Matt Abraham (Percussion)
A native of Winnipeg Manitoba, Matt Abraham holds a Bachelor of Music (Percussion) and a Bachelor of Education (Music) from the University of Manitoba. Principal percussion teachers include Jauvon Gilliam (National Symphony Orchestra, Washington) and Jeremy Epp (Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit). As a freelance performer, Matt has frequently performed as a percussionist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Manitoba Opera Association. Matt has worked with many outstanding percussionists, most notably Evelyn Glennie (Scotland), Arnie Lang (New York), Paul Yancich (Cleveland), and Jon Crabiel (Indiana). In addition to teaching band at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Winnipeg, he has been invited to present guest lectures and work with students at the University of Manitoba, Lakehead University, Canadian Mennonite University, Providence College, and many other schools throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Northwestern Ontario.
Philip Candelaria (Classical Guitar)
Philip Candelaria teaches at the University of Ottawa. He has degrees from the University of British Columbia and the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Philip has won national and international competitions in Canada, the USA, and France. Mr. Candelaria adjudicates for music festivals throughout Canada and has served on jury panels at the provincial, national and international levels. He has also been the guitar adjudicator for the national finals of the Canadian Music Festivals, and is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association. An experienced clinician, Philip enjoys working with guitar students of all ages in workshops and masterclasses. He has taught at many festivals around the world and also gives classes via broadband web casting to Canadian locations. Candelaria has four solo recordings described as "dazzling" (Canada Music Magazine), "distinguished" (High Fidelity Magazine - USA), and "masterful" (GFA Soundboard - USA). Philip Candelaria has also made four recordings with the Canadian Guitar Quartet and released CDs with G8 and The Guitars Alive Quartet. His performing career has taken him across Canada and the USA, to central and South America, to Europe and the Middle East.
Claudette Caron (Piano, Grades 9 - Honours)
Claudette Caron was born and raised in Winnipeg. Advanced piano studies were with Alma Brock-Smith at the University of Manitoba, and with Phyllis Sellick in England. In Brandon since 1982, Ms. Caron continued studies with pianist Robin Harrison at the University of Saskatchewan, earning her Licentiate Diploma from the Trinity College of Music under his guidance. She pursued her interest in chamber music in the Ford-Caron flute and piano duo with flautist Robert Ford from 1989 to 20120. These years included the release of a CD dedicated to the works of composer Siegfried Karg-Elert in 2000, and the premiere of a commissioned trio by Dr. Kenneth Nichols in 2003. In the summer of 2011 she and her sister Yvonne Ingram premiered Piano Island, a piano duet written by Dr. Kenneth Nichols inspired by his experiences in China. The work is dedicated to them. She has also premiered several works by Western Canadian composer David Dahlgren. Ms. Caron is devoted to teaching a large and varied class of piano students with a special emphasis on ensemble playing. Her students have consistently won awards at the local and provincial levels, and distinguished themselves as scholarship recipients in music programs in both Canada and the USA. She maintains a special interest in teaching young students, and consequently has always included them as part of her teaching studio. Ms. Caron is a member of the Canadian Adjudicators Association and a Senior Examiner with the Royal conservatory of Music.
Jewel Casselman (Orff)
Jewel Casselman is currently teaching in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division in an Orff based classroom. Each July, since 2000, Jewel has been teaching the Orff Certification levels courses through the University of Manitoba. For many years she taught the Carl Orff Music for Children’s program through the Preparatory Studies department of the U. of M. She loves the Orff approach to teaching as it allows the children to have a musical experience that involves structure and creativity to co-exist at the same time. She is the current Vice-President of the Manitoba Orff Chapter which is a group of educators dedicated to the Orff approach in their music teaching.
Penelope Dale (Vocal, Grades C, B, A and Adult)
Penelope Dale is a classically trained soprano whose voice has been heard in opera and in concert, in film and on live radio broadcasts. In demand as a soloist, Miss Dale's wide-ranging repertoire includes well-known operatic and musical theatre roles, as well as song literature ranging from classical songs and jazz standards, to folk and pop. In addition to her busy career as a soloist, Penelope conducts "The Treblemakers" seniors' choral group, and maintains a full schedule not only as a private singing teacher but also as a music festival adjudicator and voice examiner.
