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.
Alain Cazes is a Professor at McGill University, where he conducts the Wind Orchestra and teaches conducting. He has been director of the Orchestre Métropolitain Choir and is curently Musical Director of the Montreal Pop Orchestra. He is also principal tuba of the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montréal under Yanick Nézet-Séguin.
Learn more about Alain at Alain Cazes
Alba Chen graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music Education and received a Master Degree in Choral Conducting from Memorial University. She was recently accepted into University of Toronto’s Doctorate of Musical Arts program. She is the musical director at Nomad Stages in Stephenville, Newfoundland, where she won Best Choir at the Stephenville Rotary Music Festival and is a guest conductor for The Atlantic Boy Choir. In addition to her extensive choir conducting experiences, she has worked as an improvisation actress, film producer and director for 5 years. She was one of the first members in the professional Chinese improv team under KaiXin MaHua.
Amely Zhou is an erhu performer, a Chinese music specialist, an adjudicator and a conductor. In 2014, Amely graduated from York University with a Specialized Honours B.A. in music. Amely’s music has been featured on TVO, Fairchild TV and CNTV. Amely is currently the music director of the Canadian Chinese Orchestra. Under her direction, the orchestra has toured in China and performed at the Markham Flato Theatre, the Sony Centre, and the Mississauga Living Art Centre. In 2020, she led a group of multi-ethnic ensemble Estro-genesis and performed a series of Canadian works for the Toronto Music Garden’s summer music program.
Learn more about Amely at Amely Zhou
Andrew Harris is Principal Timpani & Percussion with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and has performed regularly with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with ensembles including Ottawa Choral Society, Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, Touring Broadway Productions, and the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces. Andrew is Coordinator of the Percussion Sector at the University of Ottawa where he gives lessons and directs the percussion ensemble. He has been the percussion coach for the Ottawa Youth and Junior Youth Orchestras and frequently runs high school masterclasses and coaching sessions.
Learn more about Andrew at Andrew Harris
Andrew is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
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.
Andy is sponsored by Woodshed Percussion
Bob Denney was the Head of Fine Arts and Technology at John McCrae S.S in Ottawa. The JMSS Guitar Ensemble was awarded the Canadian Music Educators’ Association Wilfred Harvey Small Ensemble of the Year award in 2007. Bob served for 9 years as the Canadian Representative and Lead Instructor for Teaching Guitar Workshops Canada, where he instructed guitar pedagogy and technique to music educators. Bob continues to promote guitar education as a guest lecturer at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Education.
Vice Chair, Instrumental Jazz
Bob holds a Bachelor of Music, Teaching certificate for the University of B.C., and a Master of Music at Western Washington University. While an undergraduate, Bob was involved in performances as a clarinettist, pianist, and percussionist. His main post-graduate activity was the writing of and extensive manual for the development of the young jazz rhythm section. He has continued to write curriculum in the areas of jazz rhythm section, jazz rehearsal techniques, jazz improvisation and concert band percussion. For 33 years, in the North Vancouver School District, Mr. Rebagliati directed many award winning junior and senior high school ensembles in both concert band and jazz. Since 2012, Bob has conducted the Metro Vancouver Firefighters Band.
Brad is a conductor, composer and adjudicator from Burlington, Ontario. He is currently the music director of Wavestage Theatre Company in north Toronto, assistant director of the Bach Chamber Youth Choir, and assistant music director for Christ’s Church Cathedral in Hamilton. Brad graduated in 2016 with a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Toronto.
Learn more about Brad at Brad Barnham
Retired, after 37 years in music education, Brenda has worked as an instrumental and vocal teacher, department head and consultant. Her career path was with the Hamilton, Waterloo and York region boards, and several years of teaching the vocal additional qualification courses at the University of Toronto/OISE. Brenda is currently artistic director of the Cambridge Male Chorus, and is founding artistic director of her chamber choir, Kokoro. Brenda enjoys freelance work as a musical director for community music theatre companies and is often invited to be a clinician, adjudicator, guest conductor and workshop presenter.
Learn more about Brenda at Brenda Uchimaru
Brent Adams has held the Principal Tuba position for the Niagara Symphony for many years and performs regularly with several orchestras throughout Ontario, including the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra London Canada, Windsor Symphony Orchestra and the Hannaford Street Silver Band. As a member of the Niagara Brass Ensemble, Brent has recorded for Analekta and Echiquier recording companies as well as CBC radio. As a member of Brass Rings, he has toured extensively through Canada and the United States. Currently, Brent is a faculty member (Tuba & Euphonium) at Western University, Don Wright Faculty of Music.
