Okanagan - Adjudicators/Clinicians

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Jeremy Brown (Concert Band)

sunpeaks festival adjudicator

Jeremy Scott Brown is a renowned Canadian saxophonist, woodwind doubler, teacher, expert on the music of Henry Cowell and conductor. He is Professor of Music and the former Head of the Music Department at the University of Calgary. (1990-present) He has also been an Artist-In-Residence and a visiting artist/lecturer at the Banff Centre. In 2015 his recording of Wayfaring by Nova Pon was nominated as the Outstanding Classical Composition the Year by the Western Canadian Music Awards and in 2010, his CD solo recording of Canadian saxophone music, “Rubbing Stone” was nominated outstanding classical recording of the year. In 2014 he was awarded the inaugural University of Calgary Faculty of Arts Teaching Award. In 2009 he was conferred the title “Canadian Music Ambassador” by the Canadian Music Centre for his work promulgating music by Canadian composers, with more than forty works commissioned. In 2008, he was named an “Innovator of the University of Calgary” for his community outreach, and in 2007 was awarded the David Peterkin Award for his contribution to music education in Alberta by the Alberta Band Association. In 1999 he was awarded the University of Calgary Student’s Union Teaching Award for the Faculty of Fine Arts.

As a university teacher, his undergraduate and graduate students have won numerous national and international awards, scholarships and recognition. His university ensembles have been widely recognized for original programming and performing excellence; most recently the U of C Jazz Orchestra won the Outstanding Ensemble Award at the 2013 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and ten outstanding soloist awards at the 2014 Elmhurst Jazz Festival, Chicago Illinois.

He has recorded numerous records, including Scaramouche with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, (2003, CBC records) In the Company of My Soul (2003, Arktos Label), Ornamentology (lightblue records) Rubbing Stone (2010, Centredisc Label), The Lethbridge Sessions (2014, Centredisc Label) and The Verismo Jazz Quintet (2005). His inaugural recording of the wind band works of Henry Cowell with the winds of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra will be released in 2016 together with his forthcoming book, “The Wind Band Music of Henry Dixon Cowell” for Sourcebooks in American Music, the College Music Society. As a saxophone soloist he has appeared with many bands and orchestras including the Washington-Idaho Symphony, the National Youth Band of Canada, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Red Deer Symphony, Festival Orchestra of the 2003 World Saxophone Congress (Minneapolis) the Okanogan Symphony Orchestra, Kensington Sinfonia and the Ottawa Symphony. He is also lead tenor saxophonist with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra.

Recently, his world premiere of The Orchid Garden for tenor saxophone by Andrew MacDonald with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (November 2015) was reviewed as “a dazzling display of classical discipline and agility combined with a jazz artist’s freedom and sense of exploration.” (Ottawa Citizen, Natasha Gauthier) He is the founding artistic director of the Rubbing Stone Ensemble, a new music ensemble based in Calgary and former conductor and founding artistic director of the National Concert Band of Canada (2002-2010). He is has been Artistic Director of the Calgary Wind Symphony since 1997, a 60 piece community band founded in 1955. In 2003, he co-founded Verismo, a Calgary jazz quintet whose inaugural recording garnered great critical acclaim and subsequently performed at the 2007 Montreal Jazz Festival.

Dr. Brown has written numerous pedagogical articles and in addition to his forthcoming book, was co-compiler and series editor of the inaugural Royal Conservatory of Music Saxophone Series (2014). This groundbreaking and comprehensive saxophone series includes graded repertoire, etudes, technical studies and orchestral excerpts and is used internationally.

His numerous articles are published in the Instrumentalist, Journal of Band Research, Journal of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Saxophone Symposium, Canadian Band Journal, International Society for the Investigation of Wind Music and Canadian Winds. He is a currently a contributing editor to Canadian Winds.

Dr. Christopher Bianco (Concert Band)

edmonton adjudicator

Dr. Bianco brings a diverse background to the podium and to his students in the classroom. He has held positions at Libertyville High School in Libertyville, Illinois, Boise High School in Boise, Idaho, St. Francis High School in St. Francis Minnesota and Baylor University in Waco Texas. In those positions he was involved in all aspects of his students’ musical growth including Jazz Ensemble, Marching Band, Choir, Orchestra and Advanced Placement Music Theory.

He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. At Northwestern, Dr. Bianco played in virtually all of the concert ensembles including Don Owens’ Jazz I. While in the Chicago area Dr. Bianco maintained an active trumpet studio as well as holding the position of Artistic Director and Conductor of the Wilmette Community Band.

He completed his formal training at The University of Texas at Austin as a student of Jerry Junkin where he served as a teaching assistant for the conducting program, UT Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds and Longhorn Band. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Wind Conducting in December of 2004.

In addition to his work with Jerry Junkin, Dr. Bianco has studied, conducting with John Paynter, Kevin Sedatole and Steve Bolstad. His trumpet teachers have included Vincent Cichowicz, Ray Sasaki, Steve Bolstad, David Coleman and Vince DiMartino.

