2024 Adjudicators

Samuel Choi - Strings-Classical

Samuel Choi - Strings-Classical

Canadian violist and violinist, Samuel Choi pursues a multifaceted music career as a teacher, chamber musician, orchestral musiciana and arts administrator. Choi holds Master of Music Degree from the Colburn Conservatory of Music, Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gouls School of Music and Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Toronto. Choi is currently the Artistic Director of the OYMI Music Festival and the OYMCO. In 2022, Choi was appointed Principal Viola of the Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra by Maestro. Marco Parisotto, the former Principal Conductor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

As an orchestral and chamber musician, Choi has worked and performed with world renowned conductors and artists such as Gustavo Dudamel, Esa Pekka Salonen, Sir Andrew Davis, Stephane Deneve, Peter Oundjian, Gabor Tackacs Nagy, Leon Fleischer, James Ehnes, Jan Vogler, Andras Keller, Rachel Barton Pine and many others.

A passionate believer in music education and outreach, Choi was a chamber music coach at the Senior Division of the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Choi's current and former students have been accepted into McGill University Schulic School of Music, University of Toronto Faculty of Music, University of British Columbia School of Music and have won top prizes in Toronto Kiwanis, North York and OYMI Music Festivals. Choi is deeply grateful to his teachers Paul Coletti, Jurgen Weber, Teng Li, Steven Dann, Jonathan Crow, Timothy Ying, Dennis Kim, Barry Shiffman, Mate Szucs and Kelly Parkins Lindstrom.

Ariel Harwood-Jones - Voice-Classical

Ariel Harwood-Jones - Voice-Classical

Ms. Harwood-Jones received her formal education at the University of Toronto, earning a Bachelor of Music in Performance. She has performed for many prestigious organizations, including Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Brass, Winnipeg Symphony, the Elora Festival Singers, the Elmer Iseler Singers, Sault Symphony Orchestra, Nexus, and Toronto Consort.

Engagements include Mozart's Mass in C Minor with Masterworks of Oakville Chorus & Orchestra, Bach's Cantatas 147 and 80 with Pax Christie Chorale, and A Ceremony of Carols with Toronto Chamber Choir. Since 2016, she has been focusing on developing a new Early Music group called Kammerchor London, which was the 2020 and 2023 Forest City London Music Awards recipient in the Classical Choir category. Most recently she has performed Haydn's Seasons with Masterworks of Oakville, Handel's Messiah with the Stratford Concert Choir, and Bach's B minor Mass with Voices. She also had the pleasure of preparing a recital featuring, among other 20th Century composers, the composition "Chamber Music" by Canadian Alan Heard.

Ms. Harwood-Jones began studying voice with Barbara Collier and then with Lois McDonall while attending University. She believes in continuing education and is taking her voice to the next level under the tutelage of Carol Baggott Forte. Ariel opened her singing studio in Toronto in 2003, then moved it to London in 2014. She offers both in person and online lessons. She is also a piano technician, working with both private clients and Western University. She lives in London as a house slave to her two cats.

Sara-Jeanne Hosie - Musical Theatre, Songs from the Screen & More, Voice-Other

Sara-Jeanne Hosie - Musical Theatre, Songs from the Screen & More, Voice-Other

Sara-Jeanne has been working nationally as a theatre artist for over twenty years. She dons many theatrical hats; Director, Actor, Choreographer, Playwright and Composer. Her theatre experiences include: 3 Seasons at the Stratford Festival as an Associate Director and Choreographer; playing the villain for two seasons In Ross Petty's Panto; Alison Bechdel in The Canadian premiere of FUNHOME; Miss Stacey/Tanya (Charlottetown Festival); Mary Poppins, Fantine, Sally Bowles, and Patsy Cline (Arts Club) Therese Dubuc in Les Belles Soeurs (Segal Centre/Theatre Calgary); Baker's Wife in Into the Woods (Neptune and Thousand Islands); Kate in The Wild Party, Dr. Charlotte in Falsettos (Musical Stage Company); Miss Sandra in All Shook UP (DraytonEntertainment); Rona Lisa Peretti in Spelling Bee, (The Belfry); Velma Kelly in Chicago (Mayfield); Adelaide in Guys & Dolls (The Gateway); Audrey in Little Shop (Bluebridge Repertory); Nellie Forbush in South Pacific (Chemainus Theatre). Direction and Choreography credits include Out of Order (Drayton) My Fair Lady, Alice vs Wonderland (Bluebridge Rep Theatre); Slipper (ATP); The Buddy Holly Story, Chickens(Chemainus Theatre); Godspell, Blood Brothers, Altar Boyz, SUDS
(Arts Club Theatre);Wintertime, West Side Story and Into the Woods (CCPA). Most recently Sara-Jeanne starred in Myth of the Ostrich (Here For Now Theatre).