Learn more about Brent at Brent Adams
Brent is sponsored by Western University
Bryan taught music in Nanaimo for 50 years. Since 1997 he served as Chair of MusicFest Canada’s Jazz and Concert Band Divisions and is currently a Board member. He also taught Jazz Pedagogy at Vancouver Island University and was Chairman of the Music Department until he retired again in 2015. Bryan is a MusicFest Canada Hall of Fame member, recipient of the Marshall McLuhan Distinguished Teacher Award for both BC and Canada, BCMEA’s Professional Music Educator Award, and the City Of Nanaimo Excellence in Culture Award.
Learn more about Bryan at Bryan Stovell
Carolyn Christie won the Second Flute Chair of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) in 1978, after beginning her orchestral career with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. With the OSM she toured 40 times, performing in Europe, Asia, South America and North America. Ms. Christie performed in Carnegie Hall on many occasions and has appeared on about 100 recordings. Ms. Christie taught on the faculties of the University of Alberta, Concordia University, and the Conservatoire de Quebec à Montréal, as well as Domaine Forget and The National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
Learn more about Carolyn at Carolyn Christie
Carolyn is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Cathrie Yuen is a Vancouver based choral conductor who serves as the the Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Bach Symphonic Choir and the Cantabile Choir, and is a Sessional Instructor at the Trinity Western University music department, and the Artistic Director of the MGV Lyra men’s choir. She was selected as a Conducting Fellow for the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s Conducting Symposium and was also among the finalists at the 2019 World Choral Conducting Competition. Cathrie holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of British Columbia and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Trinity Western University.
Learn more about Cathrie at Cathrie Yuen
Chee Meng Low
Chee Meng Low enjoys a diverse career as a conductor, educator, administrator, and performing on saxophone as an orchestral, chamber, and solo musician. Chee Meng is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Lethbridge, where he conducts the Wind Orchestra, teaches saxophone performance, conducting and musicianship skills. He has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and guest conduct in North America, Europe and Asia. A recipient of the University of Alberta FS Chia Doctoral Scholarship, Chee Meng holds a Doctor of Music degree from the University of Alberta. Chee Meng was the host for the 2019 Region 9 North American Saxophone Alliance regional conference, a member of the International Committee, World Saxophone Congress (2006-2009), regional representative of the Asia Pacific Band Directors’ Association (2007-2010), and current member of the North American Saxophone Alliance.
Co-Director, Canadian Honour Band Project
Cheryl Ferguson received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance (French horn) and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND). She has also done graduate work at Southern Oregon University, and has earned a Master in Curriculum Studies (Music Education) at Acadia University (Nova Scotia). Cheryl has taught music at every level, including K-6 general music classes, ten years running junior high band programs, and has been in her current position as Director of Bands at Fort Richmond Collegiate since 2006. Cheryl is also the Director of Concert Band at Canadian Mennonite University. In 2013, Cheryl received the Manitoba Band Association Award of Distinction recognizing an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to music education in Manitoba. In 2014, she received the I. Keith Mann Outstanding Band Director Award. Cheryl was also awarded the Community Hero Award from the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 2018.
Learn more about Cheryl at Cheryl Ferguson
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Charles “Chip” Hamann earned a Bachelor of Music and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in 1993. He was appointed to the principal oboe chair of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1993 at the age of 22. Mr. Hamann has also served as guest principal oboe with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Quebec’s Les Violons du Roy. Mr. Hamann is Adjunct Professor of oboe at the University of Ottawa School of Music and was on the faculty of the NAC Summer Music Institute for twenty years.
Learn more about Chip at Chip Hamann
Chip is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Chris Donnelly is an instructor at the University of Toronto, an associate composer at the Canadian Music Centre, and has been nominated for two Juno Awards. Trained simultaneously as a classical pianist and a jazz pianist, his genre-bending repertoire is an eclectic mix of jazz, ragtime, stride, gospel, improvisation, original compositions and classical music. Chris is a member of Myriad3, a contemporary jazz trio playing mostly original music that features different aspects of jazz improvisation, ensemble performance and contemporary composition.
Learn more about Chris at Chris Donnelly
Chris is sponsored by the University of Toronto
A native of Toronto, Chris began playing tuba at the age of twelve at Winona Drive Senior Public School and instantly discovered a passion for performing. After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, Chris’ formal education included studies at McGill, the Montreal Conservatoire and Indiana University. Chris’ professional orchestral tuba career began overseas in Spain, performing as Principal Tuba with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia for 2 seasons from 2001 to 2003 before returning to Canada to take up the same position with the Winnipeg Symphony in 2003. Chris served as Principal Tuba with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for 15 seasons from 2003 until 2018, when he started as Principal Tuba with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Learn more about Chris at Chris Lee
Chris is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Montreal-based saxophonist and composer Christine Jensen has been described as, “an original voice on the international jazz scene… [and] one of Canada’s most compelling composers,”- The Globe and Mail. According to Downbeat Magazine, “Jensen writes in three dimensions, with a quiet kind of authority that makes the many elements cohere. Wayne Shorter, Maria Schneider and Kenny Wheeler come to mind.” Jensen took home the Juno Award for Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year with her first band album, Treelines in 2011. She currently holds the position of conductor of the orchestre national de jazz de Montréal, and is on faculty at University of Sherbrooke and McGill University, where she teaches composition and small and large ensembles.