Dr. Bianco is President Elect of the Northwest Region of the College Band Director's National Association. Additionally, he recently completed a term as the Higher Education Curriculum Officer for the Executive Board of the Washington Music Educator's Association.

Christopher now holds the position of Director of Bands at Western Washington University. He resides in Bellingham, Washington with his wife Laurie and their daughters Sophia and Elena.

Robert Spittal (Concert Band)

concert band adjudicator

Robert Spittal (b. 1963. Cleveland, Ohio) is a conductor and composer of music for band, orchestra, chamber ensembles, choir, and musical theater. Winner of the 2019 World Association for Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensemble Composition Competition for "Diversions for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble", Robert's work frequently combine sophisticated art music forms and techniques with a non-patronizing sensitivity toward audience accessibility. This duality - the musician's concern for aesthetic sophistication and artistic integrity, and for communicating more openly and directly to a listener - has been developing since his adolescent years as a serious flute student in the Cleveland Institute of Music's Prep progam, and a free-lance saxophonist in horn sections of jazz, r&b and other dance bands.

Spittal's works have been commissioned, performed and recorded by some of the finest professional and academic musicians in North America, Europe, South America and Asia, including The Bay Brass, Borealis Wind Quintet, Atlanta Chamber Winds, National Chamber Winds, and North Texas Wind Symphony, and his works have been performed in concert halls in New York, Bangkok, Vienna, Cologne, Milan, as well as at the National Orchestra Festival, American String Teachers Association National Conference, Interlochen, the "Music for All" Honor Band of America, the WASBE international conference, the American Bandmasters Association conference, the National Flute Association conference, the Midwest Clinic, American School Band Directors Association, numerous All-State bands, and the CBDNA Western/Northwestern Conference. Four of his works are included in GIA's "Teaching Music" series of books and recordings produced by Eugene Corporon and the North Texas Wind Ensemble.

Dr. Spittal is Professor of Music at Gonzaga University, where he was conductor of the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds 1992-2019, and now teaches conducting, music theory, creative music lab, and courses on American Music. Spittal received a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Eugene Corporon. Prior to CCM, he studied with Michael Haithcock (Baylor University, MM, 1990) and Craig Kirchhoff (BME, Ohio State University, 1985). Robert is the conductor of the professional brass ensemble Clarion, and he has led performances by the Spokane Symphony, Spokane British Brass Band, Mosaic Chamber Ensemble, and numerous collegiate and high school bands and orchestras in the US and Canada.

Dean McNeill (Jazz Band)

jazz band adjudicator

Canadian trumpet player/jazz composer Dean McNeill is grateful for the musical experiences he received early in life growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he performed in many school bands, dance bands, commercial bands, the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, and, in the Edmonton All City Jazz & Concert Bands.

Dean has been Professor of Brass & Jazz at the University of Saskatchewan for the past 21 years over which time he has performed and adjudicated extensively throughout Canada, and, where he has lead many of his own professional music ensembles (e.g. on multiple CD projects, CBC Radio broadcasts, classical recital tours, and jazz combo tours and gigs).

Dean is honored to have received teaching and performance-based awards including the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival’s Special Recognition Award, Downbeat Magazine’s Student Arranger’s Award, University of Saskatchewan’s Student’s Union Teaching Excellence Award and Dept. of Music Dwayne Nelson Teaching Award. Dean is incredibly proud of his past students who went on to occupy positions in Canadian professional orchestras, jazz & commercial bands, and, who established careers as professional music educators.

As a soloist Dean has performed with many student, university, and professional music ensembles such as the National Youth Band of Canada, the Western Canadian Music Awards (Classical Showcase Concerts), Sweetwater Music Festival, and, at the University’s of Lethbridge, Alberta, Manitoba, Brandon, Washington, Auburn, SUNNY Potsdam, etc. Dean was recently featured as a performer on the Western Canadian Music Award’s award-winning CD O Music and on the WCMA-nominated CD Complete Rebirth of the Cool.

Dean is currently the Artistic Director of the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra (saskatoonjazzorchestra.com), he has been a proud member of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra since 1998, he has coordinated of the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival’s Jazz Intensive music education camp and the International Music Camp’s Faculty Jazz Ensemble for many years.

Crediting much of his professional success to a combination of diligence, positive musical role models & wonderful music teachers, and, a healthy dose of dumb luck, Dean is honored to have shared the stage professionally with the likes of *Jon Balantyne, *Tommy Banks, *David Braid, Bobby Caldwell, Dee Daniels, *Phil Dwyer, *Mark Fewer, Guy Few, *Hugh Fraser, Wycliffe Gordon, *Kelly Jefferson, *Ingrid Jensen, *Michael Kaeshammer, *Alastair Kay, *Jens Lindemann, Bob Mintzer, *PJ Perry, *Campbell Ryga, Denzal Sinclaire, *Brad Turner, and Carol Welsman (*=Juno award Winners).

