ChoralFest 2017 Adjudicators
EARLY AND MIDDLE YEARS CHOIRS
Kimberly Denis (Edmonton, AB)
imberley Denis, M.Mus. Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance (University of Alberta, 2007), B.Mus. (Mount Allison University, 2003), B. Comm. (Mount Allison University, 2003) is known for her energy and enthusiasm both on stage and off, and is sought after as a soloist, choral clinician, and adjudicator for voice and choir. Upon completion of both her commerce and music undergraduate degrees at Mount Allison University, she returned to Alberta where she completed a double masters degree in choral conducting and vocal performance at the University of Alberta. She has conducted a wide variety of ensembles across the province, and has been the guest conductor at Naramata Music Week, Festival 500, Cornerbrook Regional Festival, and a number of school district honour choirs. She is a frequent musical theatre vocal coach for local colleges and universities and just finished her tenure as the music director at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Edmonton. Kimberley is also a core singer with Pro Coro Canada, Edmonton’s professional choir. In addition to her work as a singer and conductor, Kimberley arranges pieces for choirs and is published by Cypress Music and Augsburg Fortress. She is currently a voice teacher and faculty liaison at Grant MacEwan University: Alberta College campus, and in addition to her work as conductor of Shumayela she is excited to be serving as conductor for Kikimasu while Ms. Carmen So is on sabbatical leave.
Albert Bergen (Mitchell, MB)
Born and raised in Germany, Albert grew up in a musically loving family. Besides everyday singing, every child in the family had to learn how to play an instrument. And so it was that Albert started to take violin lessons at the age of 6. In 2004 he and his family moved to Kleefeld, Manitoba. In 2009 Albert graduated from University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education with Distinction. Albert has enjoyed many successes as a violinist, some of which include trophies at “Jugendmusiziert”, winner of the Concerto Competition and the Genser Competiton at the Faculty of Music. Besides his great passion for the art of violin, Albert developed an interest and passion for choral music. That passion led to a choral program in his church in Steinbach where he has been directing the mixed choir and men’s choir since 2006. For the past 7 years he has been teaching classroom music, violin and choir at Mitchell Elementary School. Albert is married to his lovely wife Elly and together they have 3 children, David, Benjamin and Timothy. They are very excited and awaiting their 4th child which is due in October.
Cynthia Dutton (Winnipeg, MB)
Graduating in 1978 with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, Cynthia got certified to teach and began 36 plus years in Seven Oaks School Division (SOSD). Eighteen of those years were in the music classroom, where she enjoyed working with choirs and developing original scripts and arrangements for both children and staff in yearly musical events. Cynthia’s belief in the importance of a rich arts focus as a way of honouring the strengths of all children led to the pursuit of a Masters of Education and a shift into school administration. Initially, she served as the Divisional Team Leader for Music in SOSD during which Indigenous composer, Andrew Balfour, was commissioned to create a work which was then performed by the choirs, bands and early years’ programs in all 21 Seven Oaks’ schools. She also initiated Arts in the Park, a biannual exhibition of Arts programming by all schools in SOSD. It was while she was principal at Margaret Park School that the division’s first violin and fiddle classes began. This programming now exists in every Seven Oaks’ School, and most recently, has culminated in a partnership with the acclaimed El Sistema program and the WSO. Cynthia’s musical history includes a variety of experiences: a 20 year run with CBC’s popular weekly program, Hymn Sing, as singer, writer and host; soloist, accompanist and conductor in church choirs; and, also clinician/conductor with SOSD’s Choralfest, and MCA’s Choralfest and Provincial Honour Choir program.
SENIOR YEARS AND COMMUNITY CHOIRS
Janet Brenneman (Winnipeg, MB)
Dr. Janet Brenneman is Dean and Associate Professor of Music at Canadian Mennonite University where she teaches music education and conducts the CMU Singers and the CMU Women's Chorus. Originally from Ontario, Janet earned Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Education from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. in Music Education from Michigan State University. Janet studied conducting with Doreen Rao, Elmer Iseler, and Charles Smith. As a graduate student, she was awarded the prestigious Sir Ernest MacMillan Award in Music Education for her research and scholarship. Her research interests include gender issues in choral music education, and the boys changing voice. Janet is a former conductor of boys’ choirs for Pembina Trails Voices. Currently, Dr. Brenneman is the Conductor of Renaissance Voices and Co-conductor of the Mennonite Festival Chorus, a symphonic chorus for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys a busy family life with her husband John Balsillie and their two children, Lydia and Naomi.