Learn more about Christine at christinejensenmusic.com
Violist Christine Vlajk has performed extensively in North and South America, Europe, much of China, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Vlajk has Bachelor degrees in Viola Performance (B.M.) and Music Education (B.M.E.) from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a Masters degree in Viola Performance (M.M.) from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She has been guest soloist with the West Virginia Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Peterborough Symphony and the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.
Learn more about Christine at Christine Vlajk
Christine is sponsored by Laurier University
Colin is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator and composer/arranger. His conducting credits include collaboration with world-renowned artists and ensembles including the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia, Bulgaria, United States Air Force Band of Liberty, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Canadian Brass and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the official fanfare ensemble for the President of the United States. Colin was recognized in 2017 as a Molson Great Canadian, celebrating Canadians citizens who made a difference in their community, and was recently given an Honorary Lifetime Membership Award by the Ontario Band Association.
Learn more about Colin at Colin Clarke
Dan Fortin was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario. His eclectic tastes and stylistic flexibility have led to work with a wide variety of artists in the jazz, rock and pop worlds, including Bernice, The Allison Au Quartet, Queer Songbook Orchestra, Emilie-Claire Barlow, John Southworth, Serena Ryder, July Talk, Devon Sproule, Mike O’Neill, Bryn Roberts, David Occhipinti, Tara Davidson, Harley Card, Michael Davidson, Alex Goodman, and many others.
Dan is a co-leader of the trio MYRIAD3, along with pianist Chris Donnelly and drummer Ernesto Cervini. Together, they’ve released five albums for Alma Records: Tell (2012), The Where (2014 – Juno nominee), Tell((Chip)) (2015 – Donnelly’s electronic reimagining of their debut record), Moons, (2016), and Vera (2018.)
Learn more about Dan at Dan Fortin
Dan is sponsored by the University of Toronto
Co-Director, Canadian Honour Band Project
Darryl Ferguson received a Bachelor of Music (Applied Trumpet) from Brandon University, a Master’s of Music (Trumpet Performance) from the University of South Florida, and a Bachelor of Education (After Degree) from the University of Manitoba. He currently teaches at Acadia Junior High School in Winnipeg, MB, where he directs four concert bands and a jazz ensemble. In 2021, Darryl was awarded the Manitoba Band Association’s Award of Distinction in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music education in Manitoba. In 2018, Darryl was awarded the Fort Richmond MLA Community Hero Certificate for his service in the community. Darryl is involved in many Manitoba Band Association initiatives, including serving as the MBA representative for the Tempo Music Conference, chairperson for the Manitoba provincial Junior and Intermediate Honour Bands, chairperson for the MBA Jazz Festival, and co-chair of the MBA’s Solo Challenge.
Learn more about Darryl at Darryl Ferguson
David retired from the Toronto District School Board in January of 2021, after a 32-year teaching career with the Toronto District School Board and the Scarborough Board of Education. During that time, he served as Curriculum Leader and Assistant Curriculum Leader of Music at Agincourt Collegiate Institute. Prior to that, he was the Band Director at Bliss Carman Sr. Public School. Ensembles under his direction have been recognized for excellence both provincially and nationally, and have performed at Roy Thompson Hall, Massey Hall and the Toronto Centre for the Arts, as well as the Ontario Provincial Legislature.
Learn more about David at David Lum
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 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.
Learn more about Dennis at Adjudicators – Celebration Youth Music Festival (CYMF) (google.com)
Vice Chair, Orchestra/Strings
Donnie Deacon was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and continued his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London and the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He became principal second violin with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2001, the youngest player to do so in the history of the Orchestra. He was named Resident Artist in the Community for the National Arts Centre in 2016. Currently, Donnie is the conductor of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra and the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra.
Learn more about Donnie at Donnie Deacon
Douglas Burden has been the Bass Trombonist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1972. He has taught at the University of Ottawa since 1975. He was the bass trombone instructor at the McGill Faculty of Music in Montréal for six years from 2001 to 2007. For a period of five years from 1987 to 1992, he travelled weekly to Kingston and taught at Queen’s University. He was also a member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra for seventeen years from 1975 to1992.