For more information please visit: http://artsandscience.usask.ca/profile/DMcNeill#/profile

Scott Leithead (Choral)

sunpeaks festival adjudicator

Scott Leithead is the founder and Artistic Director of Canada's Kokopelli Choir Association and TIME Association from Edmonton, Alberta. He has been invited to conduct provincial, national and state honour choirs on twenty-six occasions and he has presented workshops in North America and beyond. Notable appearances include: conducting the Alberta Youth Choir for Choir Alberta’s 40th Anniversary; conducting the Ellison Canadian Honour Choir on six occasions; conducting the 2016 ACDA NW Regional Youth Choir in Seattle.  He has adjudicated both the ACCC National Competition for Amateur Canadian Choirs, the Kathaumixw International Choir Festival (2014 and 2016) and Finland’s Tampere Choir Festival in 2017.  Under his direction, Kokopelli was a winner of both the 2015 CBC National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs and the 2015 and 2016 Canadian National Music Competition.  Kokopelli was thrilled to be invited by the International Federation of Choral Music (IFCM) to perform at the prestigious World Choral Expo in Lisbon Portugal last summer.  His vocal ensemble ‘Nuf Sed toured Japan and presented at several national festivals in 2019.  Kokopelli was recently featured on the “Amazing Race Canada”.

Scott has a passion for music from southern Africa and he has been invited to work with choirs in South Africa and Namibia on numerous occasions. In 2008/09, Scott was on sabbatical in Namibia where he worked with the Mascato Youth Choir and many other choirs in southern Africa. Scott’s passion for innovative and unique choral music experiences has shaped the direction of the Kokopelli Choir Association.

This season Scott will guest conduct the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with the River East Transcona School Division Mass Choir in October and the Ellison Canadian Honour Choir in Calgary in May.  He will conduct the Adult Choir for the Coralua Trondheim International Choir Festival in Norway in July.  In addition to adjudicating numerous festivals nationally, he will present workshops with choirs in 7 provinces over the course of the year.  

Geung Kroeker-Lee (Choral)

sunpeaks festival adjudicator

Born in Seoul, South Korea, and based in Winnipeg, Canada, Geung (이기웅) 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. 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.

2019 Adjudicators

  • Brian Unverricht (Concert Band)
  • Dr. Gordon Brock (Concert Band)
  • Gareth Jones (Concert Band)
  • Anita Eccleston (Jazz Band)
  • Frank Gnandt (Choral)
  • Katy Luyk (Choral)

2018 Adjudicators

  • Wendy Grasdahl (Concert Band)
  • Christin Reardon-MacLellan (Concert Band)
  • Chee Meng Low (Concert Band)
  • Jodi Proznick (Jazz Band)
  • Katy Luyk (Choral)
  • Dorothy Dyck (Choral)
  • Réjean Marois (Choral)

2017 Festival Staff:

  • Angela Schroeder (Concert Band
  • Jacquie Dawson (Concert Band)
  • Fred Stride (Jazz Band)
  • Jennifer Lang (Choral)
  • Kathleen Luyk (Choral)

2016 Festival Staff:

  • Christin Reardon MacLellan (Concert Band)
  • Gordon Brock (Concert Band)
  • Chee Meng Low (Concert Band)
  • Craig Brenan (Jazz Band)
  • Carrie Tennant (Choral)
  • Adam Con (Choral)

2015 Festival Staff:

  • Chee Meng Low (concert band)
  • Christopher Unger (Concert band)
  • Lisa Ward (Choral)
  • Greg Quan (Choral)

2014 Festival Staff:

  • Allan McMurray - University of Colorado (concert band)
  • Gary D. Green - University of Miami (Concert band)
  • Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff - University of Alberta (Choral)

2013 Festival Staff:

  • Catherine Glaser-Climie (Choral), Cantare Children's Choir
  • Dr. Fraser Linklater (Concert Band), University of Manitoba
  • Dr. Gordon Brock (Concert Band), University of North Florida
  • Sydney Griffith (Concert Band), Music Educator / Principal, School District #73 Jazz Coordinator
  • Don Owens (Concert Band), Director of Jazz Studies, Northwestern University
  • Joel Gray (Jazz Band), Trumpet player and educator
  • Fred Stride (Jazz Band), Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra

2012 Festival Staff:

  • Sydney Griffith, Music Educator / Principal, School District #73 Jazz Coordinator
  • Fred Stride, Director Jazz ensemble UBC
  • Dr. Rob Taylor, Director of Bands and Assistant Professor UBC
  • Don Owens, Director of Jazz Studies, Northwestern University
  • Dawn Sadoway, Choir Director Elk Island Children's Choir
  • Dr. Gordon Brock, University of North Florida
  • Allan McMurray, University of Colorado