Music Adjudicators – 2020

Special thank you to all for your devotion to young people!
The Kiwanis Music Festival reserves the right to substitute or appoint other adjudicators.

Senior Piano & Concertos – Dr. Brigitte Poulin

February 18 – February 28, 2020

Montreal-based, Brigitte Poulin is an active and accomplished soloist, chamber musician, vocal accompanist and teacher whose repertoire covers all periods. A proponent of 20th and 21st century music, Brigitte has commissioned and premiered more than fifty works for solo piano, prepared piano and various chamber ensembles.

Graduated from the Vienna Music Academy, the Montreal music Conservatory and the Université de Montréal (DMus), Brigitte has been artist in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Brigitte counts among her faithful collaborators baryton Vincent Ranallo, doublebassist Ali Yazdanfar and pianist Jean Marchand. She has also founded two contemporary chamber ensembles: Ensemble Transmission and Trio Phoenix.

Brigitte Poulin teaches as a part-time lecturer at both The Schulich Music School of McGill University and Université de Montréal. She is regularly called upon to adjudicate Arts Councils grant proposals as well as Canadian Music Competitions. She is as well a member of the Summer Academy of Orford Music and the Domaine Forget.

Her most recent CD recordings include: Folklore imaginaire music by Ana Sokolović (Naxos), Pierrot lunaire (Atma), Transmission, and her own solo CD Édifices Naturels (Dame). Her performances can be heard on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Naxos Records.

Intermediate Piano – Dr. Andrew Aarons

February 18 – February 28, 2020

Canadian pianist Andrew Aarons has given performances in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall in New York; the Manuel Theatre in Valletta, Malta; and the Wigmore Hall in London, England. He has been heard on live radio in Canada and the United States and has been soloist with numerous orchestras, including the National Academy Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, and L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec.

Andrew is featured exclusively on the Introductory CD recordings which accompany the 2008 ABRSM edition of the Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas, edited by Barry Cooper.

Having been a student of Marc Durand and Leon Fleisher in modern piano and Colin Tilney in period instrument, Andrew was more recently a pupil of late Yonty Solomon (modern piano) and David Ward (forte-piano). Andrew holds a degree of Doctor of Music from the Royal College of Music (RCM), London. His research focused on the concept of quality sound and tone production on the modern piano and its practical application in artistic interpretation and performance.

In the digital world, Andrew produces a series on YouTube called ‘Ask a Pianist’, wherein he demonstrates complex artistic concepts that underpin high-level performance on the piano. He recently adjudicated the Crescendo Competition (2018), the Pickering GTA Music Festival (2019), and the 2019 Markham Music Festival. Dr. Aarons maintains a studio of select students in Toronto.

Junior Piano (Week 1) – Petya Stavreva

February 18 – February 20, 2020

Pianist Petya Stavreva is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Western University. She finished her master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving full scholarship and grant support from Canada Arts Council and the Webb Trust Fund at the Glenn Gould School. She was an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for ten weeks. Her doctoral thesis is focused on referential meaning in Rachmaninov’s first piano sonata.

Petya is currently based in both Toronto and London. Throughout her career she has performed in Europe and North America both collaboratively and as a soloist. She is active as a collaborative/chamber pianist, and is described to have “extraordinary ability to place the sound of the piano exactly where the soloist needs it to be” (Quinte Arts Council Umbrella). Petya is quickly becoming in demand as an educator, and has been an adjudicator for the Kiwanis Festival in Toronto, the Pickering GTA Music Festival, the Brant Music Festival, the Kiwanis Festival in Ottawa as well as the Ontario Music Festival Association in Hamilton. Additionally, while undergoing training for the Royal Conservatory College of Examiners, she maintains a busy teaching studio in London and Toronto/Mississauga.

Petya has been a prize winner of numerous competitions in Canada and Europe such as the international competition “Franz Schubert” in Rousse, international competition “Music and Earth” in Sofia, among many others, and has performed concertos with the Toronto Sinfonietta Orchestra. Recently she performed at the Aeolian Hall in London, as part of the Emerging Classical Artist Series. Earlier last year, she collaborated with Canadian baritone Peter McGillivray for a recital as part of the Quinte Society for Chamber Music. Her newly formed Duo Avante with pianist Todd Yaniw is looking forward to several engagements next season including a recording project and performances in Toronto, Kitchener, Mississauga and Caledon.

