Robert Ambrose (Concert Band)
Conductor Robert J. Ambrose enjoys a highly successful and diverse career as a dynamic and engaging musician. His musical interests cross many genres and can be seen in the wide range of professional activities he pursues. Ambrose studied formally at Boston College, Boston University, and Northwestern University, where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting.
Ambrose has conducted professionally across the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. His interpretations have earned the enthusiastic praise of many leading composers including Pulitzer Prize winners Leslie Bassett, Michael Colgrass, and John Harbison. He has conducted over two dozen premiere performances including works by Michael Colgrass, Jonathan Newman, Joel Puckett, Christopher Theofanidis, and Joseph Turrin. In addition, a recent performance of Igor Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms under his direction has been given repeated airings on Georgia Public Radio.
Dr. Ambrose is founder and music director of the Atlanta Chamber Winds a professional dectet specializing in the promotion of music by emerging composers as well as lesser-known works of established composers. Their premiere compact disc, Music from Paris was released in 2009 on the Albany Records label and has received outstanding reviews in both Fanfare Magazine and Gramophone Magazine.
As a guitarist Ambrose has performed in dozens of jazz ensembles, combos, rock bands and pit orchestras. His rock band "Hoochie Suit," formed with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, received rave reviews throughout the Chicago area.
Ambrose currently serves as Director of Bands, Professor of Music and Associate Director of the School of Music at Georgia State University, a research institution of over 50,000 students located in Atlanta, Georgia. As Director of Bands he conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, maintains a highly selective studio of graduate students in the Master of Music in Wind Band Conducting degree program, and oversees a large, comprehensive band program comprised of four concert ensembles and three athletic band organizations. He lives in Peachtree City, Georgia with his wife Sarah Kruser Ambrose, a professional flute player and daughters Isabelle and Hannah.
Erin Bodnar (Concert Band)
Erin Bodnar is the conductor of the Symphonic Band at Graceland University. Prior to her appointment as Assistant Professor of Music at Graceland, Dr. Bodnar was the conductor of the Wind Symphony and Orchestra at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. Her primary conducting teachers were Timothy Salzman, Eugene Corporon, Dennis Fisher and Gerald King and she has participated in conducting workshops across the United States as well as in Ukraine and Costa Rica. Dr. Bodnar maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician, traveling to Thailand, Indonesia, and throughout the United States and Canada.
Dr. Bodnar has contributed to A Composer's Insight: Thoughts, Analysis and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band, Volume 5, the GIA Teaching Music Through Performance Series for Volume 7 and the revised Volume 1. She excelled at teaching both middle and high school band in Alberta, Canada for which she received the Keith Mann Young Band Director’s Award and the Edwin Parr First Year Teacher Award. Dr. Bodnar has presented at conferences in Canada, the United States, Scotland, Thailand and Austria. Her research interests include conducting pedagogy and motor cognition, and her articles have been published in the Journal of Music Teacher Education and Music Perception.
Gordon Brock (Concert Band)
Dr. Gordon R. Brock is Professor of Music and Director of Bands at the University of North Florida’s Music Flagship Program in Jacksonville, Florida, where he conducts the Wind Symphony, instructs courses in conducting and woodwind performance and coordinates the UNF Conducting Symposium. Earning his B.S.E. from Dickinson State University, M.M. from Michigan State University, and D.M.A. from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Dr. Brock’s career as a music educator encompasses elementary through university levels.
Under Dr. Brock’s leadership as chair (2002-12), the Department of Music was awarded an elite flagship designation (Music Flagship Program) and emerged as a program of prominence recognized throughout the region for its renowned faculty, dedication to student learning, and engagement with the community as it continues to garner recognition as one of the fastest growing and leading music programs in the country. Under Dr. Brock’s direction, the UNF Wind Symphony has performed at prestigious events and venues including the annual Upbeat Pink: A Musical Tribute to Breast Cancer Survivorship concert series in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, the Florida Music Educators Association State Conference, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall-Lincoln Center and the Southern Division College Band Directors Association/National Band Association Conference.
Before joining UNF, Dr. Brock was Director of Bands at the University of North Dakota, conductor of the Greater Grand Forks Youth Symphony, and the Grand Forks Chamber Ensemble. Under his direction, the UND Wind Ensemble performed at two North Dakota Music Educators Conferences, the Ohio Music Education Association/North Central MENC Professional Conference, and a joint concert series in Great Britain with the Central Band of the White Russian Army. In addition to an annual CD project dedicated to recording the best in traditional and contemporary wind literature, Dr. Brock instituted an annual Conducting Symposium, which attracted both regional and international participants. Having been twice honored by the Alberta Provincial Government for his nationally recognized ensembles and contributions to music education throughout Canada, Dr. Brock was also included in the fifth edition of “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.” In 2006, he was acknowledged as a Distinguished Alumnus of Dickinson State University and as the UNF Gerson Yessin Professor (2010-12). He has served as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States, Canada, Japan and Israel, and was most recently honored with guest conducting appearances with the United States Army Field Band and the President’s Own United States Marine Band.
