features bassist George Koller, guitarist Rob Piltch and Snarky Puppy drummer Larnell Lewis.
Dr. Jeff Reynolds
Jeffrey Reynolds teaches trumpet and conducting at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, as well as conducting the Wind Symphony. For 5 years he was the Coordinator of the Performance Division, until 2015. He holds a Ph.D. in the philosophy of music education and a M.M. in trumpet performance. Dr. Reynolds has performed and recorded as a trumpeter with the Calgary Philharmonic, Victoria Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Hannaford Street Silver Band, the Stratford Festival Ensemble and the Orchestra of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, as well as many other orchestral, chamber and solo performances. Prior to the University of Toronto, Dr. Reynolds taught at Malaspina College and McMaster University and for several years was an instrumental specialist with the Scarborough Board of Education. Dr. Reynolds is the author of a trumpet pedagogy book in the Dummies series, Trumpet for Dummies, has recently completed the compilation of trumpet repertoire for the Royal Conservatory of Music, along with Dr. Gillian Mackay, and contributes articles to several journals. He frequently conducts workshops in southern Ontario schools, and is in demand as an adjudicator at music festivals across the country.
Matthew Chalmers holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Humber college, a school he attended since he was 3 as part of the Humber College’s Community Music program. Matthew also performed at MusicFest for many years and was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships including Zildjian Outstanding Young Drummer four times, the Music Industries Association of Canada (MIAC) scholarship, as well as the inaugural Lou Williamson Scholarship for Outstanding Drumset Player. In May of 2011, The Hnatyshyn Foundation awarded Matthew with the Oscar Peterson $10,000 Grand for Jazz Performance.
For close to 40 years, Ron Di Lauro has been one of Québec’s most in-demand trumpet players: from jazz to classical, from pop to world music, Throughout his career, he has accompanied renowned artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, John Scofield, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Michel Legrand, Oliver Jones and Vic Vogel, to name but a few.
As a soloist, he has performed with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Laval, and Sinfonia de Lanaudière. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, Broadway musicals, film soundtracks and in advertising jingles, as well as on over 300 recordings, most notably with Cirque du Soleil.
Music festivals and cultural organizations regularly call upon him to act as a jury member. As an Associate Professor at Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Music, and Lecturer at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, he directs Big Band, Chamber Jazz Orchestra, as well as teaching jazz trumpet. He was the recipient of the Oscar Peterson Prize at the 2014 Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Dr. Colleen Richardson
Dr. Colleen Richardson is Coordinator of Bands, directs the Wind Ensemble, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting and instrumental music education at Western University in London, Ontario. In collaboration with Dr. Kevin Watson, she administrates the Western Young Winds program, which is a community band for students in grades six to nine, and supervises the undergraduate music education majors selected to rehearse and conduct the ensemble. Prior to her appointment at Western, Dr. Richardson was an Assistant Professor of Music Education and the Wind Ensemble Director at Converse College in South Carolina.
Besides being active as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor nationally, Dr. Richardson has guest conducted or presented her research in Ireland, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Wales, and the US. Her research focuses on wind literature, conducting pedagogy, and rehearsal techniques. Publications include articles for the Canadian Winds, and the Canadian Music Educator Journal, as well as multiple study guides for the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series. Recently, Dr. Richardson produced and edited the Hunsberger DVD within GIA’s DVD set entitled Three Icons: Frank Battisti, Donald Hunsberger, and H. Robert Reynolds. Under her direction, the Western University Wind Ensemble has produced two CDs, Apparitions (Albany Records, 2011) and Explorations (Mark Records, 2016); both recordings are available through itunes and Amazon.com.
A native of Winnipeg, Dr. Richardson graduated from Brandon University (BMus Ed), the University of Calgary (Wind Conducting Diploma, MMus Conducting), and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (DMA Wind Conducting). Her primary conducting teachers have been Rodney Winther and Glenn Price. However, she has also had opportunities to study with many other well respected composers and conductors, including: Craig Kirchhoff, Karel Husa, Warren Benson, David Maslanka, Eugene Corporon, Mallory Thompson, Robert Reynolds, and Jerry Junkin.
While in Cincinnati completing her doctorate, Dr. Richardson co-directed the Tri-State Chamber Players, as well as served as the Music Director and Conductor of the Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble. Prior to her graduate studies, she taught general, choral, and instrumental music in the Canadian school system for 14 years.