Petya obtained an Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School on full scholarship, and a bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto. Shortly after moving to Canada, Petya also attended the Taylor Performance Academy in Toronto with full scholarship. She has been very fortunate to have studied with a variety of teachers including Leslie Kinton, Anton Nel, James Anagnoson, Jamie Parker, Marietta Orlov and Arshalouis Nersessian. While in Austin, Petya also studied collaborative piano in addition to her solo degree, with Anne Epperson. Petya has spent many summers as a pianist in festivals such as the Bowdoin Music Festival as a collaborative Fellow, Young Artist Program in Ottawa, the Banff Chamber and Solo Residencies, Nice Academy in France, and Toronto Summer Music Festival.

Junior Piano (Week 2) – Michael Faulkner

February 24 – February 28, 2020

An active member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association (ORMTA) Kingston Branch and National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Michael Faulkner holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Queen’s University and is also a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music A.R.C.T. (Piano Performer and Teacher, Vocal Performer and Teacher). Michael is also a member of the Canadian Music Festivals Adjudicators Association (CMFAA) and has adjudicated numerous music festivals and competitions as well as giving Masterclasses and performances within these communities across Canada.

Known for his musical insight, beautiful tone and technical command, Michael began his music studies at age four, participating in numerous music festivals and competitions receiving many top awards and distinctions.

Michael enjoys a rewarding career as teacher of more than 60 weekly students of all ages and levels in piano, voice, pedagogy and theory. He teaches in person and online to students from across the country. His YouTube educational music channel is used by music students worldwide. Many of his students have received top honours, distinctions and awards throughout Canada and a large number have pursued careers in music as well. He also actively performs in his own community and across Canada and is well versed in Opera, Oratorio and Music Theatre repertoire.

As an accompanist Michael is in high demand working with singers and instrumentalists of all ages and abilities from beginner to professional level. Michael has also enjoyed working for a number of years with Conservatory Canada as an examiner in piano and voice. He is a member teacher with Music for Young Children (MYC) and believes the start of music education at an early age is very important.

For more than 35 years Michael has worked as a Church musician and frequently is asked to provide musical service and guidance to many Worship denominations. Michael’s community choir in the Quinte region “Let’s Make a Choir” already has more than 50 voices singing for various charities and he has now started the “Let’s Make a Choir Childrens’ Choir” which is a joy to hear the young voices in song together.

Michael believes that music is a lifelong passion and is always looking for new musical challenges and enrichment. Michael is an avid animal lover and enjoys skiing, hiking, attending music concerts and theatre.

Elementary Piano – Saeha Youn

February 18 – February 28, 2020

Canadian pianist Saeha Youn has performed as a recitalist and a chamber musician throughout North America, Europe and Asia. She is a winner of numerous competitions and scholarship awards, including the Canadian Music Competition, MTNA, Kiwanis Music Festival, ALL TV Music Competition, and the Honam Art Festival among many others.

Saeha participated in the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado as a New Horizons fellow. During this time, she was given opportunity to teach private lessons and master classes through the Passes and Lessons Scholarship Program. As an artist teacher, she has worked with the San Francisco Conservatory’s Conservatory in the Schools program to support and provide music to the under-served music programs of the Bay Area. Her adjudicating experience includes the Hong Kong Schools Music and Speech Association in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and Harmonia School of Music and Art in Vienna, Virginia among many others. Currently, she is on the faculty of the International School of Music in Bethesda, Maryland.

Born in South Korea, Saeha started piano lessons at the age of four. She holds degrees from The Taylor Academy for Young Artist at the Royal Conservatory of Music, University of Toronto and San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she obtained her Performance Diploma, Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. She is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland. Her primary teachers have been Boris Lysenko, Marietta Orlov, Yoshikazu Nagai and Mayron Tsong.

Popular Piano – Marion Abbott 

February 28 , 2020

Marion Abbott is a proud graduate of the Musical Theatre Performance Program at Sheridan College. Upon graduating, she was immediately hired to teach for the program and was later named one of the top twenty graduates of the program. She has her Grade 10 Voice and A.R.C.T. in Piano Performance from The Royal Conservatory of Music. She studied piano with Margaret Parsons Poole, Clifford Poole and Ted Ellis. She studied voice with Christina James, Deb Joy and Sheila Brand.

Marion is the creator of The Confidential Project (which included Musical Theatre, Theatre, Shakespeare, Opera and Operetta), The Plain Stage Theatre Company, The Women Of Musical Theatre Festival, New Works Series, The Artist Discovery Series and The Spirit Of Maud Theatre Company. Her mandate as a producer was to provide as many opportunities for as many artists as possible; consequently, Marion produced over 400 productions in Toronto and other cities.

