Adjudicators may be substituted without announcement.
Colin Clarke is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra program, and maintains an active career as a sought-after conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. A recipient of the Clifford Evens Award for Conducting at the University of Western Ontario, Colin participated in conducting workshops at the University of North Texas and at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. While at the International Conducting Workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria, he conducted the symphonies of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with the highly celebrated New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia and studied with noted pedagogues Gustav Meier and Rossen Milanov. Colin made his Carnegie Hall debut in May 2006 with the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, and returned to Carnegie Hall in 2011 and 2016. With a passion for music education and outreach, Colin maintains a commitment to working with young people and the community. He has guest conducted several orchestras and choirs across the country and has led the National Youth Band of Canada. In November 2020, he was awarded the Ontario Band Association’s Lifetime Membership Award for his contribution to music education in Ontario.
Emma Rush has established herself as one of Canada’s preeminent classical guitarists. Known for her innovative programming and powerful stage presence, along with her warm sound and virtuosic technique, an event with Emma Rush is one to remember. She is passionate about bringing classical music to unusual spaces, and bringing unusual music to classical spaces. She regularly tours rural, remote, and other communities where live music experiences are rare. Her concerts are intimate and engaging and feature rarely heard historical works, little-known gems of the Latin American guitar repertoire, folkloric music from around the world, and, always, music by female composers. Rush completed her graduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany (2006), following an honours Bachelor of Music degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS (2002).
As one of Canada’s premier harpists, Kristan Toczko is recognized for her radiant tone, expressive music making, and scintillating virtuosity. A first place winner of the prestigious OSM Standard Life Competition, Kristan has also been named a CBC Radio-Canada Young Artist, and featured as a soloist in national broadcast. In addition to an international concert career where she has performed with esteemed artists such as Measha Brueggergosman, Peter Oundjian, Matthias Pintscher, Sir Simon Rattle, and Barbara Hannigan, and in such venues as Carnegie Hall, the KKL Luzern Concert Hall, and Roy Thomson Hall she As a chamber musician, she is a founding member of harp duo “Duo Novus.” They have held an artist residency at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute, have commissioned several new works, and have toured internationally with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts. As an advocate for her profession, Kristan joined the social media platform TikTok in fall of 2020 and within less than a year grew her channel to over 800,000 followers. She actively works to arrange and record covers from classical to pop to video game music and create educational videos about the harp. In 2020, Kristan was appointed the position of Northern Ontario Regional Representative to serve on the Board of Directors with the Ontario Harp Society. Kristan holds degrees from McGill University and Yale University, where she was awarded first prize in both schools’ concerto competitions. When not on stage, Kristan teaches one-on-one harp and piano lessons through her online studio.
Yvette Rowledge graduated with distinction from the University of Victoria School of Music and holds diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT, Performance), the Victoria Conservatory of Music (AVCM, Performance and Pedagogy), and Camosun College (Associate of Arts Diploma in music). She is a former faculty member of the Langley Community Music School, the Victoria Conservatory and the Douglas College Community Music School. Her tutors have included Dr. Robin Wood, Winifred Scott Wood, Dr. Gordana Lazarevich and Bruce Vogt. Yvette is an active adjudicator at many music Festivals throughout Canada and is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association. She has taught all levels of music for close to 40 years and has been a member of the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association for most of that time. She is an examiner of senior piano levels for The London College of Music and Media (England). Yvette enjoys both leading and participating in Master Classes. She has a thriving studio at her home in Newton, Surrey.
Praised for expressing “ultra-sensitive and highly refined pianism” (Quinte Society for Chamber Music), Petya Stavreva recently completed her DMA at Western with Prof. Leslie Kinton. She finished her Master’s Degree with Prof. Anton Nel at the University of Texas at Austin, where she received full scholarship and grant support from Canada Arts Council and the Webb Trust Fund from the Glenn Gould School. Before that, she was an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for ten weeks. At Western, she is a four-time recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, as well as the Don Wright Graduate Entrance scholarship, and the Sherwood Fox Music scholarship. Petya has been an active solo and collaborative pianist in Toronto over the last decade. As an educator, Petya 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. She is currently completing training for the Royal Conservatory College of Examiners, and maintains a busy and active teaching studio in both London and Toronto/Mississauga.
