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.
Brian O’Kane was recently appointed Head of Brass Studies at Canada’s prestigious Humber School of Creative and Performing Arts. 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
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.
Ernesto graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) with degrees in classical piano and clarinet performance before focusing his energies behind the drum kit. After completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto, he began a four-year stint in New York in 2003, earning a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music before returning to Toronto in 2007. Ernesto received a JUNO Award for his 2019 Turboprop release Abundance, as well as JUNO nominations for his 2017 Turboprop release Rev, and The Where, by his co-led trio Myriad3. His 2019 release There From Here with the co-led trio TuneTown hit #1 on the Canadian !earshot charts and his newest release, Tetrahedron debuted at #1 on the Canadian Jazz iTunes charts.
Ernesto is sponsored by the University of Toronto.
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 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 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.
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.
Elaine McLeod began her cello studies in Winnipeg, and pursued further studies at Queens University and UWO, supplemented by summers at the Banff School of Fine Arts and the National Youth Orchestra. She holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from Queens University, a Masters of Music performance and Literature from UWO and a Bachelor of Education Fine Arts with a specialization in Music from York University.
She has recently retired from teaching Strings in the TDSB. As part of her commitment to excellence in school string playing, Elaine teaches and adjudicates at a variety of workshops, festivals and symposia. She enjoys all aspects of cello playing, and performs chamber and orchestral music.
Elaine plays with the Mississauga Symphony and is an avid chamber musician. She also enjoys swimming, yoga and literature. Elaine and husband Norm have four adult children: Alex and Rory began their studies with Etobicoke Suzuki Music and now play viola professionally. Alex is the Academic Manager and Parkdale Centre Director for Sistema Toronto. Daughter Brynne sings with the Semperopera in Dresden, Germany. Cameron is in Prince George BC studying Environmental Engineering.
Dan is often called on by local jazz musicians and choirs to play acoustic and electric bass for their groups in performance and recordings. Dan’s percussive bass playing style is very complimentary to the sound of the New Vibes Jazz Quartet, a group he co-founded in 1990 and already boasts two other percussionists. While Dan is classically trained, he grew up playing everything from rock to R&B, classical to jazz. Dan continues to play with the Waterloo Chamber Players as well as the NVJQ. He has recently retired from teaching the strings program at Waterloo Collegiate, where he got many local musicians off to a great start in their musical careers.
Wendy Grasdahl is a conductor, trumpet performer, educator and adjudicator. Her professional work encompasses teaching at university and college levels across Canada, military band work and private instruction.
As an officer in the Canadian Naval Reserve, Wendy has conducted military bands in Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Nova Scotia. She is in demand as a clinician and guest conductor for school programs, as well as summer music programs, including 12 years at the International Music Camp at the Peace Garden on the Manitoba/U.S. border where she received the Distinguished Service Award for conducting and promoting band in North America. Wendy received the Faculty Association Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of P.E.I., the City of Edmonton Salute to Excellence Citation Award in Arts & Culture in 2014 and in 2019 the Alberta Band Association awarded her the “Vondis Miller Legacy” Award.
Having appeared as a trumpet soloist and in professional ensembles across Canada, Wendy is a founding member of the brass quintet “Five of a Kind”, and has played Solo Cornet with the Mill Creek Colliery Brass Band. She is the founder, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Festival City Winds Music Society which is now in its 25th season. Wendy currently teaches trumpet and is Director of Bands at Concordia University of Edmonton, and teaches Instrumental Conducting at The King’s University, Edmonton. She has adjudicated festivals at local, regional, and national levels in 8 provinces to date.
Ms. Grasdahl holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music History from the University of Alberta, a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Calgary, and a graduate level Fine Arts Diploma in Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble Conducting and Literature from the University of Calgary.
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.
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. During her three-year tenure overseas at American International Schools, she taught elementary music, beginning band, and directed middle and high school level ensembles. In addition, Forrester was an instructor at a local conservatory of music that served refugee children from the West Bank. Forrester returned to her native country to assume the role as Director of Bands at Havergal College, a private girls’ school in Toronto Canada.
Forrester is committed to creating a learning space that privileges the process of learning over a definitive goal. She frequently collaborates with scholars, educators, and performers as a way to inspire and guide her research and creative output, while serving as an example for students. She is deeply invested in examining teacher education in different disciplines as a way to inform and reimagine preservice and in-service music teacher education. Forrester examines education in different contexts including overseas, as a means to understand the experiences of first-generation minority students in North American schools. Her current research project involves studying music teaching and learning in Palestine. Forrester is actively involved in community partnerships and service-learning initiatives within the Boston Area. Current partnerships include: Boston Public Schools, YoFES, and the GIFT program. In 2018, Forrester was awarded the Community-Engaged Innovative Teaching Award from UMass Boston.