Adam Con (Victoria, BC)
Dr. Adam Jonathan Con is a conductor, a visionary, a respected teacher of choral conducting and Tai Chi Chuan, and a leader in the advocacy of music education. A native of Vancouver and a third generation Chinese Canadian, his holistic approach to choral music through a unique blend of kinesthetic whole body movement and Eastern philosophy continues to inspire singers of all ages in mind, body, and spirit. His motto is “Music is more than notes in motion; music is notes in Emotion.” Dr. Con is a tenured Associate Professor of Music at University of Victoria. His duties at School of Music include teaching and conducting the 170 voice UVic Symphonic Chorus, teaching Elementary Music Methods, Music Education Foundations, Choral Conducting, Choral Organization, Rehearsal Techniques and Literature, Middle and Elementary School choir methods, and supervising music education students. He has taught and served in various positions such as Director of Choral Activities and Chair of Music Education at institutions such as the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, California State University, Long Beach, California; Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Dr. Con earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education (Secondary Instrumental and Choral) and a Master’s Degree in Music Education (Elementary) from the University of British Columbia. At Florida State University, he earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Music Education (Choral Conducting Emphasis) studying with Rodney Eichenberger, Andre Thomas, Clifford Madsen and Judy Bowers. In addition, Dr. Con is a certified Orff Schulwerk specialist and has extensive study experience as an Alexander Technique practitioner. In high demand both as a guest conductor and choral conducting teacher, Dr. Con has been invited to present and conduct at prestigious events such as the National American Orff-Schulwerk Conference, Podium: the Canadian National Choral Conducting Symposium, the Canadian National GALA Conference, the National Canadian Orff-Schulwerk Conference, the Alberta Provincial Music Educator’s Conference, the Manitoba Music Educator’s Conference, the British Columbia Provincial Music Educator’s Conference, the British Columbia Choral Federation, the Ohio State Music Educator’s Conference, the Georgia State American Choral Directors Association Conference, and the Georgia Music Educator’s Conference. His talent and ability to work with all levels of musical experience is grounded in 15 years of diverse K-12 public school music teaching which includes Orff, Kodály, and Dalcroze based general music, French immersion music, middle and secondary school choral, vocal jazz, concert band and jazz band. His professional conducting experiences include numerous All-State and honor choirs, civic orchestras, professional musical theatre, community choirs, concert bands, and 39 years as a church choir director and organist. He currently serves as the University of Victoria Convocation organist.
Jennifer Moir (London, ON)
Jennifer Moir is a highly respected conductor, educator and adjudicator with a growing international reputation. She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards and was honoured with the distinguished Leslie Bell Prize Award for Choral Conducting from the Ontario Art Council in 2004. In May of 2010, she was nominated for the Premiere’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, in the category of Emerging Artists. Under her direction, choirs have won national and international awards through the CBC Choral Competition, The Choral Olympics, Linz, Austra, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Wales and have been broadcast on CBC Radio. Ms. Moir is invited regularly to serve as a clinician for festivals, coach for choirs and vocal ensembles and workshops facilitator for music students and educators across North America, Europe and Scandinavia. Highlights include an artist residency at the Sibelius Academy and the Konservatori in Helsinki, Finland, language coach for Finnish recording artists, Rajaton and rock sensation, Santa Cruz, Tampere International Choral Festival. Jennifer has adjudicated voice and choirs at both the national and international level and has served on faculty with The Voice Care Network, St. John’s University, Minnesota. She is the past Artistic Director The Junior Amabile Youth Singers, The Woodstock Fanshawe Singers and Project Sing! Jennifer is the founder and Artistic Director of The Kaleid Choral Festival ~ “a kaleidoscope of voices” that has played host to internationally renoun vocal groups Rajaton (Finland) Black Umfolosi 5 (Zimbabwe), Cadence (Canada) and FreePlay Duo (Canada) Through this festival and regular programming, Jennifer has commissioned over 60 new works to date by Canadian composers. At Western University, Jennifer conducts Les Choristes (women’s choir) and The Chorale (mixed choir). She also has a voice studio and teaches Vocal Methods and Choral Conducting. In Spring 2015, Jennifer was awarded a Community Service Learning grant to develop an experiential learning course at Western, “Community Through Choral Art”. In the Spring and Fall of 2016, students participated in an innovative production of R. Murray Schafer’s music drama, The Spirit Garden.