Of the many (many!) shows Marion has worked on, some of her favourites include The Scarlet Pimpernel, All Shook Up, Anne And Maud, No Safe Harbour, Ragtime, Streetcar Named Desire and Passion.

As a Musical Director, Marion most recently worked for Drayton Entertainment (Cinderella: The Panto) and was a part of the first Drayton Youth Program. As a private teacher, Marion has taught voice, piano and acting for 29 years to students of all ages.

From festivals to recitals to performing in Disney World, Marion cherishes her memories of her time with her students dearly. Many of her former students now work in the arts full time.

Marion is now in demand as a consultant, adjudicator and private coach. She has written three books: 700 Song Suggestions For Singers, 100 Suggestions For Teaching Private Lessons and How To Parent A Child In The Arts: A Guide For All Seasons – all available on Amazon. Marion LOVES Walt Disney and tries to get to Walt Disney World in Florida at least once a year. Her favourite rides are Splash Mountain and the Tower of Terror. Marion is married to visual artist Giancarlo Piccin and they have a son, also named Giancarlo. The three of them are addicted to movies.

Senior Strings (Violin and Viola) – Christine Gale Harrison

February 18 – February 21, 2020

Christine Gale Harrison, professional violinist, teacher and author is in much demand as a clinician, coach and adjudicator. She is an examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music, co-author of the 2013 Violin Syllabus and co-editor of the current RCM Violin Series. She is co-author of the book “The Athletic Musician – a guide to playing without pain”. She lectures internationally on the subject of musicians’ injuries.

Her busy performing career has included work with many symphony, ballet, opera and chamber orchestras together with musical theatre such as “Phantom of the Opera”, “Miss Saigon”, “Showboat”, “Ragtime” and more. A particular passion for her is the world of chamber music.

She teaches students of all ages and levels. Combining interests in chamber music and the adult learnerled her to establish the innovative and highly acclaimed “Basically Quartets” chamber music courses

Junior & Intermediate Strings (Violin and Viola) and Composition – Dr. Sasha Weinstangel

February 22 – February 28, 2020

A prolific composer, a passionate conductor, and an accomplished violin virtuoso, Dr. Sasha Weinstangel was born in Croatia (Yugoslavia). He started his music education at the age of seven, completed his first published composition at the age of nine, and started appearing as a violin soloist with orchestras at the age of ten.

He received academic degrees in both Violin/Performance and Composition/Theory from the University of Belgrade, and the Doctor of Music degree in Composition/Music Theory from the University of Toronto, where he studied under John Beckwith. Along the way he also undertook studies in conducting with Sir Adrian Boult and Antonio Janigro, and electronic music with Paul Pignon, Gustav Ciamaga and Dennis Patrick.

Dr. Weinstangel is a charismatic leader, and is found in turn on the conductor’s podium, at the harpsichord, or in concertmaster’s chair, as suits the repertoire performed. His compositions include chamber, orchestral and choral works, operas, as well as concertos for diverse instruments. He has taught in universities and colleges in North America

Cello & Double Bass – Sonya Nanos

February 18 – February 22, 2020

Canadian cellist Sonya Nanos charms audiences with her brilliant and imaginative tone. Her diverse career has included performances with ensembles such as the Orlando Philharmonic and Quartetto Gelato, as well as with artists like Michael Buble and Andrea Bocelli.

Sonya has been featured in The Walleye Magazine, the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal, and has been broadcast nationally on the CBC Radio. Her orchestral recordings include Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique (Analekta), the complete symphonies of Brahms (StulOF) and a Juno-nominated album of Canadian works with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra (Analekta). She can also be heard as soloist on an album of orchestral works by American composer Paul Reale.

As an active chamber musician and recitalist, Sonya has been featured on the Lumina series at Lakehead University, Consortium Aurora Borealis, and as a guest on Western University’s Faculty Chamber Series. She was a prize-winner in chamber music competitions at Lynn University and the Glenn Gould School. She has premiered chamber compositions by Greg Sandow (in Suk Hall, Prague), Alfredo Cabrera and others. She has also performed and taught at the Festival International de Musica in Loja, Ecuador.