Dr. Brock has performed with a broad spectrum of internationally recognized organizations within the mediums of chamber music, jazz, wind band, theater, dance, and orchestra. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association (FL state chair, 2003-2005; ND state chair, 1995-99), Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Beta Mu, National Association for Music Education, Florida Bandmasters Association, National Band Association, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. A chapter contributor to the GIA publication, The Art of Interpretation of Band Music, Dr. Brock has also served as a Research Associate and author for the GIA instrumental music education series Teaching Music through Performance in Band, a series that functions as a primary text in more than 300 universities in the United States and 20 countries.
Robert Spittal (Concert Band)
American conductor and composer of music for band, orchestra, chamber ensembles and electronic media. His music has been described as "original","inventive and witty", "intelligent" and "full of musicality" and is published by Shaba Road Music, Boosey & Hawkes Co., and Maestro and Fox Music. Robert 's works have won favor with the finest professional and academic musicians in North America, Europe and Asia.
His works 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 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 on the city's west side.
An interest in wind music developed at Ohio State University, where he studied conducting with Craig Kirchhoff. He later studied with renowned wind conductors Michael Haithcock and Eugene Corporon, and received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 1995.
Robert is a Professor of Music at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, USA.
Rob Taylor (Concert Band)
Robert Taylor is Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Conducting at the University of British Columbia. Prior to his appointment at UBC, Dr. Taylor served as Director of Bands at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, and Chair of the Performing Arts Department at Eureka High School in northern California. Under his direction, the Eureka High Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Band earned recognition for excellence by Downbeat Magazine, the Selmer Corporation, and Grammy Signature Schools, placing Eureka High among the finest school music programs in North America. Dr. Taylor maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician. Past engagements include performances with the Chicago-based contemporary music group, the MAVerick Ensemble, in addition to collaborations with a wide range of international artists—from Allen Vizzutti, Gail Williams, and Ingrid Jensen, to Manhattan Transfer and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. He has also made frequent appearances with young musicians, serving as principal conductor of the Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble and guest conductor of the CODA/ASTA Honour Orchestra, Humboldt Youth Academy Orchestra, and numerous honour groups. As a passionate advocate of music in the schools, Dr. Taylor is in high demand as a rehearsal clinician and festival adjudicator. Recent appearances in western Canada include the Vancouver Heritage Music Festival, New Westminster Hyack Festival, Alberta International Band Festival, Alberta Band Association Festival of Bands, and BCMEA Honour Band, among others. Dr. Taylor received the Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees in conducting from Northwestern University and the Bachelor of Arts degree in Trumpet and Music Education from Humboldt State University. His research has been published in GIA’s Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series and featured in presentations at several regional and national music conferences. He is a Jacob K. Javits Fellow, and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda National Honour Societies, College Band Directors National Association, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Music Educators National Conference, and British Columbia Music Educators Association.
Brad McDavid (Concert Band)
Dr. Brad McDavid is in his 24th year as Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Washington. His primary duties as director of the 240-member Husky Marching Band includes principal field conductor, show coordinator, and program administrator.
Having previously taught at the elementary, middle school and high school levels in central Ohio and Tempe, Arizona, Brad received his Bachelor’s Degree and Ph.D in Music Education from The Ohio State University and Master’s Degree from Arizona State University.
Brad is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor and has led the Husky Marching Band on performance tours of Australia, China, Scandinavia, Japan, France and Italy. In 2008 he was selected to serve as the head artistic director for the 1700 member international Beijing Olympic Marching Band and in 2015 was also selected by the Kansai Bandmaster’s Association to conduct a 7300 member mass band in Osaka, Japan for their Sousa tribute. In March of 2017, McDavid was the lead conductor for the inaugural Northwest Intercollegiate Marching Band who represented the United States in Dublin, Ireland’s renowned St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Dr. McDavid is currently on the selection committees for the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Shield and Sudler Trophy awards recognizing outstanding high school and collegiate marching bands around the world. He is also the founder and director of the Washington All-State High School Marching Band.
In 2016, Brad was honored with selection into the Washington Music Educators Association’s Hall of Fame.
Katy Luyk (Choral)
Kathleen Luyk (née Skinner), B.Mus. (University of British Columbia, 2003), M.Mus. Choral Conducting (University of Alberta, 2005), is the executive director of Edmonton's Kokopelli Choir Association, a non-profit family of community choirs. She is in her fourteenth season with Òran (a young adult choir) and her fourth season with the new adult choir Vacilando. As a conductor, Kathleen strives to pair a well-researched pedagogy of excellence with the notion that choral singing is an incredible force in building community. As a conductor and composer on the Alberta choral scene, Katy has been engaged as a clinician, guest conductor, vocal coach, and adjudicator for choirs and singers around Canada.