Learn more about Douglas at Douglas Burden
Douglas is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Dr. Armand Hall
Dr. Armand Hall earned his Doctorate of Music Arts in wind conducting at Michigan State University, and Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Armand is the educational director and teaching artist for the Archipelago Project, a non-profit organization charged with engaging students in music and their instruments by teaching multiple folk idioms using pedagogical techniques based on the Venezuelan El Sistema model.
Learn more about Armand at Armand Hall
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.
Learn more about Colleen at Colleen Richardson
Dr. Elroy Friesen
Described as “innovative, expressive, and dynamic,” Dr. Elroy Friesen is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Manitoba, where he conducts numerous choirs and teaches graduate conducting. His award-winning ensembles tour nationally and internationally, and are frequently recorded and broadcasted by the CBC. Friesen’s award-winning ensembles tour nationally and internationally, and are frequently recorded and broadcasted by the CBC. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Winnipeg Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestras.
Friesen is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and conductor throughout North America and Northern Europe. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Schooner Cove Singers, a professional chamber choir based in Parksville, B.C. He is the co-founder of fikamusik, a Choral Conducting Intensive taught in the Desautels Faculty of Music. Friesen is also the past Artistic Director of Prairie Voices and has held positions of Artistic Director of the Mennonite Community Orchestra, Director of Choirs at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Urbana, Illinois, and Director of the University Chorus in Champaign, Illinois. He is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor throughout Canada, the United States, and Northern Europe.
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.
Learn more about Gillian at Gillian MacKay
Dr. Jaimie Hillman
Jamie Hillman is a Canadian and American musician, active as a conductor, music educator, singer, and pianist. He holds the endowed Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting at the University of Toronto where he is Director of Choral Studies and an Associate Professor. He conducts the U of T MacMillan Singers and leads the master’s and doctoral degree programs in Choral Conducting, as well as the annual summer Choral Conducting Symposium. Hillman is also Associate Conductor and Director of Community Engagement of the Toronto Mendelsohn Choir. Prior to relocating to Toronto in 2021, Hillman served on the faculties of Boston University Metropolitan College/Prison Education Program, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Gordon College, Kodaly Music Institute and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Learn more about Jaimie at Jaimie Hillman
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. 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.
Learn more about Jeffrey at Jeff Reynolds
Dr. LaToya Webb
Dr. LaToya Webb is an assistant professor of Music and Director of the Laurier Wind Orchestra. Before joining the Laurier Faculty of Music, she served as an assistant professor of Practice in Conducting, assistant director of Bands at the University of Texas at Austin, and instructor of Wind Conducting at Auburn and Grambling State University. She holds degrees from Norfolk State University, George Mason University, and Auburn University. As a passionate advocate for improving educational opportunities through diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, LaToya serves on the Composer Project Advisory Board and as the Special Projects Manager for United Sound, Inc. This organization strives to remove barriers and foster social change through music. She is also the Co-founder of I See You: Affirming Representation in Music, an organization aimed to affirm Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in all fields of music.
Learn more about LaToya at LaToya Webb
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.
Learn more abotu Mark at Dr. Mark Hopkins
Dr. Noam Lemish
Dr. Noam Lemish holds a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Jazz Performance and a Masters degree in Composition from the University of Toronto. He joined York University as Assistant Professor of Jazz Instruction and Pedagogy in 2020. He has appeared in numerous performances and conducted workshops across Canada, the US, Europe, Israel, and in Bhutan and has released multiple albums, including most recently Pardes (2018) and Sonic Truffles (2018). His teaching interests cover a wide variety of areas within jazz studies, composition, Jewish music, polyidiomatic improvisation and the practice of Deep Listening.
Learn more about Noam at Noam Lemish
Noam is sponsored by York University
Dr. Paul Rushka
Award-winning bassist Paul Rushka has engaged audiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia with his sonorous tone, assured confident pulse, and eloquent soloing since 1997. Active as a performer, jazz composer, arranger, and educator, Paul holds a Doctor of Music degree from McGill University.
Learn more about Paul at Paul Rushka
Paul is sponsored by St. Francis Xavier University
Dr. Pingyi Song
Dr. Pingyi Song is the Director of Choral Activities, and Assistant Professor at Coker University, South Carolina. Her most recent research study “Gender Issues and A Brief Introduction of Choral Literature by Eastern Asian Female Composers” was invited to present at the 2023 National ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the 2023 ACMI (Asian Classical Music Initiative) International Conference at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Pingyi Song holds a Choral Summer School Certificate from Oxford University, U.K., a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and a Post-Bachelorette Certificate in Music Education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and Master and Bachelor degrees from West Virginia University, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, and Guangzhou University, China.