Non-Western Strings – Amely Zhou

Non-Western Strings – February 26, 2020

An expressive and dynamic figure on stage, Canadian Chinese musician Amely Zhou pursues a diverse career both as a conductor and an erhu soloist. Zhou is currently the Artistic Director & Conductor of the Canadian Chinese Orchestra. Zhou frequently appears on stage at Markham Theatre leading the Yip’s Montessori Chinese instrumental ensemble. Recent highlights include leading the Canadian Chinese Orchestra on stage at the Chinese Cultural Centre, P.C. Ho Theatre and being invited by the Toronto Chinese Orchestra as Guest Conductor in their 2017 winter concert program.

As an erhuist, Zhou toured with the Canadian Sinfonietta Youth Orchestra to China as a guest soloist in 2016. Other than erhu, Zhou also plays guzheng, dizi, and piano. Zhou received an Artists in Education grant from the Ontario Arts Council for teaching Chinese musical instruments in the public school sectors in 2015. As an ingenious and collaborative musician, she has premiered more than thirty new works by composers around the world. Zhou was featured on the cover of The WholeNote magazine in May-June issue 2017. Andres Timar wrote in the cover story that “The high value she places on connecting with fellow musicians and audiences is among the most distinguishing features of her playing.”

While enrolled at York University, she won the university’s 2013 Concerto Competition as the erhu soloist in the Red Plum Capriccio. Zhou graduated in 2015 from York with an Honours B.A. in Music, and that year was accepted into the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music summer program with a full scholarship to continue her erhu studies. Currently, Zhou is perusing her Chinese music studies and continuing her graduate studies in Ethnomusicology at York University.

Harp – Kristen Theriault

February 28, 2020

Kristen Theriault has emerged as one of Canada’s most vibrant and innovative harpists. A versatile performer, Kristen’s artistry is evident whether exploring new music, playing with pre-eminent symphony orchestras or engaging new audiences at downtown clubs and festivals. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Kristen completed her Bachelors of Music in harp performance with celebrated recording artist Dr. Carrol McLaughlin at the University of Arizona, and then went on to receive her Masters degree from the University of Toronto, where she studied with world-renowned harpist Judy Loman.

Kristen has played at the Shaw Festival, the Juno Awards, at MuchMusic and has been featured on numerous CBC television and radio broadcasts. She has toured throughout Europe under the Hazelwood Records label and performed with Zeena Parkins at the CalArts Theatre in L.A. and at the Dance Theatre Workshop in N.Y.C.

Kristen is often found assailing many an ear and a few preconceived notions of the harp at Independent Arts Festivals, new music concerts and in local attics and basements. Her passion for contemporary music has led her to work with such composers as Charles Wuorninen, Michael Colgrass and David Felder. She records and tours internationally and has been featured on classical, contemporary, jazz and rock albums.
Along with maintaining a private studio for harp instruction, she also holds the post of Adjunct Instructor of Harp with the State University of New York at Buffalo. She regularly lends her talents to classical chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras, and is currently principal harpist for the Slee Sinfonietta, and the Durham Philharmonic Choir.

Voice – Lynne Giacalone Church

February 19 – 22, 2019

Lynne Giacolone Church has enjoyed a varied career as a soprano in the worlds of opera and musical theater. Lynne began her career after receiving her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Michigan, where as a student, she was reviewed by the International London Opera Quarterly calling her work as Nancy in Benjamin Britten’s, ALBERT HERRING “outstanding” and by the Detroit Free Press noting her portrayal “perfect” and her coloratura “glittering” as Gretel in HANSEL AND GRETEL.

Making her professional debut with the Connecticut Opera as Antonia in MAN OF LA MANCHA directed by Dorothy Frank Danner and starring the late John Raitt (father of Bonnie), she has since been heard in leading roles across the country with opera companies including the Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Kentucky Opera, Lyric Opera of Dallas, and Nevada Opera. Some of the these roles have included Susanna in THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, Despina in COSI FAN TUTTE, Papagena in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Adina in L’ELISIR D’AMORE, Musetta in LA BOHEME, Valencinne in THE MERRY WIDOW, both Casilda and Gianetta in THE GONDOLIERS and over 300 performances of Gretel in HANSEL AND GRETEL.

As a resident artist at the Connecticut Opera, Lynne received the Robert E. Smith Award for outstanding singers, and at the Chautauqua Opera, she received the prestigious Elaine Laughlin Award for her work there in THE GONDOLIERS as Casilda. While singing THE GONDOLIERS in Dallas, cast in the role of Gianetta, the opening night performance was broadcast live across Texas on National Public Radio and hosted by the late Beverly Sills.