Vice Chair, Choral/Vocal Jazz
Frank Lee is the choral director at Carson Graham Secondary School. He spent the previous seventeen years as the choral and instrumental director at Seycove Secondary School in North Vancouver. Mr. Lee is has also been on Faculty at Douglas College directing the Chorus. His past ensemble was honoured with the distinction of Youth Choir of the World at the International Choral Festival, Kathaumixw, in 2007. In 2009 his Chorale was named top choir at the Canadian National Choral Festival and had their solo debut concert in 2011 at Carnegie Hall. His award winning vocal jazz ensemble, Jazz in the Box, has been featured in Western Canada and Washington State.
Frank received his undergraduate music degree from the University of Victoria studying trombone with Ian McDougall. He has recently finished his graduate studies in choral conducting, under Dr. Graeme Langager, at the University of British Columbia. He is sought after as a clinician across Canada and Washington State. Frank has served as the chair for the BCMEA Honour Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Kiwanis Vocal Jazz Festival and is currently on the Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival Advisory Committee.
North Vancouver, BC
Vice-Chair, Concert Band
Recently retired as head of music at Collingwood Collegiate, Kevin Hamlin has been appointed to be Yamaha’s first Educator-in-Residence. Kevin’s near 30-year career highlighted some of the highest retention rates of most school music programs in Canada.
Arts Department Leader and Music Department Head at Collingwood Collegiate for 29 years, building one of the largest and most diverse programs in the province of Ontario.
Adjudicator, Clinician at MusicFest Canada Nationals and other Regional Festivals across the country. In 2015 Kevin was Awarded Keith Mann Outstanding Band Director by MusicFest Canada , along with Collingwood Arts Award. In 2016 He was awarded the Order of Collingwood.
Presenter at Ontario Music Educator’s Conference on a wide range of topics. Guest speaker at University B. Music programs, Faculties of Education, School Board workshops.
As an Effective communicator in front of audiences of any size, Kevin is Completely versed in all aspects of program development, class pedagogy, rehearsal techniques, and Festival preparation.
Chosen as Yamaha Music Canada’s first Educator-In-Residence, working across the country adjudicating band festivals, providing Board wide workshops, and individual school based clinics.
Saxophonist, clarinetist, flutist and conductor Jennifer Bell has been active on the Montréal scene since 1985. Jennifer is the co-founder of the groups Streetnix, (FIJM 1987-2017) and Altsys Jazz Orchestra, with whom she has performed hundreds of concerts throughout North America and Europe. Jennifer Bell is also a clinician and adjudicator throughout North America and has taught at the McGill Conservatory since 1985. Jennifer has received grants from the SOCAN Foundation, the conseil des arts et lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts as well as awards from the Conseil Québecois de la Musique and the Women’s Y foundation.
Saxophoniste, clarinettiste, flûtiste et chef d’orchestre Jennifer Bell est active sur la scène musicale montréalaise depuis 1985. Fondatrice des groupes Streetnix (FIJM 1987-2017) et Altsys Jazz Orchestra avec lequel elle a joué partout en amerique du nord et en europe. Jennifer Bell est également une évaluatrice et donne des causeries partout en Amérique du nord. Elle est chargée de cours au conservatoire de musique de McGill depuis 1985. Jennifer Bell s’est méritée des bourses de la fondation SOCAN, le conseil des arts et lettres du Québec et le conseil des arts du Canada, ainsi que des prix du Conseil Québecois de la musique et la fondation du Y des femmes.
Before moving to Canada from the US in 1974, Pat LaBarbera toured and recorded with the Buddy Rich Big Band, of which he was a member from 1967 to 1974. Pat has performed on television shows such as Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, and Mike Douglas, and with many show business personalities such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Pat has performed and recorded consistently with Elvin Jones since 1975, playing major jazz festivals around the world. He has performed with other jazz artists such as Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder, Woody Shaw, and McCoy Tyner. Pat can be heard on the recently released Humber label The Elders are Listening, Volumes 1 & 2.
His CD, Deep in a Dream, won the 2000 Juno Award for Best Mainstream Jazz Album. His current CD, Crossing the Line, features faculty members Brian Dickinson and Neil Swainson, as well as special guests Randy Brecker and Joe LaBarbera
Sponsored By: Pearl/Adams/Dream Cymbals
An extremely versatile guitarist, Montreal-born Berklee-educated Ted Quinlan is an in-demand studio musician. Living in Toronto since the mid 1980s, Quinlan has also become a valued sideman, performing with Chet Baker, Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Harris, Jimmy Smith and Joey DeFransesco. Quinlan’s music as a leader ranges from Pat Metheny influenced contemporary jazz to experimental free improvisation.