Forrester’s research explores teacher education, teacher knowledge, curriculum, and conducting pedagogy. Forrester is published in prominent peer-reviewed research journals and practitioner journals including the Journal of Research in Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, and the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Journal. She is an active guest conductor, clinician, and conference presenter. Recent presentations include regional, national, and international music education conferences and teacher in-service workshops in the United States, Canada, China, and Scotland. Forrester serves as a peer reviewer for the American Educational Research Association, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Music Educators Journal.
Dr. Forrester earned her PhD in Music Education from the University of Michigan with a cognate in Wind Conducting; a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Michigan; a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto; and a Honors Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Western Ontario. Forrester is an active member of the National Association for Music Education, Massachusetts Music Education Association, Society for Music Teacher Education, International Society for Music Education, American Educational Research Association, and College Band Director’s National Association.
Mary Schneider is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Eastern Michigan University, where she conducts the Wind Symphony, teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in conducting and music education, directs the Music Now Contemporary Music Festival, and oversees and guides all aspects of EMU’s comprehensive band program. Prior to her appointment to EMU in the fall of 2008, Dr. Schneider served for three years as the Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Minnesota. She holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She has also earned degrees in horn performance and music education from the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Connecticut.
Active nationally and internationally as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, Dr. Schneider brings a diverse background to the podium and to her students in the classroom. Schneider’s career teaching experience includes many years as a public school music educator in northern New Jersey, where she also maintained a busy performing schedule as a hornist. An elected member of the American Bandmasters Association, Dr. Schneider is currently Vice-President of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association, and has served two terms as President of the Mid-American Conference Band Directors Association. Additionally, she maintains professional affiliations with the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, National Band Association, and the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association.
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.
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.
Vice-Chair, Concert Band
Pratik Gandhi is a conductor, percussionist, clinician, and researcher based in Toronto. He currently serves as music director of the Rouge River Winds and resident conductor of the Toy Piano Composers Ensemble. Pratik is currently a finalist for music director positions with the Northdale Concert Band and the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra. Previously, he has served as assistant conductor of Symphony on the Bay (now the Burlington Symphony Orchestra) for five years, and as associate conductor with the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra for three years. In November 2019, as guest conductor with TYWO, Pratik shared the podium with composer-conductor Johan de Meij, and led the ensemble in a piece featuring soloist Joe Alessi, principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic.
In frequent demand as a guest conductor and adjudicator across southwestern Ontario, Pratik serves as adjudicator and Vice-Chair for the concert band division of MusicFest Canada, as well as syllabus coordinator for the OBA Provincial Band Festival. He also adjudicated concert bands at the 2017 Alberta International Band Festival in Calgary. Pratik regularly presents workshops on conducting techniques, wind repertoire, and percussion pedagogy.
Pratik is also a champion of new music, and has conducted the premiere of numerous works for orchestra, wind band, and chamber ensembles. Under his leadership, the Rouge River Winds have helped to commission new works from Steven Bryant, Giovanni Santos, and Bill Thomas. With the Toy Piano Composers, Pratik has directed the premieres of works by Elisha Denburg, Alex Eddington, August Murphy-King, and Monica Pearce, among many others. Pratik is credited as conductor on three albums of contemporary music: Bekah Simms’ impurity chains (conducting two tracks, including the Juno-nominated “Granitic”); the Toy Piano Composers’ self-titled debut album; and the recent premiere recording of Benjamin Sajo’s The Great War Sextet.
Pratik 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 .
Christine Hansen retired after 33 years as an Intermediate and High School music teacher. As head of Department at Canterbury High School in Ottawa, Christine helped initiate and administer the specialty music portion of the successful Eastern Ontario Programme of the Arts at Canterbury. After her retirement from secondary school teaching, Christine taught Intermediate and Senior Music courses in the University of Ottawa Education Faculty. She continues to guest lecture at the University, adjudicate at Music Festivals and conduct workshops and clinics with Concert Bands.
Christine, an Ottawa native, obtained her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and her Master of Music Education at State University, Potsdam, New York. She is an affiliate of member of C.M.E.A.,O.M.E.A.,C.B.D.A.,O.B.A. and Phi Beta Mu.
Currently Christine performs on French Horn with the National Capital Concert Band and the Manotick Brass Ensemble in Ottawa.
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.
Dr. Andrew Scott’s professional work has impacted many aspects of the music industry. As a guitarist/arranger and composer, Andrew has amassed a considerable discography and gigography performing and/or recording with a diverse roster of groups and players that includes Gene DiNovi, Jim Clayton, Four80East, Jackie Richardson, Bernie Senensky, Archie Alleyne, Mike Downes and Marc Jordan. Andrew is the recipient of the, Toronto Independent Music, Canadian Urban Music, and four Canadian “Smooth” Jazz Awards. Andrew’s compositions have been heard in such films and television shows as Pretend We’re Kissing, Cubicle Warriors, Old Stock, Pop Switch, Mothers and Daughters, CBC’s The Border. As a scholar, Andrew, who earned his PhD in 2006, has lectured at universities and for conferences across North America. He has been published in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and many other journals. As a culmination of these diverse interests and experiences, Andrew is Acting Dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Humber’s where he oversees the Music Business and Music Marketing areas and acts in the capacity of Humber Music’s Academic Advisor. Andrew, an advocate for interdisciplinary applied research and work that lies at the nexus of Music and Business, is currently serving as the Acting Director (2014/2015 academic year) for Humber College’s Bachelor of Music Degree.