Donna Fletcher (Vocal, 8, 10, 12 & 14 years and under)
Donna Fletcher is an accomplished actor, singer, and concert performer with a wide range of national experience in theatre, musical theatre, and symphonic work. Proud of her prairie roots, Donna received her early training in Winnipeg and earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Manitoba, a diploma in Music Theatre from The Banff Centre for the Arts, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from The University of Toronto. She has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony; the Florida Orchestra, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and was featured on the CBC Radio’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. As an actor, Donna has been acclaimed in principle roles from east to west on many Canadian stages including the Charlottetown Festival, Drayton Festival, Rainbow Stage, Theatre Calgary, Stage West Calgary, the National Arts Centre and Manitoba Opera. Recent performing credits include The Buddy Holly Story and Mary Poppins (Rainbow Stage), Little Women and Follies (Dry Cold Productions), directing Brundibar for the MCO and A Man of No Importance for Dry Cold Productions and taking the WSO stage with Len Cariou in Send in the Clowns: The Music of Stephen Sondheim. Always seeking new challenges, Donna co-created Dry Cold Productions which will be celebrating its 15th anniversary season with the Manitoba premiere of The Addams Family. In July of 2012 she was inducted into the Rainbow Stage Wall of Fame and directed their acclaimed production of Annie. Donna is a Sessional Voice and Musical Theatre Instructor at the University Of Manitoba Desautels Faculty of Music as well as the University of Winnipeg Theatre Department. Upcoming engagements include playing the Mother Superior in Rainbow Stage’s Sister Act. Donna is pleased to be adjudicating at her home festival!
Elroy Friesen (Choral)
Dr. Elroy Friesen is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Manitoba where he conducts numerous choirs and teaches graduate choral conducting. Having published research on the choral music of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, Elroy continues to pursue his passion of study and performance of new Nordic repertoire. He has recently been appointed Artistic Director of Canzona, Winnipeg’s professional Baroque choir. His award-winning ensembles tour nationally and internationally, and are frequently recorded and broadcasted by the CBC
Amy Hamilton (Woodwinds and Brass)
Amy Hamilton received a Bachelor of Music and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music from Indiana University and a Doctor of Music from Northwestern University. Her major teachers include Bonita Boyd and Walfrid Kujala. Currently, she is Professor of flute, conducts the Laurier Flute Ensemble and coordinates the wind department at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has performed with the Toronto Symphony, Canadian Opera Company and National Ballet of Canada, and has coached flute chamber music at the University of Toronto. In addition to her duties at Wilfrid Laurier, Dr. Hamilton appears in solo recitals and chamber concerts and has released a solo CD of Canadian music titled Canadian Music for Flute and Piano and chamber music CD’s Canadian Flute Quartets featuring music for flute, oboe and piano. Dr. Hamilton has completed annotated bibliographies of flute and piano and flute chamber music found in the Canadian Music Centre collection, and the Laurier Flute Ensemble under her direction has recorded a CD of Canadian flute octets titled 8 Pieces for 8.
Margery Koop (Vocal, 16 & 18 years and under)
A native of Manitoba, Margery Koop has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as a singer, choral conductor, teacher, workshop clinician and adjudicator. She obtained her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Manitoba and holds the A.R.C.T. and Licentiate diplomas in vocal performance. Margery has presented workshops and adjudicated festivals across Western Canada. As a cross-over artist herself, Margery has become known for her work with singers of all musical genres. Many of her students have achieved excellence in their own performing careers both nationally and internationally. Margery has founded several performing companies such as Five Sharps and Up Front Productions, having created and produced numerous shows such as Naughty Baby, Snapshots and A Funny Thing Happened at the Office. She also founded and directed Ecco, a Winnipeg-based community choir, for many years. Besides having served on the executive of both the Manitoba Registered Teacher's Association (MRMTA) and the Manitoba Choral Association (MCA), she co-founded the Manitoba chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and served as its president for six years. Besides her private teaching practice, Margery designs clothing under the label MRK Signature. She lives in Winnipeg with her husband Neil and her two cats, Phoebe and Oskar.
Murray Nichol (Piano, Grades 5-8)
From Honolulu to Yellowknife and Montreal to Mumbai, Murray Nichol is enjoying an active schedule of adjudicating, examining, and conducting master classes and workshops. As an advisor to the artist-residency program of the Vancouver Biennale, a bi-annual international arts organization celebrating a wide array of artistic disciplines, he has travelled to Colombia, Brazil, and most recently to Kochi, India. As a senior examiner for Royal Conservatory Examinations, he examines in both Canada and the United States and is a mentor for apprentice examiners. He has also participated in the University of British Columbia Music Alumni Mentorship Program in Vancouver where he mentored undergraduate and graduate music students. Mr. Nichol is passionate about working with young musicians, especially pianists. A well-respected teacher (some of his students have received Royal Conservatory regional medals for highest marks in the province of British Columbia), he spent fifteen years at the Tom Lee Learning Centre in Vancouver and Richmond where his students consistently won scholarships for their polished playing. He inspires pianists of all ages to imagine -- and achieve -- their best. A graduate of Brandon University (Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with Greatest Distinction) and recipient of the Arthur and Abbie Vining Memorial Graduate Scholarship in Music, Mr. Nichol continued his studies at the University of British Columbia. Under the tutelage of Jane Coop, Dr. Henri-Paul Sicsic, and Rena Sharon, he graduated with a Master of Music in Piano Performance. He is a member of the British Columbia Registered Music Teachers’ Association, the Music Teachers’ National Association, and the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association.