Learn more about Pingyi at Dr. Pingyi Song
Dr. Tony Leong
Educator and conductor, Dr. Tony Nam-Hai Leong completed his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. An advocate for well-being and social change through accessible and lifelong music-making, community engagement is central to his work. Dr. Leong serves as MusicFest Canada’s Chairman of the Orchestra/Strings Division; Executive Member of the Canadian Music Educators’ Association; Past-President and member of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association Board of Directors; co-founding director of the Ontario Strings Association; Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician; and past Board Member of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada. With a passion for public and post-secondary education, Dr. Leong is an assistant professor, teaching stream at the University of Toronto Scarborough; an instructor at Queen’s University; and Head of the Arts Department at Sir Oliver Mowat C.I.. His research includes the intersections of string music education, technology, adolescents, and community music.
Learn more about Tony at Dr. Tony Nam-Hai Leong – Biography (tonyleong.ca)
Ernesto Cervini is a drum instructor at the University of Toronto and a guest lecturer at Humber College and York University. In addition to his performing career, he founded Orange Grove Publicity in 2014 and quickly became one of the most sought-after jazz publicists in Canada. Guitarist Alex Goodman, saxophonist Allison Au and bandleader/composer Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School are just some of the many highly respected artists represented by Orange Grove.
Learn more about Ernesto at Ernesto Cervini
Ernesto is sponsored by the University of Toronto.
François Dorion has been the Director of Music of the Regimental Band of Les Voltigeurs de Québec and of L’Harmonie de Charlesbourg for the last 30 years. He recently retired from a career as a high school teacher and is a composer of music for beginning band, some of which is published by Hal Leonard. He currently serves as principal conducting instructor at the Canadian Forces School of Music, and is the teacher for the Master’s Degree in Conducting at Université Laval. He has developed an innovative online program for continuing education in music entitled ‘Expressive Conducting’. Mr. Dorion regularly appears at conducting workshops and works as a Yamaha Artist Conductor-Educator.
Learn more about François at François Dorion
Principal cellist of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Gordon Cleland has performed across North America. He teaches cello at Brock University and is an instructor with Suzuki Niagara and the Niagara Youth Orchestra. Gordon has adjudicated music festivals across Canada and runs a private studio in the Niagara region. Gordon earned a Master of Music degree from Boston University.
Learn more about Gordon at Gordon Cleland
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. 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. 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,
Learn more about Greg at Greg Jasperse
Heather Macdonald is a sought-after orchestral and chamber musician in the Toronto area. She currently acts as a coach to the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the University of Toronto (U of T), and as part of the ensemble-in-residence for U of T’s composition seminar. She has performed with orchestras across North America, including the Colorado Symphony, Boulder Philharmonic, Cheyenne Symphony, and numerous orchestras across Ontario. She is on faculty at McMaster University’s School of the Arts, where she teaches oboe lessons. She also leads studio classes and teaches lessons as a teaching assistant in the oboe studio at U of T. She holds a Master of Music from the University of Colorado, an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School in Toronto, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Ottawa. She is currently working towards the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Toronto.
Learn more about Heather at Heather Macdonald
Heather is sponsored by McMaster University
Ian has been a Double Bass instructor the Faculty of Music at Wilfred Laurier University since September 2012 and has been involved with the KWS Youth Orchestra program as a coach since 2010. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree at McGill University and a Master of Music is from Yale University School of Music. Ian made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York and Symphony Hall in Boston, and has appeared as a soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, performed with the Penderecki String Quartet, the NUMUS Ensemble. He has performed with l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Calgary Philharmonic. Recently, he has been invited to play as guest principal bass with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic, and the Niagara Symphony.
Learn more about Ian at Ian Whitman
Ian is sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier University.
Vice-Chair, Concert Band
Isabelle Brassard-Porter has had a long musical career as a performer, conductor and educator. As a professional flutist and piccoloist, she had the chance to perform orchestral masterworks from the post romantic era for thirty-two seasons with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Brassard-Porter was the head of the instrumental music program at the Béatrice-Desloges High School Specialized Arts Program where she conducted numerous ensembles including the Béatrice-Desloges Senior Wind Orchestra which has won the highest honors at numerous festivals in Canada, the United States and Europe.
In 2012, MusicFest Canada recognized Ms. Brassard-Porter with the Keith Mann Outstanding Director Award of Excellence. Over the course of her career, Isabelle has inspired countless young people to discover the joy and benefits of making music and is happy to continue this mission at MusicFest Canada .