VOCAL JAZZ ENSEMBLES
Heather Bambrick (Toronto, ON)
As one of Canada’s top Jazz vocalists, Heather Bambrick has collaborated with some of the best around, including Phil Nimmons, Fred Hirsch, Gene DiNovi, Guido Basso, Lea Delaria, Anne Hampton Callaway, Carol Welsman, Jackie Richardson, Ian Shaw, as well as the late Rob McConnell and Peter Appleyard. She’s a founding member of vocal ensembles The Beehive Singers and Broadsway, and has appeared as a guest performer with various Jazz ensembles, as well as with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. Heather’s solo recordings include It’s About Time and Those Were The Days, both of which were nominated for East Coast Music Awards and resulted in international airplay and critical acclaim. Her latest recording, You’ll Never Know, was nominated for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year at the 2017 Juno Awards (Canada’s version of the Grammy Awards). It’s been praised by critics and industry leaders, and has risen to the top of Canadian Jazz radio charts. Heather’s been a guest artist on numerous diverse recording projects, from those of the Caliban Bassoon Quartet, to Sophisticated Ladies (the final recording of Jazz great Peter Appleyard), and Just Passing Through (the award-winning recording from Jeff and Don Breithaupt). She’s been honoured with Canada’s National Jazz Award for Vocalist of the Year. More than just a vocalist, Heather is also one of Canada’s busiest voice actors, appearing on numerous commercial campaigns, as well as voicing characters on several Emmy-nominated animated series, including those for Disney, PBS, Comedy Network, and NBCKids. Since 2001, she’s become a beloved host at JAZZ.FM, Canada’s only all-Jazz radio station, and has twice been named National Jazz Awards’ Broadcaster of the Year. Heather’s shows are described as what happens when “Ella Fitzgerald meets Carol Burnett”, combining brilliant musicianship with side-splitting laughs. Part musician, part storyteller, part comedienne, Heather is more than just a singer. She is an entertainer in every sense of the word!
Andrew Dahan (Bloomington, IL)
Andrew is Visiting Instructor and current Head of Music Education at Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL), where he teaches courses in music education, including Foundations and Principles of Music Education, Choral Music Methods, Practicum in Music Education, and Seminar in Student Teaching. Dahan also founded and currently directs the IWU Vocal Jazz Ensembles Unlicensed Syncopation and Vocal Jazz Lab Ensemble. Unlicensed Syncopation performed at the 2016 Illinois Music Educator Conference, and at the 2017 Jazz Education Network Conference. His research, focused on choral and vocal jazz ensemble rehearsal techniques and vocal jazz education history, has been presented at both state and national conferences, and has been published in Research Perspectives in Music Education. He was formerly an adjunct faculty member at Miami Dade College (Miami, FL) as a jazz voice instructor. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Dahan was Director of Choirs at Addison Trail High School (Addison, IL) for seven years, where he directed the curricular choirs and the vocal jazz ensemble, Shades of Blue, and also taught class piano and Advanced Placement Music Theory. He has presented numerous workshops and clinics aimed at helping choral music directors with varying levels of jazz education learn how to incorporate jazz into their programs. He has also served as a clinician at many high schools in the Chicago area, and as an adjudicator for IHSA Solo & Ensemble and Organizational contests, as well as for vocal jazz and choral festivals around the United States. Dahan had the privilege of serving as director or assistant director for various choral and vocal jazz ensembles at the University of Miami, as well as directing various Illinois Music Education Association District Vocal Jazz Ensembles. He has also sung the National Anthem at Miami Heat Games and performed as a background vocalist for notable performers such as George Benson, Gloria Estefan, Ben Folds, Carmen Lundy, Raul Midón, and Steve Miller. Dahan has sung with the Grant Park Festival Chorus (Chicago, IL) under the direction of Christopher Bell and Carlos Kalmar for four seasons. He currently performs with the vocal jazz sextet Central Vocal Time, which is made up of music educators and performers from around the state of Illinois.
Tina Plett (Landmark, AB)
Tina graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2001 with her bachelor of music and bachelor of education degrees. Following that she taught band and choir for 13 years in the Sunrise School Division, the River East Transcona School Division and, most recently, the Seven Oaks School Division. In 2008, she returned to the University of Manitoba to receive her Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Education. Tina has been a member of many ensembles around the city including the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble, Apogee Vocal Jazz, the Mennonite Community Orchestra and, currently, the West Side Jazz Band. Although Tina has taken some time off from teaching to be at home with her two children, she remains active as an adjudicator and clinician throughout Manitoba and plans to return to teaching in the near future.