Eric Lundgren - Guitar

Eric Lundgren - Guitar

Eric is an American Guitarist hailing from the rural countryside in northern Wisconsin. Raised on classic and psychedelic rock, Eric cut his teeth sitting in with the cover bands of the area playing songs by CCR, Bob Segar, and Three Dog Night to name a few. He went on to receive a formal music education studying contemporary and jazz guitar, arranging, and composition. He spent his postsecondary years travelling on cruise ships, performing Vegas style production shows, backing guest entertainers, and playing in bands covering anything from Ballroom Dance to 80s Rock.

After time in the Toronto area as a writer/arranger for hire and playing with notable Toronto based groups such as Legends of Motown, SOULidified, and La República, Eric and his wife Amanda moved to Stratford where he now plays lead guitar with Downie Street Collective [Andy Allen (rhythm guitar), Mark Ballyk (drums), Scott Beaudin (lead vocals), Peter Dixon (bass)]. Not wanting to be a generic indie/alternative band, DSC's style is ever-changing. Chameleon-like. How, then do you describe the Downie Street Collective sound? Easy. Take Classic Rock from the 70's onwards, add a cup or two of alternative 80's and 90's, pour it in your music blender and set it on high!

Stéphane Potvin - Choirs, School Music

Stéphane Potvin - Choirs, School Music

Maestro Stéphane Potvin was born and raised in a small town near the city of Québec. He received his early music training in piano from the age of seven. During high school he became interested in music leadership and more specifically choral and orchestral conducting. That desire brought him to Nicolet where he studied with the highly talented and dedicated soeurs de l'assomption. He then went on to McGill University to study piano performance and choral conducting. He later received a master's degree in choral conducting from the University of Illinois under the tutelage of Fred Stoltzfus. He is very privileged to have further studied conducting with Frieder Bernius, Otto Werner Mueller, and Gustav Meier to name a few.

Stéphane Potvin is a multi-talented individual. First and foremost a choral and orchestral conductor, he is also an experienced arts manager, a skilled graphic designer, and a proficient audio and video editor.

As a conductor, he is recognized for his impeccable technique, highly efficient rehearsals, and his profound and inspirational approach to music making. With over thirty years of experience, he is able to coax lyrical performances from orchestras, choirs, and chamber ensembles alike. Maestro Potvin's approach to music making marries the technical precision of the German culture, the silkiness of the Anglo Saxons singing, and the passion, fervour, and exuberance of his French-Canadian heritage. A respected composer, arranger and clinician, he also has a wealth of experience in education and adjudication. Above all he loves sharing his passion for music with colleagues and audiences.

Maestro Potvin is the Founder and Artistic Director of Musikay, a professional vocal and instrumental ensemble dedicated to the performance of classical music in and around Hamilton, with the goal of making that music accessible and relevant to today's audience.
Maestro Potvin's career has taken him throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. He has conducted the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra London, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra—where he served as Resident Conductor and Artistic Administrator—the Oakville Chamber Orchestra, the Canadian Armed Forces Band, and the National Academy Orchestra. As a well-established choral conductor, he has led numerous choirs including the Niagara Children's Chorus, the Canadian Orpheus Male Choir, the Brott Music Festival Choir, and has worked with the McGill Chamber Singers.
Mr. Potvin is an excellent communicator with a sparkling sense of humour. Fully bilingual, he connects equally with audiences in French and in English. A devoted communicator, he knows how to engage audiences young and old alike.