While successful as an opera artist, Lynne has also performed in the Toronto production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber’s hit musical, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at the Pantages Theater in Toronto, covering the role of “Carlotta” in addition to touring with the show throughout Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and in residence for one year in Singapore and Hong Kong with Lloyd Weber’s production Company, The Really Useful Group, Ltd. of Australia.

As a concert soloist, she has been heard with the symphonies of Chautauqua performing “Laurie” in Aaron Copland’s THE TENDERLAND and as “Niece 2” in Britten’s PETER GRIMES; Meriden Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut as “Gilda” in RIGOLETTO and the Saginaw Symphony Orchestra in Michigan as “Despina” in COSI FAN TUTTE. With the Traverse City Symphony Orchestra, led by Kevin Rhodes of the Paris Opera, La Scala and Vienna Staatsoper, Lynne has performed over 8 concerts including the Mahler Resurrection Symphony #2, Handel’s Messiah, the Faure Requiem, the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brazileiras #5, a work for 8 celli and soprano. As well, Lynne has been the performed with Interlochen Center For the Arts Festival Orchestra in works such as the Brahms Requiem, Mozart Requiem and Mass in C. Other symphony concerts around the United States have included Beethoven Symphony #9 and Missa Solemnis, Handel’s Messiah, The Seasons, Judas Maccabeus, as well as many Musical Theater concerts including GUYS AND DOLLS, where Lynne sang the role of Sister Sarah Brown in a semi-staged concert version. With another NPR Live Broadcast, Lynne was recently featured with the Dayton Philharmonic as soprano soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic in the Mozart Requiem.

With her husband, Rick Church, as Music Director and Conductor, she can be heard on the recording of Placido Domingo Jr. ‘s musical, VLAD in the female lead role of Mina. Together with her husband, Lynne has regularly performed aboard the Regent Seven Seas cruise line in a variety of concerts, both in Musical Theater and Opera styles.

As an Educator, Lynne was awarded from the National Endowment for the Arts, the YoungArts Teacher Distinction 2006. Her first jump into teaching was for the University of Michigan Musical Theater programs. Working with Brent Wagner, Lynne taught High School students spending the summer in a two week, All State, Summer Musical Theater Camp, now part of the MPulse program of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Since 2005, Lynne has been on the Faculty at Interlochen Center for the Arts in both capacities of teaching Classical Voice and Music Theater Voice. Over the years, Lynne has taught technique to promote the vocal health of over 500 students in major roles to ensemble for productions including: AIDA, ANYTHING GOES, CAROUSEL, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, CHICAGO, CHILDREN OF EDEN, CRAZY FOR YOU, EVITA, GUYS AND DOLLS, JEKYLL AND HYDE, THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, LES MISERABLES, THE MUSIC MAN, MY FAIR LADY, LITTLE WOMEN, PAJAMA GAME, RAGS, RENT, SWEENY TODD, TUCK EVERLASTING. Many of her students have gone on to top college in the top Music Theater schools, as well as becoming performers on Broadway and National Tour shows,regional theater, and hired as performers in the cruise line industry.

Lynne has been on the faculty at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, teaching voice for both for the Music Department in Classical Voice and in the Theater Department teaching Musical Theater Voice. Before that, she was on faculty at Wright State University in Dayton, OH, teaching Musical Theater Voice within the Department of Theater, Dance and Motion Pictures. As well, Lynne was on faculty for the pre-college program offered at Wright State for High School students interested in the performing arts.

As a teacher of Classical Voice, maintaining private studios in Traverse City, MI, and New York City, Lynne’s students have excelled at some of the best University programs offered to young singers, including Julliard, Manhattan School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University to name just a few. Students are taught solid technical training, with an emphasis on breath support that resists collapse, proper tonal placement that rides the column of supported air, as well as maintaining a raised soft
palate to encourage vocal production of ease. Her belief in regards to Vocal Literature is that it must support the ability of each singer to encourage proper vocal health and growth, as well as for performance quality purposes. With this training, many of her students have also won many awards including 6 YoungArts Finalists through the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the First Place Classical Voice Winner in 2019 for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, and the Second Place Classical Voice Winner in 2018 for the same competition.

Lynne is a proud member of MSVMA (Michigan Schools Vocal Music Association), where she serves as an adjudicator and clinician, NATS (National Association of Teaching Singing) and a past member of MTEA (Music theater Educators Alliance), AGMA (American Guild of Musical Artists), ACTOR’S EQUITY and the Music Fraternity, PHI MU ALPHA. In June of 2019, Lynne was an Adjudicator for Vocal Performance with the Ontario Music Festivals Association Provincial Music Festival held in Niagara Falls. Currently, Lynne is an Adjudicator for Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan’s oldest Opera Company, in their 16th Annual Collegiate Vocal Competition, which is an opportunity for college level vocal students to compete for cash prizes and feedback from judges working in the professional opera world and will culminate in two rounds of Finals March 28, 2020.