Sponsored by: Humber College
Terry is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University Toronto, The Director of “The Jazz Camp” at the Interprovincial Music Camp (IMC) and remains busy as a freelance tenor trombone/tuba/bass trombonist. He appears with numerous Toronto based groups including The Rob McConnell Tentet, The Boss Brass, The Mike Murley Septet, The John Macleod Big Band, The Paul Read Orchestra, The Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra, Dave Young Sextet/Octet and Holly Cole.
As an educator, Terry is active presenting seminar and clinics with the Ontario Band Association (OBA), the Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA) and Musicfest where Terry will conduct The Dave Young & Terry Promane Big Band.
Sponsored by: University of Toronto
Gordon Foote recently accepted a position at the University of Toronto as a Professor in the Jazz Studies Program of the Faculty of Music. The most important element of this portfolio will be to direct the University of Toronto Jazz Orchestra (UTJO). Previous to that, Gordon spent 26 years as a Professor in the Jazz Studies Program at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. He served as Dean (interim), Associate Dean (Academic and Student Affairs), Chair of the Department of Performance, Director of Graduate Studies and Chair of the Jazz Area, as well as 6 years as a professor at St. FX University in Nova Scotia. Gordon is one of the pioneers of jazz education in Canada, being instrumental in the development and implementation of the first undergraduate and graduate university jazz studies programs in the country.
As a saxophonist and clinician for Conn-Selmer, Gordon has performed in Canada, Europe and the United States.Professor is in demand as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and jazz educator/performer in Canada, Musicfest Canada being a long standing event.
Sponsored by: Conn-Selmer
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Dennis Beck earned two undergraduate degrees from Western University, and completed a graduate program in conducting from the University of Calgary. In addition to teaching experience at the junior and senior high school levels, he has been a sessional lecturer for the Faculty of Education of the University of Toronto, conducted at Alberta College Conservatory in Edmonton for several years, and played clarinet with the Edmonton Wind Sinfonia and the CBC’s Edmonton Wind Ensemble. He founded the Ontario chapter of Phi Beta Mu, the international band director’s fraternal organization, and is a member of the College Band Directors National Association. He served as a vice-president of the Alberta Band Association, was a founding director of the Ontario Band Association and is a past-president of the OBA. For several years he was a facilitator for student leaders at the Ontario Educational Leadership Centre. His articles on music education have appeared in several professional journals, and since 2000 he has written six analyses of band compositions for different volumes of the highly regarded series of music texts, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, published by GIA in Chicago.
Recognized as an advocate for excellence in conducting, he co-founded the Unionville Wind Conductors’ Symposium 1994. In the fall of 2008, he was one of ten alumni of the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University in London, Ontario, named as the inaugural recipients of the university’s Wall of Fame honour. In 2011, the OBA recognized him with an Honourary Lifetime Membership, also that year he was named to the Advisory Board of the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Canadian Band Association’s National Band Award, joining a list of 23 other Canadian musicians who had been so honoured since 1976. For twenty years he taught music, coached soloists and chamber ensembles, and conducted bands at Unionville High School’s Arts York program, in Markham. Most recently, he has been a faculty member at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University in London, Ontario, where he was conductor of the Symphonic Band and taught music education and conducting.
As owner of Woodshed Percussion, Andy Morris has been a freelance musician in the Toronto area for over 20 years. Because of his extensive experience in the music business, he is able to offer sound advice on choosing the right instrument for a group or individual.
Sponsored by: Woodshed Percussion
- Location: Toronto, Ontario
Stephen Wick-Musician – Ophicleide and Tuba at Anima Eterna, Director at Denis Wick Products Ltd., Teacher at The Purcell School, Trustee at Golsoncott Founda. Tuba player Stephen Wick has played with all the great London orchestras and many European orchestras. In the jazz field he has played in bands led by such greats as John Dankworth and Kenny Wheeler and has also worked with some of the top arrangers such as Nelson Riddle and Henry Mancini. Stephen also teaches at the Royal Academy of Music.
