About Cantando Music Festivals

What is the Cantando Festival?

A non-competitive festival designed for North American school wind ensembles, concert bands, orchestras, jazz bands, and choirs utilizing some basic tenets necessary to promote quality music education. These basic tenets include:

  • Promoting REPERTOIRE OF THE HIGHEST ARTISTIC NATURE both in the selections expected for performance as well as repertoire performed by guest ensembles
  • EVALUATIONS AND CLINICS are all designed to cultivate growth and a love of serious music-making utilizing a realistic, yet musical approach to assist with improved musical performance
  • UTILIZING THE BEST TEACHER/PERFORMERS people that understand both kids and music and the critical combination of inspiration, knowledge, and artistic growth are the only ones that work for this festival
  • EXPOSING STUDENTS TO PERFORMANCES BY SERIOUS ENSEMBLES we've included both university and professional groups of the highest level and specified the repertoire we want performed. Both standard repertoire of significant worth and new and substantial pieces will be performed including quality works for professional soloists
  • SUFFICIENT TIME FOR PERFORMANCE AND CLINICS this varies at each festival but Edmonton and Whistler provide 50 minute clinics for concert bands and choirs, 30 minute clinics for jazz ensembles In Edmonton and 50 minute clinics in Whistler.  The Sun Peaks festival provides 30 minute workshops for all groups.  Instrumental clinics for both students and directors are provided at all 3 festivals.  Mass choirs perform at all 3 festivals as well.  All festivals provide ample performance times for all ensembles.

What Makes Cantando Special?

The Cantando Festival employs only adjudicators and clinicians of the highest stature, those that have achieved success in their fields and those that continue to have a major impact upon music education. The opportunity to work with these artists in an educational setting for long periods of time is a major facet of the festival.

On the instrumental side, past Adjudicators have included Allan McMurray from the University of Colorado, Eugene Corporon from the University of North Texas, Thomas Dvorak from the University of Wisconsin, Don Owens from Northwestern University, Shelley Jagow from Wright State, Dale Lonis, Jacqueline Dawson and Fraser Linklater from the University of Manitoba, William Street & Leonard Ratzlaff from the University of Alberta, Marvin Eckroth and Dean McNeill from the University of Saskatchewan, Rob Taylor and Jonathan Girard from UBC as well as a host of other prominent music educators. 

Performing ensembles have included ensembles from all of the major western Canadian universities as well as groups from the American Midwest. Guest soloists have included clarinetists Eddie Daniels and James Campbell,  hornist Jeff Nelson, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, saxophonist Fred Hemke, flutist Jim Walker and many more international artists. Several local professional ensembles are featured also.

Our choral adjudicators include a host of Canadian and international music educators and performers coordinated by Scott Leithead, Director of Edmonton’s Kokopelli choirs.  Past adjudicators have included Canadians Carrie Tenant, Jennifer Riley, Jennifer Moir, Leonard Ratzlaff, John Chalmers, Dominic Gregorio, Lisa Ward, Frank Lee, Benila Ninan, Graeme Langager, Elroy Friesen, Allison Girvan, and Kathleen Luyk.  International adjudicators have included Dinah Helgeson and Lhente-Mari Pitout and also many more.

Guest choirs including the University of Pretorio Youth Choir, the Vancouver Youth Choir, M-Pact from Los Angeles, Rajaton from Finland and equally famous national and local groups.

Our jazz faculty include the cream of Canadian jazz educators and performers and students get a chance to work with some of the biggest talents in the industry.  Check the Adjudicators tab in each festival for the full list of past and current people.