Sandra Mogensen is equally at home in two worlds: performing as a solo pianist and co-performing with singers in recital. She has played in concert in both capacities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Latvia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria. She did her early musical studies with her mother, Edite Mogensen, in Sarnia, Ontario. Sandra’s further training as a pianist has taken her to study with Damjana Bratuz at the University of Western Ontario, the Orff-Instiut Abteilung of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen where she studied with Friedrich Gürtler, and to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ where she received the Master’s of Music in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying, studying with J.J.Penna and Dalton Baldwin. Ms. Mogensen has had an extensive teaching career and enjoys mentoring musicians in their processes of self-discovery and artistic development.Sandra is drawn to the music of recent and living composers, as well as jazz and the art of improvisation. As a curator of musical experiences, Sandra seeks to reinvent and reinvigorate the recital format and heighten the listener’s experience of connection, relevance and meaning. Exploring the use of visual elements and improvisation, reorganizing the typical recital structure and reexamining conventional recital practices form the basis of this evolving work.
David Di Giovanni
An award-winning theatre director, playwright, and dramaturge, David is a playwright, theatre director, and arts educator currently serving as Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Action, an educational and performing arts theatre company with a mandate to make the language and stories of Shakespeare accessible, fun and relevant to young people, their families, and the community. The company accomplishes this through workshops in schools and libraries across the GTA, summer camps, and mainstage productions. To further this mandate, Shakespeare in Action recently established its first permanent home at Artscape Weston Common in Toronto’s Weston community and has dedicated itself to growing fun and accessible performing arts experiences in northwest Toronto. After completing his MFA in Theatre Directing at York University, David co-founded madonnanera with Amanda Cordner and has co-written and directed two of madonnanera’s productions- BODY SO FLUORESCENT which has toured across Canada and into the United States to critical acclaim, and WRING THE ROSES, nominated for outstanding ensemble at the Dora Mavor Moore awards in 2019. Alongside Shakespeare in Action, he directed MACBETH IN ACTION, SIA’s first interactive Shakespeare production which recruited students to do the play alongside professional actors, and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, SIA’s inaugural production in Weston’s Little Avenue Memorial Park in July 2019. He is also designing and managing SIA’s first project with seniors, KING LEAR IN WESTON, a community-engaged and senior-led project that uses KING LEAR as a springboard for folks over 55 to explore and perform their own personal stories.
Daniela is a Toronto-based musician who loves to play live, record, arrange for strings, and jam. Her instruments are violin and viola, with a little guitar, piano, electric bass, and some singing sprinkled in. Her musical roots are in Classical, but she also spent many a summer jamming around the campfire. Today she mainly performs Classical, Musical Theatre, Experimental, Rock, and Pop. She’s very versatile – also arranging for strings — and is open to playing any style!
Anthony Rissesco is a versatile violin player and teacher who tours regularly with award-winning singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant and with roots-rock band Pogey. As a member of the neo-traditional trio Papilio, Anthony has garnered ECMA and Nova Scotia Music Awards nominations. He is also a member of the popular Halifax band The Gig Dogs. Anthony has played with Symphony Nova Scotia, Anne Murray, and Peggy Seeger. As a music student at Dalhousie University, Anthony studied classical violin under Phillippe Djokic. He has won fiddle competitions throughout Canada, including the Maritime Fiddle Championship. In 1990, he came third in the Canadian Open in Shelburne Ontario, and he was chosen to represent Nova Scotia at the Grand Masters Competition in Ottawa for six consecutive years.