Music Theatre and Popular Voice – Rick Church 

February 18 – February 26, 2020

RICK CHURCH is a Music Director, Conductor, Collaborative Pianist, Voice Coach and Voice Instructor. He has Music Directed extensively in the United States and Abroad, has been an Orchestrator and Arranger, an Educator and Voice Coach, and has performed in numerous countries, nightclubs, supper clubs, cabarets and show venues in addition to music directing numerous readings and workshops of musicals in New York City.
Some of his New York professional credits include Music Director and Conductor for 42nd Street with Randy Skinner, VLAD (Dracula, the Musical) written by Placido Domingo, Jr., the premier of Lizzie Borden, in addition to Funny Girl, Girl Crazy, Hello Dolly, Oklahoma, Lucky Guy, Forever Plaid, Nuncrackers, The King and I and Smokey Joe’s Cafe.
Not only has Rick Music Directed, Conducted and Performed in theaters from Nashville’s Opryland to Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Romania, Rick began his professional career right out of college as a Conductor for Royal Viking Cruise Lines aboard the Sea, the Sun and the Star, sailing around the world on cruises working with acts such legends Ed Ames and the late Patti Page and the late Cary Grant. From there, he began a 15 year career on the high seas for a variety of cruise lines and working with acts featuring Patti LaPone, Joel Gray, Ben Vereen, Jim Nabors, Charo, Nell Carter, Carol Lawrence, Frank Gorshin, Norm Crosby, Maureen McGovern, Frank Wildhorn, Barbara Cook and the Osmond Brothers and Marie Osmond, to name a few from these early years. He served not only as the ship Music Director in charge of all ship musicians, but also Music Directed and Conducted all the Musical Productions. Once ready to end life on the high seas, Rick left his sea life career after 7years as Music Director for the Royal Caribbean Ship, Legend of the Seas. Enjoying this career had its perks of not only travelling the world, but also being noted in Cruise Critic Magazine as one of the highlights of the ship he was on and mentioned in the book by Derek Mann, “Mann at Sea”.

In the cabaret world, Rick has served as Music Supervisor, Arranger, and Pianist for many acts including cabaret and nightclub appearances at most of the major cabaret rooms in New York including Don’t Tell Mama, The Duplex, Brandy’s, Marie’s Crisis, and 88’s. Most recently, Rick served in this position at Sardi’s for a benefit concert honoring HADESTOWN Tony Award Winner Andre De Shields, as well as American Painter, Philip Pearlstein, and Author, Sandra DiPasqua.

As an educator, Rick has spent nearly 20 years on the faculty of some of the most prestigious musical theater training programs. While conducting in NYC for 20 years Rick taught at New York University and The Pingry School in addition to his private vocal studio in New York City. After moving to the Midwest, Rick became the Music Director for the Musical Theater program at Elon University where he Music Directed and Conducted 1776, In The Heights, She Loves Me, Crazy For You, Titanic, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Ragtime and Next To Normal. While at Elon, Rick represented the Musical Theater Department at MTEA, Music Theater Educators’ Alliance in NYC as well as participating in hearing auditions each year at SETC’s, the Southeastern Theater Conference Auditions connecting theater opportunities nationwide. Previously, he was in the same position at Wright State University where he served as Music Director and Conductor for shows including The Light in the Piazza, The Pajama Game, Hairspray, Titanic, Smokey Joe’s Café, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oh, Lady Be Good!, West Side Story, The Threepenny Opera, and Elton John’s Aida.

Originally from Michigan, Rick had spent over 25 years at the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts as Musical Director for the High School Musical Theater Production program. In addition to bringing in many guest artists to work with students, working as an liaison to bridge the arts with the community, Some of the shows Rick Music Directed and Conducted included: Aida, Anything Goes, Babes in Arms, Catch Me If You Can, Carousel, Children of Eden, Evita, Guys & Dolls, Hello Dolly, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Jekyll & Hyde, Les Miserables, Music Man, Oklahoma, The Pajama Game, and Rags. Students from this program have gone onto be accepted ted into some of the best collegiate training programs and also star in Broadway and National touring productions including HAMILTON, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, LES MISERABLES, FROZEN, THE KING & I, ROAD SHOW, AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE TEMPTATIONS MUSICAL, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, GUN & POWDER, MEAN GIRLS, ALADDIN – THE MUSICAL, CINDERELLA the MUSICAL, THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL, THE BOOK OF MORMON, BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, NEWSIES, WAITRESS, WICKED, the new Disney TV show, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. In addition, Rick was the Creating Founder of the Interlochen Center for the Arts Musical Theater Intensive Program, a one week college audition prep for rising High School Juniors and Seniors.

