ChoralFest Adjudicators 2014
Senior Years School, Community and Church Choirs
Until 2011, Spencer Duncanson was a Guidance Counsellor and Visual and Performing Arts Department Head at Sisler High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is a seasoned choral director and has been active as a clinician and guest conductor both here in Winnipeg and in the United States.
Spencer is presently serving as Founder / Artistic Director of the Little Opera Company. His performance credits include opera, musical theatre, and film work. In addition to managing the opera company and performing, Duncanson serves on the Board of The Winnipeg Foundation; is Chair of the Manitoba Arts and Cultural Management Program Advisory Council; and is a committee member of: Manitoba Provincial Honour Choirs.
Robert Filion has spent the past 20 years bringing choirs to the pinnacle of choral excellence. Recognized across Canada, his choirs earn top awards at local, provincial and national levels. His vocal ensembles from École sécondaire De La Salle have won 5 national championships. Robert Filion’s choirs are heard and seen regularly on the airwaves of CBC and Radio-Canada. The voice programme he heads in the performing arts stream at É.S. De La Salle was twice designated Best Music Programme in the National Capital by the Kiwanis Music Festival and CBC (2008 and 2012).
A talented musician and artistic director, in 2011 Robert Filion was appointed Artistic Director of Unisong, the annual Canada Day festival of Canadian choirs at the National Arts Centre. He works with the National Arts Centre Orchestra on concerts involving youth choirs. He focuses on new works and music from around the world, directing the Canadian premieres of the Clifford Crawley opera, «Angel Square», Glenn McClure’s «Messe des Caraïbes», «Misa Tango» by Luis Bacalov and «Missa Popularis» by Claus Bantzer. He has collaborated on productions of original Canadian works by, among others, Ruth Watson-Henderson, Peter Togni, Stéphanie Martin, Stephen Hatfield, Donald Patriquin, Frédéric Lacroix and Clifford Crawley. Robert Filion likes to surprise his audiences, and offers them the experience of all kinds of music.
Robert Filion directed the Choeur classique de l’Outaouais from 1997 to 2011, when it earned the prestigious Liette Turner award. Under his direction between 2002 and 2007, the Ottawa Children’s Choir won the international Angel Network prize for the Radio-Canada/CBC broadcast «Evergreen Wishes». Robert Filion holds an Ontario Teaching Certificate and is a member of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities, the American Choral Directors Association, and is a member of the Board of Choirs Ontario. M. Filion was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Canada.
Artistic Director of Camerata Singers (Halifax),Jeff Joudrey is highly regarded for his vision, musical leadership, and standards of excellence in choral music. Founder and former director of the First Baptist Girls’ Choir (1983 - 2012) and founder of Halifax Camerata Singers (1986), his leadership has provided challenge and reward for many Nova Scotia singers.
His choirs have established enviable reputations for performance excellence and innovative programming. The Halifax Camerata Singers has four recordings to its credit and, in addition to promoting choral music throughout the Maritimes, was awarded the prestigious Healey Willan Grand Prize as well as first place in the Chamber Choir category in the 2010 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs.
Jeff is an enthusiastic supporter of Canadian choral music, and his choirs frequently commission works from both established and emerging composers. Committed to the development of young singers, conductors and composers, he has been guest conductor of the Nova Scotia Youth Choir’s 15th anniversary tour and Unisong 2009 in Ottawa.
In addition to being Director of Music at Trinity-St. Stephen’s United Church in Amherst, Jeff is Chorus Master of the Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus. He is also in demand as a guest conductor, choral clinician, teacher, and adjudicator. He has served on the faculties of Dalhousie and Acadia universities as well as the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s Institute of Choral Conducting. Past- President of Choral Canada (formerly the Association of Canadian Choral Communities) he also is a former president of the Nova Scotia Choral Federation. He has served on juries for the Juno and East Coast Music Awards, the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council and Choral Canada.
A native of Nova Scotia, Jeff studied organ at Acadia University and the Haarlem International Academy in the Netherlands before going to McGill University to study with organists John Grew and Raymond Daveluy. His choral mentors include Canadian conductors Elmer Iseler and Wayne Riddell, and German conductor Helmuth Rilling.
Alisa Wiebe (Community Choirs)
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Alisa first fell in love with choir as a member of Assiniboine South Youth Choir . She went on to pursue a Bachelor of Musical Arts at Canadian Mennonite University and then an education degree from the University of Manitoba. Most recently, Alisa has been teaching choir, vocal jazz and fiddling at Garden City Collegiate. Her choirs there have been recommended to MusicFest Canada, and recently, were featured performers at Choralfest. Outside of the school environment, she has been a guest conductor for CMCA and has conducted the PTV Boys choir for the past two years. As a singer, Alisa has also enjoyed being a member of the Winnipeg Singers for many years.