Janet Song Kim
Dr. Janet 성은(Song-eun, or Song, for short) Kim (any pronouns) is the Assistant Professor of Music and director of the Wind Ensemble at the University of Connecticut. In this role, they conducts the UCONN Wind Ensemble in addition to teaching conducting and wind literature classes. Kim earned their doctor of musical arts degree in conducting from The Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to this, they earned a master of arts degree in instrumental conducting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and their bachelor of music degree in music education and jazz studies, magna cum laude, from Montclair State University.
Learn more about Janet at Janet Kim
Trumpeter Jason Logue has grown to be one of Canada’s ﬁnest musicians and composers. He has performed or recorded with such jazz artists as Sam Rivers, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Dave Brubek, Phil Nimmons, Dave Grusin, Louis Belson, Kenny Wheeler, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Guido Basso, Jim McNeeley and Rob McConnell.
Jason is currently on the Faculty at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario and The University of Toronto.
Learn more about Jason at Jason Logue
Jason is sponsored by the University of Toronto.
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.
A native of Toronto, violinist Jeremy Bell earned a B. Mus degree from the University of Toronto, and from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he received his Masters and Doctor of Music. Dr. Bell is a recipient of numerous grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts and is a prize winner of the Eckhardt Grammatté National competition and the Conseil Québécois’ Prix Opus. He has studied with David Zafer, George Neikrug, Joyce Robbins, Metro Kozak and with members of the Orford, Juilliard, Tokyo, and Orion string quartets. Joining the Penderecki String Quartet in 1999, Dr. Bell is Artist in Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University where he teaches violin and chamber music.
Learn more about Jeremy at Jeremy Bell
Jeremy is sponsored by Laurier University
Jerzy is an Associate Professor, Violin, Strings and Chamber Music, and the String Coordinator at Wilfred Laurier University. He a member of the Penderecki String Quartet, artist in residence. Jerzy was born in Poland and began his musical training at the age of six on piano and transitioned to the violin at age ten. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Conservatory in Bytom and a Master’s Degree in Arts from the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice.
Learn more about Jerzy at Jerzy Kaplanek
Jerzy is sponsored by Laurier University
Chair, Choral/Vocal Jazz
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. He taught music at Humberview SS, Central Peel SS, Mayfield SS, Humber College and the University of Toronto Jazz Performance Program where his groups received national and international recognition, 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.
Jonathan enjoys an active career as a composer and arranger for wind orchestra. His compositions are included in many North American concert band music festival syllabuses, and are currently published worldwide by Alfred Music, Hafabra Music and Eighth Note Publications.
Learn more about Jonathan at Jonathan Dagenais
Katie is Artist-in-Residence (Penderecki String Quartet), Cello, Strings and Chamber Music Instructor at Wilfred Laurier University. She received her Doctoral and Master’s degrees from Stony Brook University and Bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory. Katie taught cello at the University of Connecticut from 2010-2013 while maintaining a private teaching studio in Stony Brook, NY for seven years.
Learn more about Katie at Katie Schlaikjer
Katie is sponsored by Laurier University.
Kelly Jefferson has a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill University in Montreal and a Masters degree from Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He is a faculty member at York University in Toronto. Kelly has toured extensively in Canada, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Europe, South Korea and China, including a nine-month tour with legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. Mr. Jefferson has also adjudicated at music festivals across Canada and has given numerous workshops throughout Canada, the United States and China.
Learn more about Kelly at Kelly Jefferson
Kimball Sykes joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as principal clarinet in 1985. Born in Vancouver, he received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of British Columbia. He has performed and toured with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. While in Vancouver, he was a founding member of the Vancouver Wind Trio. From 1983 to 1985 he was principal clarinet of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.
Learn more about Kimball at Kimball Sykes
Kimball is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Principal Horn with the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 2002, Lawrence Vine has also served as Principal Horn with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. He regularly performs at home and on tour with the National Arts Centre Wind Quintet, a highly acclaimed ensemble that has recorded for the Naxos label. As a soloist, he has appeared with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra.
Learn more about Lawrence at Lawrence Vine
Lawrence is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Dr. McGray earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she studied with Dr. Mallory Thompson. She received the Master of Music degree in conducting from University of Toronto, studying with Dr. Gillian MacKay, and Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees from Acadia University. Dr. McGray has taught band and orchestra for middle and high school music programs in Canada, and is in demand internationally as a conductor and adjudicator.
Learn more about Leah at Leah McGray
Megan Collings teaches music at Central Peel Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario where she is the head of the Arts Department and responsible for the Regional Strings program. She is the Executive Director of the Ontario Vocal Festival and a Regional Coordinator for the Concert and Chamber Festival West. Megan believes that music can create an equitable, inclusive and diverse community where student ownership can lead to student empowerment.