Sponsored by: Denis Wick, London
Hamworth Poole, UK
With an established reputation as one of Canada’s leading saxophonists, Kirk MacDonald cut his first record at the age of thirteen. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, and has worked with many leading musicians in a variety of musical genres. Kirk also leads the Kirk MacDonald Jazz Orchestra (KMJO), a 19-piece all-star ensemble dedicated to performing his original compositions and featuring arrangements by leading Canadian and U.S. Writers. The KMJO released its debut recording Deep Shadows in March 2011, and in May of 2012. His latest recording Vista Obscura was released in 2014 and features jazz legend Harold Mabern and special guest saxophonist Pat LaBarbera. Kirk has been active as an educator for 27 years at leading jazz studies programs such as at the University of Toronto and McGill University. Kirk is presently a full time professor at Humber College in Toronto, where he holds a cross appointment in the Music Degree Program and the Community Music School. Kirk also acts as the Artistic Director for the “Youth Jazz Canada” project and directs the “National Youth Jazz Combo”. This project also hosts a 2 week workshop in the summer for high school and post-secondary students.
Sponsored by: Humber College
- Location: Toronto On.
A world-renowned composer, arranger, vocalist and pianist, Greg Jasperse is the Director of Vocal Jazz at Western Michigan University. He is also the director of the award-winning Gold Company vocal jazz ensemble.
No stranger to the stage or recording studio, his credits include numerous movie soundtracks including “Jurassic World”, “Epic”, “Oz, The Great and Powerful”, “The Campaign”, “Star Trek” and “Star Trek 2” as well as the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Monarchy of Roses” and “The 2nd Law”, the recent release from Muse. Greg is a member of Vertical Voices and has toured as with the New York Voices. In November of 2014, he joined the New York Voices and the Bob Mintzer Big Band on their Japan tour. He has also performed with Adele, Imogen Heap, Jennifer Holiday, Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Dianne Reeves and Bobby McFerrin among others.
His music is performed around the world by many of today’s premier choral ensembles including Chanticleer, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Chicago Children’s Choir and the St. Olaf Choir.
His conducting credits include all-state jazz choirs in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Dakota, New York, California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, New Hampshire, Illinois, Iowa as well as the British Columbia Honors Jazz Choir and Musicfest Canada’s Ellison Honour Choir,
He is a graduate of University of Miami and Western Michigan University.
Mike Downes is the Bass Department Head at prestigious Humber College in Toronto. Bassist, composer, author and educator Mike Downes has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s finest jazz artists. His bass playing has delighted audiences worldwide, including tours through western and eastern Europe, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, the United States and throughout Canada.
Mike’s extensive discography highlights his work as a bassist, composer and arranger. He has released five recordings as a leader to critical praise. His most recent recording Ripple Effect features his trio with masterful musicians Robi Botos and Ethan Ardelli. Mike has been a (guest-concert) artist, adjudicator, clinician, and educator many times at Musicfest Canada.
Sponsored by Yamaha Canada Music Ltd.
Now head of the keyboard department at Toronto’s Humber College, Dickinson is a graduate of the Humber Music Program and holds a Masters in Music (with distinction) degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. He is the author of a respected book on ear training, entitled The Ears Have Walls (published by Advance Music of Germany). Brian Dickinson has been a fixture on the Canadian Jazz scene since the early 1980’s.he has performed and recorded with many jazz greats including Pat Labarbera, Lee Konitz, Kirk MacDonald, Kenny Wheeeler, John Abercrombie and Tom Harrell. He won a Juno Award for best jazz recording in 1991, and was also a member of the University of Toronto Faculty for twelve years.
Sponsored by: Yamaha Canada Music Ltd.
Jonathan Dagenais holds a Masters degree (M.Mus) in Conducting from McGill University and a Bachelor’s degree (B.Mus) in Composition from the Université de Montréal.
In addition to CEGEP/university teaching (music theory, composition, ear training, musicianship and conducting), Mr. Dagenais is also pursuing a career as a composer for wind orchestra. His works have been performed repeatedly by many Canadian university and high school ensembles, they appear on several professional recordings and some have been listed in MusicFest Canada’s concert band syllabus since 2009. Mr. Dagenais’ works are currently published throughout the world by Eighth Note Publications, Hafabra Music and GAM Publishing.
Jonathan Dagenais has a very active conducting career. Since 2005, he has acted as the conductor and artistic director of the Orchestre à Vents Non Identifié (OVNI), a Montreal wind orchestra he co-founded. This ensemble is dedicated to collaborative and active listening, tone quality, refined interpretation as well as adopting a humoristic approach. In 2010 and 2011, he was appointed conductor of the McGill Wind Symphony and he was a guest conductor for the Montreal Pop Symphony Orchestra (OSPM) in 2012. He has also been conducting the Cercle Philharmonique de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu since September 2012. Finally, since September 2015, he has been the conductor of the Orchestre de jeux vidéo – OJV (Montreal Video Game Orchestra), an ensemble dedicated to video game soundtracks. Being a longtime fan of video games and their music, this was a natural marriage of his two passions.