Middle Years School Choirs
Carolyn has been an active member of Winnipeg's choral music community for many years. She teaches Choral Music at Sisler High School and is the Winnipeg School Division’s Performing Arts Consultant. She is Music Director of the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir, co-directs the Winnipeg School Division Junior High Choir, prepares children's choruses for Manitoba Opera, and is instructor of Choral Techniques with the University of Manitoba's Orff Certification Program.
Carolyn earned a Master of Music (Choral Conducting) from the University of Manitoba in 2010. She was awarded the Michael J. Proudfoot Award for Excellence in Choral Music teaching at the 2009 Winnipeg Music Festival. She enjoys adjudicating and guest-conducting throughout the province. Highlights of her career include directing the EastMan Youth Choir and the Manitoba Senior High Provincial Honour Choir (2010) and the Alberta Children’s Chorus (2014).
Whenever she can, Carolyn loves singing with the Manitoba Opera Chorus and with Camerata Nova.
Nedra received her (B. Mus., B.Ed.) form the University of Manitoba where she majored in voice. Her experience in the field of choral music is extensive having had the opportunity to sing with acclaimed choirs such as, Winnipeg Singers, University of Manitoba’s Women’s Chorus, Cantata Singers, and Prairie Voices. She has also, on occasion, performed with The Little Opera Company where she was able to mix her dramatic personality with her vocal skills.
Miss Francis is the Co-founder and vocal director of the Winnipeg Gospel Choir, director of the three choirs at Isaac Brock School, and is the director of music at Bethlehem United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic Church.
Millie Hildebrand credits her parents with her love for the choral arts. Singing was a daily event on the Oak Lake family farm, and in high school she was allowed the privilege of attending the Mennonite Collegiate Institute where, under the tutelage of Henry Engbrecht, choir soon became her favorite subject. Now familiar to Manitoba’s music community as a teacher, choral director, voice instructor and festival adjudicator, Millie has taught classroom and choral music at all levels and has been active in implementing programs for young musicians in her local community of Steinbach and throughout the province. These have included collaborations with the University of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the International Peace Gardens Music Camps, regional and provincial honour choirs, numerous choir tours and many musicals. Millie’s performance background includes past productions with Manitoba Opera, Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Canzona, to name a few. Her two-year teaching post in Bucharest, Romania provided an invigorating adventure into the art and culture of Eastern Europe. She has completed her fifth year as director of the Faith and Life Women’s Chorus that toured the Netherlands and Germany last summer. Millie is often seen sharing the podium with husband Ed, with whom she co-conducted the University of Manitoba Concert Choir for four years. They were this year's guest conductors of Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s “Sing Summer". When away from their music posts, Millie and Ed occupy themselves with their “bucket list”; most recently walking the Camino del Norte in Spain, biking the Danube from its source to Budapest and learning to sail on the Caribbean.
Andrea Dorothy Wicha is the music and choral specialist at Ecole Dieppe School, as well as the conductor of the Choraliers in the Pembina Trails Voices divisional choir program. Her choirs have won numerous awards at the Winnipeg Music Festival and have made guest appearances with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir. She has been a requested conductor and clinician. Andrea recently graduated with her Masters of Music, Choral Conducting from the University of Manitoba. She received her bachelor in Music Education from Brandon University where she received the gold medal. She has her Orff Specialist certificate from the University of Manitoba. She has also instructed violin, piano, voice, musical theatre and theory privately. Andrea and her husband Werner are blessed with three wonderful children; Benjamin, Daniel and Alexandria. She loves music and enjoys watching her children and students develop their abilities, confidence and enthusiasm as they make music together.
Early Years School Choirs
See photo and bio above under Middle Years School Choirs
Vocal Jazz Ensembles
In a word… multifaceted. Juno-nominated Dylan Bell’s musical curiosity has kept him effortlessly crossing and blurring musical boundaries. Dylan is a mainstay on the Canadian music scene, having sung with many of Canada’s premiere vocal ensembles such as Cadence; Hampton Avenue, winner of Jazz Report's Vocal Group of the Year; the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and the 1980s-era vocal pop group Retrocity. When he's not singing, he freelances as a keyboard player and bassist, working with varied artists from classical violinist Lara St. John, to world-music's autorickshaw, to veteran rockers Honeymoon Suite.
Behind the mixing board, Dylan has produced or engineered several award-winning albums, including a Juno co-nomination as Best Engineer for the Cadence album Twenty For One, the most recent album with from world-renowned Swingle Singers from London, England, and an upcoming album with the a cappella legends The Nylons.