Moeen Hosain is the District Manager for Canada for Conn-Selmer Musical Instruments. He has been involved in the many facets of the music industry and music education for over 20 years. He is a sought after Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble clinician in 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)
Learn more about Moeen at Moeen Hosain
Treasurer, Associate Director
Neil has composed over 55 works at various levels for jazz ensemble, available through UNC Jazz Press and Burnihla Music Publishing and distributed worldwide by J.W. Pepper. 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 directs the renowned Nepean All-City Jazz Band, one of Canada’s per-eminent student jazz ensembles for the last 35 years. In 2018, he was named the inaugural winner of the Tommy Banks Outstanding Jazz Director Award. In 2020, he was named an Honourary Life Member of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association.
Learn more about Neil at Neil Yorke-Slader
Neil is sponsored by Burnihla Music.
Peggy Hua has been active in the diverse music scenes of Vancouver. With Taiwanese heritage and connection to Chinese culture, Peggy is currently appointed as the Resident Conductor of the BC Chinese Orchestra and BC Chinese Music Ensemble, Conductor of Egret Taiwanese Choir, Left Coast Labour Chorus, Vancouver Huaren Choir, and Artistic Director of Downton Singers. In 2014, Peggy directed Cor Flammae as the inaugural guest conductor and is currently the associate conductor of the choir. In 2016, Peggy was invited to guest conduct the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra in the Bamboo – Vietnamese and Intercultural Fusions concert featuring Contemporary Vietnamese and Canadian composers. Peggy has also been on the faculty of University of British Columbia School of Music teaching choral conducting.
Learn more about Peggy at Peggy Hua
Pierre Long-Tao Tang
Dr. Pierre Tang oversees the instrumental ensemble program, directs the orchestra and wind ensemble, and serves as the conductor for the annual musical theatre and opera productions at Pepperdine University. Selected presentations of his scholarly research on conducting studies include the Oxford Conducting Institute International Conference and the California All-State Music Educators Conference. Tang currently also serves as the Director of Music at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Newbury Park, California. Before his orchestral pursuits, Tang completed master’s degrees in both wind conducting and choral music, and specialized in piano performance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Vice-Chair, Concert Band
Pratik Ghandi received a B.Mus. in music education and an M.Mus. in conducting from the University of Western Ontario. He is currently a doctoral student at York University in Toronto, researching issues of equity and representation among wind band composers in Canada. His article, “Composer Representation in Canadian Wind Band Festival Lists”, was published in the Fall 2020 issue of Canadian Winds. For more information, please visit www.pratikgandhi.ca .
Learn more about Pratik at Pratik Gandhi, Conductor
Montreal-born Richard Hoenich enjoys a distinguished career as a performer, conductor, and educator. He has conducted professional orchestras on four continents and at such prestigious venues as the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid, and the Salle Pleyel in Paris. In Canada, he has conducted the Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, among others. During his tenure as principal bassoon with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1991 he was appointed associate conductor of the MSO by music director Charles Dutoit.
Learn more about Richard at Richard Hoenich
Richard is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Robert Miller has established himself as one of Canada’s leading euphonium soloists, and has held positions as Principal Euphonium and soloist with many of Canada’s finest brass ensembles. Currently the Solo Euphonium with Canada’s premier professional brass band, the Hannaford Street Silver Band, Mr. Miller is also Principal Euphonium of the Salvation Army Mississauga Temple Band, and the Weston Silver Band, of which he is Associate Conductor. He has maintained a busy private euphonium studio for many years, and is honoured to have been a member of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music as Euphonium Instructor since 2007.
Learn more about Robert at Robert Miller
Robert is sponsored by Yamaha Canada
Ronald George is a musician in a variety of roles: teacher, soloist, chamber and orchestral player. He has been principal horn with Orchestra London (Canada) since 1979 and appeared as soloist with the orchestra numerous times. Born in San Francisco, Ron’s studies began with Earl Saxton and Robert Creech through high school in Vancouver. At the University of Toronto, he studied with Eugene Rittich. In Germany he worked with Hermann Baumann. He is a Lecturer at Western University in London, ON
Learn more about Ron at Ron George
Ron is sponsored by Western University
Toronto-native Rosalind Zhang is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, and performer who credits her colourful experiences to her artistic upbringing. She spent her formative years immersed in a fast-paced curriculum that strived for both artistic and academic excellence at the Claude Watson School for the Arts, where she received additional training in acting, improvisation, movement, visual arts, creativity, and dance. She obtained certification as an Associate of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto in Piano Performance before she officially accepted her admission to the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, majoring in cello alone. After receiving her Bachelor degree and an Advanced Certificate in Performance, she moved to New York and continued her cello studies at the Manhattan School of Music.
Learn more about Rosalind at Rosalind Zhang
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, including conducting the Alberta Youth Choir, the 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Ellison Canadian Honour Choir. 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. Scott is also the Vice Chairman of Choral/Vocal Division for MusicFest Canada.