Astrid Russell - Spoken Word / Drama

Astrid Russell - Spoken Word / Drama

Astrid Russell recently retired as a Drama and English teacher at Mitchell District High School [MDHS]. She taught Grade 9 through Grade 12 Dramatic Arts as well directing over twenty productions with MDHS Productions. With her students, Astrid entered the Sears Drama Festival where MDHS won many awards, advancing to the Regional Festival three times.

Astrid also launched and ran the Shakespeare School at the Stratford Festival for ten years.
Before she began teaching, Astrid was an actor for many regional theatres across Canada
including two seasons with the Stratford Festival. She is a graduate of Concordia University (B.A. Theatre Arts), National Theatre School and University of Western Ontario (B.Ed.)

Lindsay Schindler - Fiddle, Pop Violin, Suzuki

Lindsay Schindler - Fiddle, Pop Violin, Suzuki

Lindsay has established herself as an electrifying performer. As a child studying classical violin she developed a valuable foundation and excelled in her technical ability. A need to diversify and push boundaries led her to experiment with various other styles of music. Finding her passion in performance and fiddle music, she continues to embrace traditional repertoire from many regions of the world, as well as write her own music. Having performed in Ireland, Japan, across the USA and Canada, Lindsay has brought her energy to many concert halls, theatres and festivals.

With over twenty years of teaching experience and extensive teacher training, Lindsay strives to ignite the passion for music in her students through a fun and caring environment. As founder of Far and Wide Music, Lindsay connects with musicians from coast to coast for weekly lessons both in person and online.

With a love for both traditional fiddle music and teaching, Lindsay recently released Far & Wide Fiddle Volume One, a book filled with beginner fiddle tunes that are laid out sequentially using a natural building block approach. The book is accompanied with a matching recording available to stream on all major platforms.

Paul Shilton - Composition, Piano-Other

Paul Shilton - Composition, Piano-Other

After graduating with a music degree from Queen's University Paul fell in love with theatre and for many years composed shows and toured schools with a theatre company called Theatre On the Move. From there he began music directing and accompanying shows for other theatres throughout Ontario.

Fast forward to Stratford when he moved here in 1990 with his wife Barbara Fulton who became a regular and recognizable performer with Stratford Festival company. He briefly taught in the public school system here and then spent many years as the music teacher at Stratford Montessori School followed by four years at the Stratford Middle Years school.

During his time in Stratford he has composed the music for five productions at the Stratford Festival. He continues his close association with the Festival and in 2022 composed the music for All's Well That Ends Well in the new Tom Patterson Theatre.

His approach to teaching recognizes that most students are not interested in a career as a professional musician but simply want to learn the language of music to create, compose and have fun. However, it can only become fun with practice. He encourage parents to be involved even if music is a foreign language. Setting aside at least 15 or 20 minutes a day can make a tremendous difference in the student's progress as well as their eagerness to continue. He is, of course, willing to work with students who are interested in developing a more advanced proficiency. He loves working with any student who wishes to compose music or write their own songs.

Dr Jamie Syer - Piano-Classical

Dr Jamie Syer - Piano-Classical

Pianist, harpsichordist, teacher, administrator, Dr Syer studied piano with Ward Davenny, Claude Frank, and Linhart Walker, and harpsichord with John Searchfield. He received annual awards 1971-8 from Alberta Culture, won a first prize in the 1977 CBC Talent Festival, and was a semi-finalist in the 1980 Montreal International Music Competition and the 1984 Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition. He taught 1978-82 at Mount Allison University, where he also played solo recitals as pianist and harpsichordist and was a member of The Lyric Trio, which was heard on both French and English networks of the CBC.