Rick is a proud member of Local 802, the Musicians Union of New York City in addition to being a member of MENC: The National Association for Music Education, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Musical Theater Educators’ Alliance, The Michigan Music Educators Association, and the Michigan Schools Vocal Music Association where he serves not only as a member, but an adjudicator for both Musical Theater Performance and Classical Voice Performance. In 2019, Rick was an Adjudicator for Musical Theater Performance with the Ontario Music Festivals Association 2019 Provincial Music Festival held in Niagara Falls. In 2006 Rick was awarded recognition from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts as an outstanding teacher that influenced the lives of young artists and has had students that are finalists in the National YoungArts Competition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Popular Voice – Tenja Hagenberg 

February 27, 2020

Tenja Hagenberg is an actor-singer-dancer based out of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Performance program.

Upon graduation, Tenja made Toronto home and spent years working in theatres across Canada; favourite credits include The Charlottetown Festival, Bluewater Summer Playhouse, St. Lawrence Stage, Theatre Aquarius and the Dora Award winning show, Evil Dead; The Musical at Toronto’s Diesel Playhouse.

Tenja has worked with Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises as a Guest Entertainer; performing in the large production shows as well as her own one woman show. In her time in Los Angeles she had the opportunity to be a part of Princess Cruises ‘skeleton team’, working with incredible directors and choreographers (Danny Teeson, Liz Imperio, Sakinah LeStage) building grand theatrical productions for their 1200 seat, state of the art venues.

Tenja returned back to Canada in 2016 and decided to make St. Catharines her home once again, there really is no place like home.

She has been performing with different production companies in the GTA and Niagara area; recent favourite credits include Ursula in The Little Mermaid (The Scotiabank Centre) and Donna in Mamma Mia (Greg Frewin Theatre). Tenja, along with director, Monica Dufault, created and produced her one-woman show Around the World And Home Again; A benefit for Canadian Mental Health Association in April of 2018 and plans to bring it back to stages in 2020. When Tenja is not performing on stage she loves sharing her expertise with her students at her company Performance On Point; Productions and Vocal & Acting Coaching.

Speech Arts – Nitasha Rajoo 

February 27 – February 28, 2020

Nitasha Rajoo is currently the Interim Director of Education at the Stratford Festival. Nitasha has over 20 years of experience in the performing arts as an actor, director and as an educator. Her love for the creative arts, education, travel and adventure has allowed her to work all over the globe leading workshops, adjudicating, teaching, directing and programming- including countries such as South Africa, India, Jamaica, the UK (where she lived for over 10 years!) and now back home in Canada.

Nitasha holds a Master of Arts in the Advanced Teachings of Shakespeare (Royal Shakespeare Company and Warwick University, UK) and most recently delivered workshops at the Teaching Shakespeare Program at the Stratford Festival, CODE, Community Theatre Association of Michigan, The Good Will Shakespeare Festival, and at the ABCDE Conference in British Columbia. She was the program leader for the Creative Teens Program at the Arts Club Theatre Company from 2016 – 2019. She has taught a series of drama workshops on Beauty and the Beast to new immigrants and refugees, and has been invited to consult on drama reform in schools in the Northwest Territories and has been an adjudicator for Speech Arts Festivals throughout BC. She is delighted to be at the Toronto Kiwanis Festival.

Brass, Chamber and Woodwinds – Dylan Maddix 

Woodwinds: February 24-26, 2020; Brass: February 27, 2020; Chamber: February 28, 2020

Dylan Rook Maddix is Professor of Music at Cambrian College in Sudbury, ON, where he conducts the wind ensemble, teaches music theory and serves as the head of winds and brass studies.

Dylan is founder and artistic director of the Toronto Winds, host of the podcast The Band Room, and maintains an active career as a sought-after conductor, clinician, performer and adjudicator across Canada.