Marlene Pauls Laucht, (Piano, Beginner – Grade 4)
Pianist, Marlene Pauls Laucht, holds an ARCT from The Royal Conservatory of Music, an Associate Diploma from the Western Board of Music, as well as a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba. Marlene Pauls Laucht is a well-known Winnipeg pianist, teacher, adjudicator, examiner, and clinician. She has examined throughout Canada and the USA and adjudicated at numerous festivals across Canada and Manitoba. She works extensively as a professional accompanist, collaborating with singers, instrumentalists and choirs in concerts, recitals, masterclasses, examinations and festivals, as well as maintaining an active home studio. Ms. Pauls Laucht conducts workshops for piano teachers, including topics on pedagogy, achieving performance excellence incorporating a varied approach to the art of performing. She was instrumental in the creation of the Associated Manitoba Arts Festivals Adjudicator Training and Apprenticeship program, and in developing their training video for new adjudicators. She was a founding member on the faculty of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts, and served a term as Interim Executive Director overseeing topics for programs, workshops and Summer Teacher’s Week. Marlene Pauls Laucht is a Senior Examiner for RCM Examinations.
Karen Peters (Handbell and Recorder Groups)
Karen Peters life has always circled around music. Picking out songs by ear at any piano, she eagerly began lessons as a youth. Various teachers guided her until she studied with Faith Reimer. She began accompanying church congregational singing at 12 years and added the organ four years later. School produced opportunities to participate in choirs/musicals and play the recorder. The Steinbach Treble Teens experience included voice lessons with Shirley Penner, Robert Irwin and others. This amazing choral program allowed her to play in one of Manitoba’s first handbell groups in 1971. Later Karen became a director, eventually purchasing the 3-octave set of Schulmerich bells in 1984. Since then she voluntarily shares her unique hobby with diverse ages. Peters formed the children’s community group “Randolph Ringers” and currently directs “Steinbach Mennonite Handbelles” from her home church. Marriage to Willie Peters included moving to a family farm in Randolph where she offered private keyboard, singing and theory lessons. The addition of three children created a busy household! Karen excitedly introduced Kristel, Kevin and Korey to the music world, endlessly chauffeuring them. Elected to the Hanover School Division Board of Trustees in 1992, Peters served locally/provincially for 18 years. Her family expanded with two wonderful children-in-law and four treasured grandchildren. Oma Karen finds life stimulating whether volunteering (25 years with Southeastern Manitoba Festival), organizing projects/functions, making music, capturing memories with her camera, writing or attending family members’ events! An invitation to adjudicate at the Winnipeg Music Festival is a real honour for Karen!
Reid Spencer (Musical Theatre and Gilbert & Sullivan)
Singer, actor and director, bass-baritone Reid Spencer holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Opera Performance and Pedagogy from the University of British Columbia, and currently teaches voice in the Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance program at Sheridan College. Dr. Spencer began his performing career in 1981 with performances both at the Canadian Opera Company and the Stratford Festival, and has maintained a diverse performing background since that time. He lists credits in a variety of repertoires: opera, in works from Monteverdi to Kurt Weill; musical theatre, from Golden Age to Contemporary; oratorio, from the standard repertoire (Handel, Messiah and Hayden, The Creation) to the modern (Piacentini, Mal’akhim, and Cassidy, Children of Lir, both North American premier performances): concerts, not only Lieder and Art Song recitals, but concert versions of operas with full orchestra as well as piano only versions of lesser known repertoire; and orchestral Pops Concerts featuring songs by Gilbert & Sullivan, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and leRoy Anderson.
Michael van der Sloot (Strings)
Michael van der Sloot began studies at the age of 5 with his brother William van der Sloot, and received his Bachelor and Master degrees on the viola at the University of British Columbia studying with Gerald Stanick. He then pursued his doctoral studies at the renowned Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria with Thomas Riebl. Michael has had success at various solo and chamber competitions. He was the Canadian representative at the 1992, and 1996 ASTA Competitions, and a finalist at the 1997 Patrons of Wisdom Competition in Toronto. In 1996, he recorded for CBC as a result of the CBC West Coast Young Performers Competition. And finally, in 1997 he was awarded the Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship for study in Austria. Michael has also played with various symphonies including the Edmonton Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony and the Vancouver Opera. He has toured with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Salzburg Chamber Soloists throughout Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy, including performances at the Theatre Rue Champs Ellysees in Paris, and the Musikverein in Vienna. In addition to his performing, Michael is a passionate teacher. He has been a guest instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Beijing Central Conservatory, Mount Royal University, and several other music institutions across Western Canada. Michael taught on faculty at the Medicine Hat College as Academy Director for 11 years; instructing violin, viola, chamber music, and chamber orchestra. Currently, Michael has students at the major schools across Canada and the United States including the San Francisco Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory and Juilliard School of Music. Many of his students have soloed with major Symphonies in Canada. In 2010, Michael accepted the position of Head of Strings at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and moved with his wife, Daphne, and six children to the beautiful city of Victoria, BC.