A native of Newfoundland, Ms. Hounsell graduated from Mount Allison University with a Bachelor Music and Certificate of Excellence in Performance; Artist Diploma from the University of Toronto and a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of British Columbia. She continued her training at the Banff School of Fine Arts and as a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio. Ms Hounsell was the recipient of the Canada Council’s Sylva Gelber Foundation Award as outstanding young Canadian Artist in 1996. Joanne has performed lead roles with major opera, symphony and theatre companies from coast to coast. lShe enjoyed a stellar season with the Stratford Festival as Josephine in Brian Macdonald’s acclaimed production of H.M.S. Pinafore. She has sung lead roles with L’Opéra de Montréal (Governess in The Turn of the Screw); Pacific Opera ( Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Governess in The Turn of the Screw and as a featured artist in the Ben Heppner CBC Gala Concert); Calgary Opera ( Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring); Manitoba Opera (Lucy The Telephone and Laetitia The Old Maid and the Thief), Toronto’s Opera in Concert (Marie in Zar und Zimmerman), Newfoundland Symphony (Micaela in Carmen & Mozart arias), Toronto Operetta Theater (Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Pepi in Wiener Blut), Kingston Symphony ( Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance) and Regina Symphony (The Merry Widow). She is the Director of Saltwater Inc., a production company in the creative arts, and continues her teaching work in her private studio and SMUS Summer Academy: Voice. She has a solid reputation as an innovator in the arts and has produced and directed critically acclaimed contemporary works including Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel and Dean Burry’s Pandora’s Locker & Mummer’s Masque featured on CBC Radio 2. Ms. Hounsell has been on faculty at the University of Lethbridge and as the Head of Voice at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Her warm personality and understanding of the craft of singing has made her in demand as an adjudicator & clinician at the regional, provincial and national level.
Gail Hakala “she/her”
Gail Hakala is an accomplished singer, actor, adjudicator and teacher who has performed from coast to coast in all major theatres in Canada. Gail was a member of the Shaw Festival Theatre Company for nine years and 20 productions. Favourite roles at Shaw include Minerva in Mr. Cinders, Bonnie in Anything Goes, Tinkerbell in Peter Pan and Netta Lake in Cavalcade. Other favourite roles: Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera (Pantages Theatre and the Canadian tour), Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show (Bathurst Street Theatre), Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Sudbury Theatre Centre), Sister Mary Amnesia in Nunsense (Academy Theatre), and the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella (Stage West Calgary). Gail has also starred on the concert stage with Patty LuPone, Betty Buckley and Mandy Patinkin in The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (Pantages Theatre). Most recently, Gail was seen as Mavis in Church Basement Ladies (Victoria Playhouse Petrolia), Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man (Capitol Theatre), Mrs. Pearce in My Fair Lady and Aunt Eller in Oklahoma (Drayton Entertainment), Mrs. Barry/Mrs. Blewett in Anne of Green Gables (Charlottetown Festival) and Widow Corney in Oliver (Centaur Theatre). Gail has recently retired as Head of Music Theatre and Vocal Discipline at Sheridan College in the Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance Program. She has been the Resident Voice Coach at the Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals and Artistic Director and Advisor of The Toronto Youth Music Theatre Company. Gail holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in Voice Performance from the University of Toronto and is an active member of Canadian Actors Equity, ACTRA and NATS.
Jeff Madden is an actor, singer and educator and a Dora-Award-winning veteran of the Toronto Musical Theatre scene. Currently appearing in Come from Away (Mirvish Productions), Jeff starred as ‘Frankie Valli’ in Jersey Boys for over three years in Toronto and in cities across Australia. Notable other Toronto credits include Forever Plaid (Starvox/Mirvish), Echoes (Andrew Seok), and I Love You Because (Angelwalk) for which he garnered his second Dora nomination. Jeff has also performed for eight seasons at the Shaw Festival, recorded two CDs, and has appeared on TV’s ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ and ‘Mayday’. Jeff achieved a Master of Education degree from the University of Toronto and has been teaching acting and singing privately and at Sheridan College in Oakville, ON for seven years. Jeff has a soft-spot for Winnipeg – not only did Come from Away debut there, but Jeff earned his Equity card performing in the Manitoba Theatre Centre production of Lady, Be Good! starring Donna Fletcher.