Learn more about Scott at Scott Leithead
Scott is sponsored by Kokopelli
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 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.
Learn more about Sharon at Sharon Fitzsimmins
Shawn Spicer has been a professional trumpet player and educator since 1990. He has played in orchestras across Canada and was principal trumpet of Orchestra London Canada from 1999 to 2014. Shawn is the principal trumpet of the London Symphonia and is in demand as a freelance player across Ontario Canada.
Learn more about Shawn at Shawn Spicer
Shawn is sponsored by Western University
Dr. Sommer Forrester serves as an Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She teaches undergraduate music education courses in instrumental music and conducting, advises undergraduate music majors, conducts the UMass Boston Orchestra, and oversees all aspects of the Music Teacher Licensure Program. A former classroom teacher, Forrester taught instrumental music for eight years in three different countries: Kuwait, Israel, and Canada.
Learn more about Sommer at Sommer Forrester
Canadian flautist Stephen Tam is equally comfortable as soloist, chamber musician or orchestral player, performing repertoire ranging from the baroque to the contemporary. First-Prize Winner of the 32nd CBC/Radio-Canada National Competition for Young Performers, Stephen has appeared as concerto soloist in recent seasons with the Canadian Sinfonietta, the Ontario Philharmonic and Counterpoint Community Orchestra. Past concerto engagements included collaborations with the Calgary Philharmonic, the Banff Festival Orchestra and the Toronto Senior Strings.
Learn more about Stephen at Stephen Tam
Stephen is sponsored by Western University
Steven van Gulik
Ottawa trumpeter Steven van Gulik joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2009. He began learning the cornet at age eight with his uncle Kenneth Moore and performed in the local Salvation Army church. An active chamber musician, he performs annually at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and regularly joins Ottawa’s Capital BrassWorks brass ensemble. Steven van Gulik has been principal trumpet of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as a soloist with this orchestra, as well as with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Learn more about Steven at Steven van Gulik
Steven is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Victor Herbiet studied saxophone with Peter Smith and Noël Samyn and composition with Steven Gellman at the University of Ottawa where he obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in saxophone performance. His most recent compositions for solo saxophone and clarinet were featured as compulsory works for the 2019 Saxiana International Competition in France, to which he was invited as adjudicator. Victor is currently adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Music. He publishes his compositions through Gérard Billaudot, Dorn Publications and the Canadian Music Centre. Victor has been playing principal saxophone with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra since 2007.
Learn more about Victor at Victor Herbiet
Victor is sponsored by the University of Ottawa
Waleed Abdulhamid is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, music and film producer, and is known for his striking vocals, innovative bass technique, and his speed and precision on percussion. He has been an active member of the Toronto music scene since his arrival from Sudan in 1992, and is the recipient of the Canadian New Pioneer Award, African Tama Award, Reel World Film Festival Award, Canadian Film Board of Excellence Award, and twice the DORA Award. He demonstrates his versatility playing 20 instruments: guitar; bass; drums; flute; harmonica; kirin; bass kirin; darabhuka; marimba; balimbo; congas; bongos; djembe; dumbek; aghera; tambour; cajun; denger; ekaa; tama. Waleed is currently a faculty member in
the music department of the University of Toronto. Formerly, he worked for twenty years as a professor in the Music Degree Program at Humber College.
Learn more about Waleed at Waleed Abudulhamid
Trombonist William Carn has emerged as one of Canada’s leading contemporary jazz trombonists and composer. He has performed internationally as well as throughout Canada. His recordings, Carn Davidson NINE and Other Stories, have been nominated Juno Awards in 2014 and 2007 respectively. Most recently, he was nominated for a Down Beat Magazine Rising Star award in 2015. As a bandleader, William currently leads several groups; the William Carn Quintet, his quartet Run Stop Run, and most recently, a co-lead ensemble with saxophonist Tara Davidson, named the Carn Davidson 9.
Learn more about William at William Carn
William is sponsored by the University of Toronto.
Zoltan Kalman was born in Hungary. He received his training at the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and obtained his Masters in Clarinet Performance and Chamber Music. Before his arrival to Canada, he served as principal clarinet with the Hungarian Opera House in Budapest.
Mr. Kalman is principal clarinetist with both, the Niagara Symphony and Burlington Symphony, and appears regularly with the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera Company. He is currently the clarinet, saxophone and chamber music instructor at McMaster University in Hamilton, and conductor of the University Wind Ensemble at Brock University in St. Catharines, where he teaches clarinet, saxophone, and Woodwind Techniques.
Learn more about Zoltan at Zoltan Kalman
Zoltan is sponsored by McMaster University