Sponsored by: Humber College
- Location: Etobicoke, ON
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. 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. 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.
Andy is sponsored by Woodshed Percussion
Stephen Wick is the CEO of Denis Wick (London) Products Ltd. He earned his Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the University of Surrey (Guildford, England) in 1976. Stephen plays tuba in the Anima Eterna Brugge orchestra, based in Bruges, Belgium. He was a member of the Oslo Philharmonic, and has performed with leading orchestras from Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, Milan, Helsinki and Amsterdam. He teaches serpent, ophicleide and tuba at the Royal Academy of Music, and at The Purcell School in Bushey, England, the oldest specialist music school in the UK.
In the jazz field, he has played in bands led by such greats as John Dankworth and Kenny Wheeler. He has played tuba on hundreds of film scores, from John Huston’s ‘The Man who would be King’ in 1975 to modern films such as Alien, Rambo, Batman, Gladiator and Star Wars. He has also recorded with Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin.
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 Master’s degree in Conducting from McGill University and a Bachelor’s degree in Composition from the Université de Montréal. Currently, he is a guest lecturer at the Sherbrooke University School of Music, where he teaches instrumental composition (wind orchestra). In addition to teaching in cegep and university, (music theory, composition, analysis, ear training, musicianship and conducting), 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.
Jonathan is conductor and artistic director of the Orchestre à Vents Non Identifié (OVNI), a Montreal wind orchestra he co-founded in 2005. In 2010 and 2017, he was appointed conductor of the McGill Wind Orchestra. He is also the conductor of the Cercle Philharmonique de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (CPSJ), a position he has held since September 2012. In September 2015, he was named conductor of the Orchestre de jeux vidéo – OJV (Montreal Video Game Orchestra), an ensemble dedicated to video game soundtracks. Most recently in 2019, he was appointed principal conductor of the Ottawa Pops Orchestra (OPO). In 2017, he became the artistic director of Musicfest Quebec. He has been a guest conductor for many Canadian honour bands including The National Youth Band of Canada (NYB). Jonathan is a Yamaha Canada Master Artist Educator, a guest conductor and clinician for Twigg Musique and the Fédération des Harmonies and Quebec Symphony Orchestras.
President (deceased Feb. 10, 2021)
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
Vice Chair, Instrumental Jazz
He 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. In 1988, his Senior Jazz Ensemble placed first at the national festival(then called Musicfest Canada). Bob is a regular at Musicfest Canada. Since 2012 Bob has conducted the Metro Vancouver Firefighters Band.
- Location: Maple Ridge B.C
Musicfest 2018 is fast approaching and we are very happy to have all of your continuing support for this inspiring event. I have personally been with Music Fest for the past 14 years and have progressed through many roles from, registration, adjudication secretary, adjudication logistics director, Communications Coordinator, This year I am currently updating the web site for members, guests, bios, and their photos.
Every year I am touched and inspired by the creative venues offered, students reactions, and to the wonderful team that is “Musicfest”
Joanne D. Pittock
Honour Ensembles Coordinator
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, Concert Band
Jim Ferris from McDougall has adjudicated bands at various music festivals across the country at both regional and national levels. He is presently responsible for the sight-reading segment of MusicFest Canada’s Concert Band Division. Jim Ferris earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Western Ontario and his Master of Education degree from the University of Toronto. Following his retirement after 32 years of teaching, he was the Education Consultant for Yamaha’s Music in Educational program until he retired from that position in December 2005. In 1999 he was awarded the Canadian Band Journals. Outstanding Directors Award and was inducted into MusicFest Canada’s Hall of Fame for his long outstanding contribution to Music Education.
- Location: McDougall, On.
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.
Internet Technologies Director
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.
Treasurer, Associate Director
Neil has composed over 50 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. 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. In 2016, he was named to the MusicFest Hall of Fame. 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. He is considered one of the leading Canadian authorities on the teaching of stage band fundamentals and rehearsal techniques.
Neil is sponsored by Burnihla Music.
Mr. Howard is an author, adjudicator, arranger, producer, performer and a former faculty member at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He was the recipient of the “Berklee College of Music Distinguished Alumnus Award” in 1989.
Mr. Howard has been the Executive Director of MusicFest Canada for the past 30 years and has been involved with the festival for 36 years. Prior to that Mr. Howard served as Visiting Professor of Jazz Studies at Sir Wilfred Laurier University, Jazz Ensemble Director at McMaster University and the Senior Faculty Member and Teaching Master at Mohawk College.
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
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’s school bands won many provincial and national awards and his groups have performed in Japan, Europe, the US and in every major city in Canada. Many of his former students are professional musicians and music educators, the best known being international stars Diana Krall, Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen, and Carmella Luvisotto.
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.
What Bryan enjoys most is working with music students of all ages.