CJ (he/him) is a 21 year old artist, rapper, singer/songwriter, actor & spoken word poet from Ottawa, ON. CJ is a member of the 3 person musical group “CZN” who was recently chosen by Simon Cowell as the winner of Canadian Family’s Got Talent on City TV/Breakfast Television. CZN is also the recent winner of the Jim Beam National Talent Search run by Canadian Music Week. CJ was a finalist in the city wide rap/hip-hop contest Top 5 run in Ottawa by Ring Entertainment. He is a soon to be graduate of the Sheridan College Music Theatre Performance program specializing in Commercial Performance and won the Commercial Performance Award in 2020. He has released over 20+ singles available on all streaming platforms, and has been rapping for over 10 years. CJ is passionate about music and is excited to help young artists find their voice in the beautiful art form of rap.
Mary Anne Dente
Expressing my love of the natural world through drawing and painting has been a life long passion. I am moved by the rhythm and resilience of nature as seen in forests and landscapes, seascapes, or even the tangled mass of a garden. In my travels, I paint the scenes that move me, attempting to capture the vibrancy of nature and the atmosphere of place. Regardless of my subject, texture and colour tend to be dominant elements in my oil and acrylic paintings. Oil and acrylic on canvas or birch panel are my preferred materials. I enjoy the viscosity and immediacy of oils, as well as the glazing and layering potential of acrylics. India ink drawings and acrylic washes are usually the first step when setting up my compositions. I continue with oils, trying to complete the balance of the painting in one sitting. I find this results in a more dynamic and energetic piece. I generally work with plein air sketches and photographs which I work up in the studio. I also paint directly en plein air using oils. My training has included working with artists at Central Technical Art School, Sheridan College, Neilson Park Creative Centre, and the Haliburton School of the Arts. Since retiring from full time teaching I have continued to practice my craft as well as conduct art workshops for children and adults in my studio in Stratford, Ontario. My work can be found in private collections in New Zealand, Florida, California and Ontario.
Dr. Joy Berg
For 20 years, Dr. Joy Berg had enriched the Concordia University of Edmonton [CUE] community with her wisdom, compassion, and passion for fine arts. During her time at CUE, Joy conducted the Concordia Concert Choir and Community Chorus, and she was the founding director of Bella Voce Women’s Choir. As a professor, she made outstanding contributions teaching CUE’s church music history courses, and, for many years, she was the cantor for daily chapel services. A fixture in the music community, Joy was an organizer and conductor in the Sacred Music Festival and she was instrumental in creating the Women’s Choral Festival at the annual Skirts A Fire Festival in the Alberta Avenue community. Joy has fostered a love of choral singing in her students, and she was the 2014 recipient of the “Companion of the Worship Arts” (CWA) for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. She holds a Doctorate of Music degree in Choral Conducting as well as a Doctorate of Worship Arts. As a longtime church musician, she has focused her research in hymnody, liturgy, Canadian hymn-writers, and worship planning and is actively involved in national and synodical church events, as well as workshops and festivals.
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, examiner for The Royal Conservatory of Music and a conductor at the National Music Camp of Canada . She has received numerous teaching, professional development and leadership awards including Teacher of the Year. In November 2006, Sharon received the highest award from the OMEA, an Honorary Life Membership. In Feb. 2019 Sharon also received an Honorary Life Membership from the Ontario Band Association (OBA).Sharon is currently the Chair of the Concert Band Division for MusicFest Canada. 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 a collection of stories called It Made Me Laugh, It Made Me cry. Stories From the Music Room.