Returning to Calgary, Syer was an organist-choirmaster 1982-7 at various churches; he also commissioned Canadian composers to write for church choirs, brought concert music to the parishes he served, and organized workshops on specific aspects of church music. He was a founding member in 1982 of the Lyric Chamber Players of Calgary, with whom he has appeared as pianist and harpsichordist. He became associated with the Naramata (BC) Summer School of Musical Arts for church musicians, serving 1986-8 as its president. In 1986 he was music consultant to the Canadian Christian Festival, and in the same year he began to teach at Mount Royal College Cons; he also taught 1988-9 at the University of Calgary. Syer has performed and commissioned contemporary music, and in 1986 he became artistic director of New Works Calgary, a new music society dedicated to promoting Canadian music. Syer has appeared across Canada, in solo piano recitals and with the Calgary Philharmonic, Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and MSO among others, and he has frequently been heard on the CBC. He has also performed in duo recitals with his wife Laurie Lindsay Syer, a violinist with the Calgary Philharmonic.

Trevor Wagler - Bands, Band Instruments

Trevor Wagler - Bands, Band Instruments

Trevor Wagler has dedicated his life to the art of music. He is co-owner/Director of Renaissance School of the Arts, as well as a freelance French horn player (on both modern and historical instruments), conductor, organist, composer, arranger/orchestrator, music editor/copyist and clinician.

He holds a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition, a Diploma in Performance, and a Diploma in Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as a Masters of Music Degree in horn performance from Western University. He has performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, Tafelmusik, Orchestra London / London Sinfonia, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Nota Bene Period Orchestra, the Windsor Symphony, the Stratford Festival, Drayton Entertainment and more, sharing the stage with the likes of Dianna Krall, Anne Murray, Michael Burgess and Howard Cable.

Trevor has conducted the historic Waterloo Concert Band since 2006, and has spent nearly two decades conducting various ensembles for the KWS Youth Orchestra Programme. He is the regular guest conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony for their acclaimed joint performances with KW Glee. He founded the Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Concert Band (KW YCB) in 2017.

Passionate about music education, Trevor maintains an active teaching schedule at Renaissance School of the Arts, and holds contract faculty positions at both Laurier University and the University of Waterloo (Conrad Grebel University College).

In addition to his active performance and teaching schedule, Trevor is also a busy arranger/orchestrator and composer, having written more than 1000 scores for orchestras, bands, chamber ensembles and soloists around the world. Recent commissions have included orchestrating (and conducting) The K-W Symphony Presents KW Glee Live! at the Centre in the Square (Kitchener), as well as new music for the KWS, Symphony Nova Scotia, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Edmonton Symphony, and the Kingston Symphony.

Trevor is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the International Horn Society, the Historic Brass Society and the National Geographic Society

Wendy Wagler - Woodwinds

Wendy Wagler - Woodwinds

An accomplished soloist and orchestral musician, Wendy Wagler holds the principal flute chair in the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra and has performed with many ensembles, including the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Brantford Symphony and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble. She has performed as soloist with the K-W Symphony Youth Orchestra, the K-W Chamber Orchestra, the Renaissance Singers and the Symphonic Band of the University of Cauca (Colombia). As a chamber musician, she has spent the last decade with the Springdale Trio, with pianist Boyd McDonald and cellist Ben Bolt-Martin. This winter, Wendy unveiled her new ensemble: The Phoenix Trio, featuring pianist Beth Ann de Sousa and cellist Cathy Anderson.

Wendy holds a Master's Degree in Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario and an Honours Bachelor Degree in Flute Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University, having studied with Bonita Boyd, Dr. Amy Hamilton, Thomas Kay, and Prof. Fiona Wilkinson. She has directed flute masterclasses worldwide, including as a guest artist and clinician at the University of Cauca Flute Festival (Pasto, Colombia), and has been teaching flute at Renaissance School of the Arts since 1995.

Wendy is the flute instructor at Heritage College in Cambridge and the founding director of Renaissance School of the Arts Flute Choir and Flute Camp. She has given her seminar How to Conquer Performance Anxiety to youth orchestras, high school music classes, and university masterclasses throughout North America. Wendy maintains the highest reputation as a flute instructor, routinely taking students successfully through all levels of conservatory exams as well as university auditions, and beyond.