Dylan's work as a composer and arranger has garnered international recognition, as winner of the John Lennon International Songwriting Competition and a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award. His vocal arrangements are sung worldwide from Arnprior to Zurich. His choral compositions can be heard in such varying contexts as the Victoria Scholars, the Canadian Chamber Choir, and Cadence. Dylan is also in demand worldwide as an instrumental teacher and vocal/choral clinician.
Quincy Davis, born on August 27th 1977 in Grand Rapids, MI, comes from a very musical family. He picked up the drums from an early age and often would play with his older brother in their basement. In his elementary and middle school bands, he also played trumpet and tuba.
His formal musical studies began during his 11th grade year at Interlochen Arts Academy (IAA). There he studied classical percussion as well as trap-set drumming. IAA is where he received his first experience playing with a jazz band. IAA proved to be an important contribution to Davisʼ future successes.
In 1995, Davis graduated from IAA and began college at Western Michigan University. There he studied with drum master, Billy Hart. Along with learning more about the drums, Mr. Hart instilled in Davis a deep knowledge of the music, which has proven to be very beneficial to his career. During these collegiate years, Davis played at various collegiate jazz festivals where notable musicians like Benny Green, Bunky Green, Jon Faddis, Roy Haynes, Carl Allen, Louis Hayes, and Wallace Roney heard and recognized Davisʼ talents with written accolades and excellence certificates.
After graduating in 1999, Davis taught elementary and middle school instrumental music in the Grand Rapids area for one year before moving to New York City.
In the summer of 2000, Davis moved to New York City. He quickly became one of the sought after “young cats” on the New York jazz scene. Since being in New York, Davis has played with many great musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Frank Wess, Russell Malone, Eric Reed, Paquito D'Rivera, Lew Tebakin, Marcus Printup, Warren Vache, Ron Blake, Jon Faddis, Stefon Harris, Peter Berstein, Roy Hargrove, Randy Johnston, Laverne Butler, Paula West, Nicholas Payton, New York Voices, Ryan Kisor and Wessell Anderson.
Davis has toured with notable leaders including Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Regina Carter, and Tom Harrell. Along with being in Benny Greenʼs trio for 1 year, he was also a part of the Tom Harrell Quintet for 4 years. With these and other bands, Davis has played in over 10 different countries and in many well known jazz clubs such as: The Village Vangaurd and The Blue Note in New York City; The Jazz Showcase in Chicago; Parisʼ New Morning Jazz Club; The Jazz Bakery, Yoshi, and Catalina Bar and Grill in California.
Major recordings Davis can be heard on include: Tom Harrellʼs Live at the Village Vanguard and Wise Children on the RCA Victor recording label; Vincent Gardnerʼs Elbow Room on the SteepleChase label.
Today, Davis continues to free-lance and travel with various musicians and also leads his own band from time to time in which his talents as a composer are featured. Davisʼ talents have clearly been recognized and admired by many and because of his humble spirit, great attitude, and deep knowledge and passion for the music, he will continue to make his mark in the jazz world.
Suba Sankaran is a DORA award-winning, twice JUNO-nominated world/fusion musician whose career began at an early age while studying South Indian classical singing and percussion with her father, master drummer Trichy Sankaran.
She graduated from York University in 1997, where she studied jazz, early music, world music and contemporary improvisation, and completed her Master of Arts degree in Ethnomusicology in 2002, writing a major research paper on Bobby McFerrin: The Abundance of Vocal Economy.
Suba is artistic director of the award-winning Indo-fusion ensemble Autorickshaw, she performs regularly with Trichy Sankaran, crosses genres with the FreePlay Duo, and sings the top 40s of the 80s with Retrocity.
She effortlessly combines musical worlds, spanning several centuries and genres, and has performed across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Highlights include performing for Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Peter Gabriel, and performing with international vocal sensations Bobby McFerrin, the Real Group and the Swingle Singers.
Suba is in demand as a private teacher, educator, choral director, arranger, adjudicator and composer and has given numerous workshops to choirs around the world.
She has composed, recorded and produced music for theatre, film, radio, and for south Indian and modern dance. Recent highlights include collaborations with Oscar-nominee Deepa Mehta.
Suba is currently artist-in-residence at Soulpepper/Young Centre for the Performing Arts, co-chair of the JUNO World Music Committee, and she conducts master classes with the Soul Pepper Theatre Academy, Common Thread Community Chorus, and Penthelia Singers.
Suba has performed on numerous recordings and film soundtracks and has been recorded in many contexts by CBC Radio.
She has received several awards and grants (through Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts) for her musical accomplishments.