ChoralFest Adjudicators 2018



Jackie Hawley (Ottawa, ON)


Jackie is the founding Artistic Director of the Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa. She has conducted and toured internationally with adult, youth and children's choirs and has been a clinician for choirs and schools throughout Canada for nearly 30 years. Jackie has presented at numerous events including Festival 500, Podium, and the International Symposium of Singing and Song II. She was on the ACCC Podium committee (Ottawa), wrote the children’s choir column for Anacrusis from 2013 to 2016 and is a Choir’s Ontario Board member. She has adjudicated for the Alberta Choral Federation Choralfest South and was recently a jury member for the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs, and was also the Artistic Director of the Ottawa Children’s Choir and Music Director of its Chamber Choir from 2008-2015.

Jackie works frequently with the Education Department of the National Arts Centre and is the Music Director of the NAC’s 500 voice annual Music Monday Choir. She is the Founder of the Nipiit-Katittut- Voices United (NKVU) educational engagement project which connects choristers with youth in Iqaluit to build community and promote leadership skills, musical artistry and cultural enlightenment, and was also a teacher with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, continuing to give music leadership workshops to Board staff and facilitate workshops for school choirs. She graduated from University of Toronto with an honors degree in Music Education and from University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Education.

Geung Kroeker-Lee (Winnipeg, MB)


Born in Seoul, South Korea, and based in Winnipeg, Canada, Geung is the Artistic Director of Prairie Voices and Bluestem, as part of the Prairie Voices Inc. family of choirs. Geung specializes in working with youth and young adult singers and is best known for his ensembles’ dynamic and innovative delivery of choral music. His ensemble Prairie Voices placed first in the youth choir competition category at the International Choral Kathaumixw Festival in 2018.

Geung holds a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and a Bachelor of Music in Voice from the University of Manitoba, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. Geung also serves as the assistant conductor of Canzona, a professional baroque choral ensemble in Winnipeg. As a music educator, Geung teaches middle years general music at Arthur E. Wright Community School in Winnipeg.  An in-demand guest conductor and workshop facilitator, Geung was most recently the guest conductor for the Manitoba Provincial Junior Honour Choir.

Andrea Wicha (Winnipeg, MB)

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Andrea is the choral and drama teacher at Shaftesbury High School in the Pembina Trails School Division. She also conducts the Choraliers girls’ choir for the Pembina Trails Voices (PTV) program. This past summer she was a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba, teaching the conducting and ensemble portion of Kodaly Level 1. She was previously the elementary music specialist at Ecole Dieppe School where her choirs won numerous Winnipeg Music Festival awards and made guest appearances with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir.  She has been a nationally requested adjudicator, guest conductor, instructor and clinician.  

Andrea graduated from Brandon University with the Gold Medal and has instructed violin, piano, voice and theory privately. She has her Orff Specialist certificate from the University of Manitoba and Kodaly Level 1 from Brandon University, and she completed her Masters of Music at the University of Manitoba, specializing in choral conducting. Andrea and her husband Werner have been blessed with three wonderful children; Benjamin, Daniel and Alexandria.


Kathleen Allan (St. John's, NL)

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Conductor, composer, and soprano Kathleen Allan is rapidly becoming internationally respected for her compelling performances and engaging compositions. She is the Director of Choral Studies and Associate Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at the Vancouver Academy of Music and is the Artistic Director of Canzona, Winnipeg’s professional Baroque choir. In 2015, she made her Asian debut conducting Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Japan. She is the recipient of the 2016 Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Prize in Choral Conducting. She has been the Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Bach Choir since 2015 and was the Conducting Fellow of the Canadian Chamber Choir in 2013. She is the founding co-artistic director of Arkora, a chamber music collective dedicated to interdisciplinary performance. Her compositions have been commissioned, performed and recorded by ensembles throughout the Americas and Europe and have been featured at two World Symposiums on Choral Music.

Also in high demand as a soprano, she has appeared as a soloist with the National Broadcast Orchestra of Canada and Berkshire Choral Festival Choir, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Bach Choir. In addition to freelancing regularly in Canada and the United States, she has sung as a member of the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Vienna-based Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Skylark in Atlanta, Clarion Choir in New York, and the Yale Schola Cantorum. She holds a degree in composition from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in conducting from Yale University.

Debra Cairns (Edmonton, AB)

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An award-winning conductor and internationally published scholar, Debra Cairns has been recognized in both performance and academic domains through CD publications, national broadcast recordings and competition prizes with i Coristi (the chamber choir she founded in 1994), as well as through articles, a scholarly edition of a Renaissance mass, and a book. She is the recipient of various awards, the most recent of which are the Alberta Choral Federation’s (ACF) Richard S. Eaton Award of Distinction, the ACF’s Patricia Cook Memorial Award, and being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr Cairns’ longtime research into the relationship of conducting gesture to choral ensemble sound has resulted in the development of philosophies and approaches to conducting that have a direct bearing on vocal production and choral sound. Applying this knowledge to her own work as a conductor, she has also shared her findings through lectures, clinics, and masterclasses across the country, and through her work at the University of Alberta with undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers as conductors and educators.

As an administrator, Debra Cairns served as Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Alberta, Coordinator of its graduate choral conducting program, board member and President of Choral Canada (formerly the Association of Canadian Choral Communities), and as an active member of a wide variety of committees. Recently retired from the University of Alberta, Professor Emerita Cairns lives in St Albert and remains in demand as a guest conductor, clinician and lecturer.