Mr. Dagenais is regularly selected to adjudicate and/or give clinics at more than 25 North American music contests and festivals. Moreover, he is the artistic director of the Quebec MusicFest since 2017. Every year, he is hired by canadian summer music camps to conduct orchestras, bands and chamber music groups. He has been a guest conductor for many Canadian honor bands and, most notably, Jonathan was appointed as the conductor of the National Youth Band of Canada (NYB) for the 2013 edition in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it being the most prestigious honorary band in the country.
He is also the appointed conductor / clinician for the company Twigg Musique in Quebec.
Mr. Dagenais is a guest teacher at McGill University and is planning doctoral studies in conducting in the coming years.
Prior to his 2001 appointment as Humber’s Director of Music, Christianson taught at McGill University, Concordia University, the University de Montreal, John Abbott College, and Centennial Academy. His jazz portfolio is no less impressive. His credits include performance and recording sessions with jazz greats J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughn, Tony Bennett, Michel Legrand, and many others.
Sponsored by: Humber College
George Charpentier conducts the Saskatoon Concert Band and the Saskatoon Philharmonic Orchestra.
He received his Bachelor of Music and Certificate of Business Administration from the University of Saskatchewan. He holds a Diploma from the Kodaly Institute of Music Pedagogy in Hungary and a Masters Certificate in Orff Schulwerk Methodology from Jos Wuytack. He is a student of the Saito method of conducting. He has studied piano, clarinet, voice and violin. Mr. Charpentier is retired from the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, where he was the Coordinator of Arts Education and Social Studies. He has taught instrumental, choral and classroom music from Kindergarten through Grade 12, and has lectured at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Alberta. He was the Associate Conductor of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra for many years.
- Location: Saskatchewan. SA
Chair, Concert Band
Sharon Fitzsimmins, Mus. Bac, B.Ed, is a respected educator, international adjudicator, clinician and conductor. She is past president of The Ontario Music Educators’ Association (OMEA) and was co-editor of The Recorder for 8 years, conductor at National Music Camp of Canada and examiner for The Royal Conservatory of Music. She has received numerous teaching, professional development and leadership awards. In November 2006, Sharon received the highest award from the OMEA, an Honorary Life Membership. Sharon is proud to have taught for thirty years at Barrie North Collegiate where she conducted award winning bands and choirs. She has written three teacher resources and is working on a fourth. Sharon was Chair of PRIMO 11, the OMEA annual conference.
- Location: Midhurst ON
Dr. Gillian MacKay
Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra Director
Dr. Gillian MacKay holds degrees and diplomas from the University of Lethbridge, McGill University, the University of Calgary, and Northwestern University. Previously, she served as Instructor of Brass at Medicine Hat College, and Director of the School of Music at the University of Windsor. Gillian MacKay is an Associate Professor of Music of the University of Toronto, where she conducts the Wind Ensemble and teaches conducting and trumpet. She is also Associate Dean of Graduate Education. An award-winning teacher, Gillian has an active professional career as a trumpeter, conductor, adjudicator, and clinician. She has conducted honor bands throughout Canada and the United States, including the National Youth Band of Canada. Dr. MacKay has adjudicated Canadian band festivals at local, provincial, and national levels, as well as competitions in Singapore and Thailand.
- Location: Toronto On.
Vice Chair, Choral/Vocal Jazz
Scott Leithead is the founder and Artistic Director of Edmonton’s Kokopelli Choir Association and TIME Jazz Association. Scott is a very sought after clinician and director, with notable appearances including conducting the Alberta Youth Choir for the Alberta Choral Federation’s 40th Anniversary, conducting the 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Ellison Canadian National Honour Choir, and adjudicating at both the ACCC National Competition for Amateur Canadian Choirs and the Kathaumixw International Choir Festival.
Scott has a passion for music from southern Africa and he has been invited to work with choirs in South Africa and Namibia on numerous occasions. In 2008, Scott was on sabbatical in Namibia where he worked with the Mascato Youth Choir and many other choirs in southern Africa. Scott is also the Vice Chairman of Choral/Vocal Division for MusicFest Canada and he is a longtime member of the advisory committee for the Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival.