He has been music director of the Milton Concert Band, a conducting fellow with the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, program assistant of the Hannaford Youth Program, and is now co-manager of the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra. Dylan has guest conducted the Northern Ontario Honour Band, Halifax Community Band Festival, Royal Conservatory Brass Ensemble, Northdale Concert Band, Western University New Music, Hannaford Youth Band, Mount Allison University Symphonic Band, Kingston Brass Choir, and Bathurst Chamber Festival Orchestra.

He is a prizewinner at the 2011 & 2014 National Music Festivals and has been a featured soloist with the Prince Edward Island Symphony, Weston Silver Band, Greater Moncton Chorale and Orchestra, and the Strathgartney Chamber Orchestra. Dylan holds a Master of Music from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Music from Mount Allison University.

Guitar & Bandura – Dr. Matthew Gould 

February 24 – February 25, 2020/strong>

Dr. Matthew Gould has been described as a “guitarist capable of giving performances of great beauty, enthusiasm and control” by EMI recording artist and former teacher, Manuel Barrueco. Matthew began teaching himself to play guitar at age twelve, and at twenty, having had only two years of formal guitar training, was awarded a substantial scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music, receiving the Hos Award for Excellence in Guitar Performance by the Peabody Guitar Faculty upon graduation. After completing his undergraduate degree in performance, Matt accepted a teaching assistantship to the University of Arizona. After receiving his Doctorate in Chamber Music from Arizona State University, Matt moved to the island of Cyprus to teach at Eastern Mediterranean University, before returning to the US to continue his musical activities closer to home. Dr. Gould also has a keen interest in early childhood education, being a certified Suzuki Teacher and preparing many students for RCM Examinations. His students have placed or won at the provincial and national levels of the Ontario Music Festivals Association since Dr Gould moved to Canada in 2012, and most recently, his former student was inducted into the CBC Music classical “30 under 30” list, celebrating the accomplishments of Canada’s hottest young classical musicians of 2019.

Outside of academics, Gould is also part of an international touring ensemble Duo46 with violinist Beth Ilana Schneider-Gould. As artists living in the 21st-century, they embrace music by living composers and their performances and recordings celebrate new chamber music. He has also worked and toured alongside Grammy nominated Deutsche-Gramophone Recording artist Avi Avital, Western University Clarinet professor Dr. Jana Starling, Austrian Cellist Erich Oskar Huetter and pianist Dr. Nathanael May, among others.

He now is Director of Guitar Studies at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario.

Community Choirs – Michael Bloss 

February 25, 2020

Michael Bloss has developed a celebrated reputation for animated performances, sensitive collaboration and illuminative coaching. His belief in the power of choral singing to create community and to communicate the message of the text has been demonstrated in such conducting tenures as at the Cathedral Church of St. James, Park Congregational Church, Grand Rapids and Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, Toronto. He has also collaborated with the Elora Festival Singers, The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Elmer Iseler Singers.

Currently, Michael leads the parish and diocesan music at Christ’s Church Cathedral, Hamilton ON. Recent appearances include a tour through Germany with the Chapel Choir of Royal St. George’s College, Toronto and recitals in Germany and Denmark. He was the first Canadian to be awarded the designation of Preisträger at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig, Germany. He also serves as a B767 First Officer for Air Canada Rouge.

Community Choirs – Lisa Cosens-Brillon 

February 25, 2020

Lisa Cosens-Brillon began singing pro-fessionally at the age of 17 on the national television show, CBC Hymn Sing. Lisa studied at the Universities of Manitoba and Arizona where she earned her Bachelor and two Masters of Music degrees in Voice Performance and Music Education. She began her doctoral studies in voice performance/pedagogy and choral conducting at the University of Cincinnati. Lisa also studied in New York City with the Assistant Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera and at the Mannes College of Music. For close to seven years Lisa sang with the Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera in the role of Madame Firmin. She has performed in concert, musicals and on the opera stage in North America, Europe and Israel and notably at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City in the lead role of Elena in I Vespri Siciliani with Opera Orchestra of New York. Ms. Brillon founded and directs the Queenston Ladies Choir, is the organist and choir director for St. David’s Queenston United Church, and for 18 years directed the summer Queenston Musical Theatre Camp and is the artistic director of the Niagara’s premiere show choir, The Niagara Star Singers. She is the founder and festival director of the Niagara Musical Theatre & Voice Festival, is the provincial treasurer for NATS (National Association Teachers of Singing) and is currently the President of the Ontario Music Festivals Association. Ms. Brillon is proud to educate musicians and singers of all ages in the art of singing.