Kendra Obach (Stonewall, MB)

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Kendra Obach is a teacher, conductor and adjudicator, currently teaching high school choir and drama in Stonewall and Warren, Manitoba. She is also the director of two community choirs, Tabula Rasa and the Selkirk Community Choir. Kendra has completed a Masters in Choral Conducting through the University of Manitoba after having received her Bachelor degrees in Music and Education at Brandon University. She has guest conducted groups including Westman Youth Choir and Lord Selkirk Divisional Choirs, is a founder of the Interlake Youth Choir and the new Selkirk Community Youth Choir, and as a chorister Kendra has sung with many ensembles, and twice had the privilege to represent Manitoba in the National Youth Choir.  She continues to perform in musical theatre, alongside her husband and the Interlake Players. 

Vocal Jazz Ensembles

Jennifer McMillan (Edmonton, AB)

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Jennifer is an active member of the Edmonton musical community. She is a graduate of the Music Composition and Piano Performance programs at MacEwan University and has since developed into a sought-after accompanist, vocalist, adjudicator, composer, and arranger.

As a vocalist, Jen has lent her talents to various publishing demos and numerous vocal ensembles including the Kokopelli Choir Association, ‘Nuf Sed – of Today’s Innovative Music Edmonton (TIME Association), the Mayfield Dinner Theatreand the internationally renowned a cappella group Sixth Wave, from Los Angeles. She has performed as a backup singer for Ben Folds and has been a featured vocalist in many film, television and video game recordings. A few favourites include Universal Studios Tokyo, Warframe (video game), CBS’s Hawaii Five-O and CBC’s The Nature of Things.

As an accompanist, she has played for the Kokopelli Choir Association, MacEwan University, BrailTones, Victoria School of the Arts, Lindsay Thurber High School, Strathcona High School, the Citadel, Queen Elizabeth High School, Alberta Opera, Mascato Coastal Youth Choir from Namibia, the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, and the Mayfield Dinner Theatre.

Jennifer’s choral arrangements and compositions have been heard across North America and have even reached audiences in Europe, Australia, Namibia and South Africa. She has recently moved permanently back to Edmonton after living part-time in Los Angeles where she enjoys life with her husband and two children. 


Lisa Martinelli (Toronto, ON)

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Lisa is an active vocalist and educator on the jazz scene in Toronto. She was born and raised in Sault Ste Marie Ontario. Even though she was singing from the age of 12 and had a hit single on the rock charts, she felt she needed to make the trip to Toronto in the early 1980‘s to study voice at Humber College. Here Lisa was honoured to be a part of many inspiring educational opportunities that helped her pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer. She toured Ontario in the Bi-Centennial musical theatre show produced by Howard Cable, was a member of the Expo ‘86 Humber College Big Band that played everyday for 5 months in Vancouver, recorded an “LP” with the same band under the direction of jazz great Ron Collier, and finished off with an Honours Diploma in Jazz Performance.

After Humber, Lisa continued her studies at the University of Toronto where she received her B. Mus and her B. Ed. She was accepted as a student by Internationally acclaimed soprano soloist and renowned vocal coach Mary Morrison, played and recorded with ensembles led by Canadian jazz icon Phil Nimmons, and studied vocal jazz privately with pianist/vocalist Carol Welsman. Lisa continued her studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts summer jazz workshop in 1996 where British jazz vocalist Norma Winstone was teaching. The musical highlights with Norma, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Jim Hall, Don Thompson, Pat Labarbera, and the rest of the students and staff at Banff had a major influence on her musical direction.

She has performed extensively with her own jazz quintets, quartets, trios and has been honoured to make music with players like Ed Bickert, Peter Appleyard, Guido Basso, Gene Denovi, Dave Young and Ranee Lee. Whether it’s contemporary music for Michael Colgrass and the U of T symphonic chorus or backing up pop artists with the Toronto Symphony at Roy Thompson Hall, Lisa enjoys each new musical challenge. Throughout 25 years as an educator, Lisa has been on faculty at most of the major post secondary schools in the Greater Toronto region. She spent many years directing the jazz choir, co-producing two Cd’s and teaching privately at the University of Toronto, and conducted numerous masterclasses and private lessons at York University and Mohawk College. She is now a full time faculty member at Humber College where she heads up the Vocal department.

Lisa is a well respected choir director at summer music camps around the province. She has conducted mass choirs, jazz vocal ensembles and taught lessons at Lakefield Summer Music Camp, Inter-Provincial Music Camp, The Jazz Camp, Kincardine Summer music camp and the Madison summer music clinic in Wisconsin. Most recently Lisa directed a choir for a stage production of First which will have it’s debut at the Missisauga Living Art’s Centre in the fall 2018. As a clinician she has worked for MusicFest Canada, the International Association of Jazz Education’s Conference in Boston and Toronto, and Kiwanis Festivals in Toronto and Ottawa. She completed her Masters of Music at York University where she studied choral arranging and researched and presented papers on “The Syllabic Organization of Sounds in Scat Singing” and “The Arranging Style of Gene Puerling.”

Rob Monson (Winnipeg, MB)

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Rob Monson currently teaches instrumental and choral music at Glenlawn Collegiate. Over the past 25 years he has had the privilege to sing and direct with many choirs and bands throughout the province. As a tuba player, Rob has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Wind Ensemble, and the Winnipeg Brass Quintet.

He has conducted workshops for the Central, Eastern, and Western Manitoba Choral Associations, as well as numerous school divisions across Manitoba. Rob has also adjudicated at the Level One Band Festival and at Solo and Ensemble Festival for the Manitoba Band Association. In 2008 he was the director of the Provincial Honour Choir and conducted the Manitoba Junior Honour band in 2014. Since 2011 he has co-directed the Rising Stars choir, in preparation for their concerts with the WSO. Rob is excited and honoured to be back as a clinician at this wonderful festival.