Sponsored by: Kokopelli
Vice Chair, Instrumental Jazz
Alex Dean, one of Canada’s foremost jazz saxophonists, has been a mainstay of the Canadian music scene for many years.
He has played and recorded with Bill Evans, Kenny Wheeler, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick Jr., Phil Nimmons, the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Alex holds the tenor saxophone chair with Rob McConnell’s Grammy award winning Boss Brass and he performed on their last five albums.
Alex is a widely respected private teacher and adjudicator in Canada and the U.S.
Sponsored by: Humber College
Chair, Choral/Vocal Jazz
John is a music educator who has worked with musicians of all ages, from preschool children to senior citizens. He is currently a Vice Principal at Central Peel Secondary School in Brampton, ON and is musical director at Heart Lake United Church. John is active as an adjudicator and clinician throughout North America and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Vocal Festival and part of the Executive Committee of MusicFest Canada for over 30 years. For over a decade he served as a Resource Team Member for the International Association of Jazz Educators and as a member of the advisory board of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival.
John has taught music at Humberview Secondary School, Central Peel Secondary School, Mayfield Secondary School, Humber College and the University of Toronto Jazz Performance Program where his groups received national and international recognition, performing at conferences and festivals throughout Canada and the United States and winning nine DOWN BEAT Magazine Student Music Awards. John has received the I.A.J.E. “Outstanding Jazz Director Award” for Canada, the Jazz Report Award for “Best Secondary School Jazz Program” and was inducted into the MusicFest Canada “Hall of Fame” for outstanding service to young Canadian musicians.
Dr. Shirantha Beddage
Vice Chair, Instrumental Jazz
Two-time JUNO-nominated musician Shirantha Beddage is a baritone saxophonist, composer and educator from Toronto, Canada. Currently, he serves as Head of Theory and Harmony in the Humber College Music department, where he teaches courses in Music Theory, Pedagogy, and Ensemble. Previously, he was Director of Jazz Studies at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music (Columbus, Georgia, USA). He serves as a Vice-Chairman of the Instrumental Jazz Division of MusicFest Canada.
He has released three critically-acclaimed albums as a leader. His debut album, Roots and Branches, was released in 2007 on Jazz Excursion Records. His follow-up album, Identity (2012) was nominated for a JUNO award for Traditional Jazz Album of the year in 2013. His newest album, Momentum (2016), featuring drummer Will Kennedy of the Yellowjackets, was nominated for Jazz Album of the Year (Solo) at the 2017 JUNO awards.
His compositional skills have garnered him accolades such as the 2013 Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival for his compositions “Baker’s Dozen” and “Winds of Change”. In 2014, he also composed and performed incidental music for the first season of the Emmy-winning FX TV series Fargo. Compositions from his album Momentum won him a spot as a finalist in the 2017 Canadian Songwriting Competition.
He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (D.M.A.) in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music (New York, USA), a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from William Paterson University (New Jersey, USA), and a Bachelor of Music degree from Humber College (Toronto, Canada). Shirantha is a Yamaha saxophone artist and performs on the YBS-62.
Associate Director, Chair Instrumental Jazz
Neil has composed over 50 works at various levels for jazz ensemble, most of which are available through UNC Jazz Press and Burnihla Music Publishing. He taught music at the elementary and secondary levels for 17 years, and is active as a jazz adjudicator and clinician throughout North America.
Neil Yorke-Slader is well known throughout the Capital region for his dedication to Education and the Arts. He directs the renowned Nepean All-City Jazz Band, one of Canada’s per-eminent student jazz ensembles for the last 21 years.
Neil’s reputation extends far beyond the Ottawa area, however. He was the recipient of the 1999 Ottawa International Jazz Festival’s “Achievement Award” and in 1991 he received the International Association of Jazz Educators Award for Contribution to Jazz Education. He is considered one of the leading Canadian authorities on the teaching of stage band fundamentals and rehearsal techniques. Neil is listed in the National Register’s 2003 “Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals.”
- Location: Manotick, ON
Dr. Mark Hopkins
Currently, Dr. Hopkins is an Assistant Professor in the School of Music at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He is responsible for overseeing the Music Education area, teaching conducting, and is Director of Bands at Acadia University. Dr. Hopkins is very active as a guest conductor of professional and collegiate ensembles, having led performances across Canada and the United States, Bermuda, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, and Romania.
- Location: Wolfville NS