Elise Bradley (Choral)
Elise Bradley’s is Artistic Director of the Toronto Children’s Chorus. A passionate musician, career educator, award-winning conductor, and internationally respected adjudicator and clinician, Ms. Bradley served for many years as Head of Department, Music at Westlake Girls’ High School in Auckland, New Zealand, where her Key Cygnetures choir won coveted awards in both Austria and New Zealand. As Music Director of the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir, she has also won first-place awards in competitions in Canada, China, and Hong Kong. Since arriving in Toronto, Ms. Bradley has garnered praise for her artistry and for her deep commitment to children and the art of treble choral music. In 2009, the Choir performed at Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt, Bach’s St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, the Berlin Dom, and with the Vienna Boys Choir at the 9th World Choral Festival at the Musikverein. In 2009, the TCC had the honour of performing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem under the baton of Peter Oundjian and, in 2010, with Krzysztof Penderecki and Soundstreams Canada. During the summer of 2011, the Chorus took part in the Melodia Festival in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, and was one of only twenty-five choirs invited to participate in the 9th World Symposium on Choral Music in Argentina. The current concert season, Dance Your Song, features series performances by all 300 choristers and a summer Chamber Choir tour to South Africa. In addition, Ms. Bradley is honoured to have been invited to serve as Guest Clinician and Conductor for Australia’s national choir Gondwana Voices, the Manitoba Honour Choir, and the 7th America Cantat in Bogotá, Colombia.
Carrie Tennant (Choral)
Carrie Tennant is the Artistic Director and founder of the Vancouver Youth Choir. Carrie began her career as a high school choir, building a nationally recognized choral program at Maple Ridge Secondary School before deciding to pursue graduate studies in choral conducting in 2009. From 2009-2012 Carrie directed the Vancouver Chor Leoni MYVoice Choir and the Sarah McLachlan Youth Choir. In 2012, Carrie worked as the assistant conductor to Diane Loomer, and in that role, conducted Chor Leoni in several major performances. In January of 2013 Carrie was selected to succeed Diane as Artistic Director of EnChor.
Currently, on top of her work with Vancouver Youth Choir and EnChor, Carrie is the conductor of the award-winning Coastal Sound Youth Choir, and Associate Artistic Director of Coastal Sound Music Academy. Under Carrie’s direction, Coastal Sound has been featured on CBC Radio, and this summer will be the subject of documentary for Telus Optik TV. Repeated award winners at the National Music Festival, in 2013 Coastal Sound was awarded first place in the youth choir category at the ACCC National Competition for Amateur Choirs, and was chosen, along with Elektra Women’s Choir, to represent Canada at the 2013 Chorus America Conference. In 2013, Carrie founded the Vancouver Youth Choir. This season, the choir will be an Associate Choir of the Vancouver Chamber Choir and will perform with them at three season concerts.
Carrie is an Affliate Conductor with the Vancouver Chamber Choir, an Artist-in-Residence with the Vancouver School Board, and is a frequent clinician, adjudicator and retreat facilitator across Canada. A passionate advocate for building and sustaining community among BC choirs and conductors, in 2010 she helped found the "BC Choral Mentorship Project": a collective that brings together expert speakers/conductors with choral directors for master classes, discussion groups and lectures. In 2008, Carrie was the recipient of the BCCF Youth Achievement Award for distinguished support of choral music in British Columbia.
Carrie also tours, performs and records as a member of Vancouver-based indie-pop group, the Salteens (Boompa Records).
Frank Lee (Choral)
Frank Lee is in his fifteenth season as the choral director at Seycove Secondary School in North Vancouver, where he directs seven choral ensembles and a jazz studies course. The Seycove Chamber Choir was honoured with the distinction of Youth Choir of the World at the International Choral Festival, Kathaumixw, in 2007. In 2009 the Chorale was named top choir at the Canadian National Choral Festival and had their solo debut concert in 2011 at Carnegie Hall. His award winning vocal jazz ensembles have been featured in Western Canada and and Washington State.
Frank received his undergraduate music degree from the University of Victoria studying trombone with Ian McDougall. He is currently a graduate music student studying choral conducting, under Dr. Graeme Langager, at the University of British Columbia. He is sought after as a clinician across Canada and Washington State. Frank has served as the chair for the BCMEA Honour Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Kiwanis Vocal Jazz Festival and is currently on the Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival Advisory Committee.
Allison Girvan (Choral)
Allison is a professional singer, arranger, director, clinician and adjudicator. She has been a featured soloist on recordings and in performance with ensembles including musica intima, Elektra Women’s Choir, The Vancouver Chamber Choir, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and as a vocalist for studio sessions for radio, T.V. and feature film.
Allison has worked extensively with Canadian Celtic Tenor, John McDermott on recordings, international tours, and the PBS specials, “A Time to Remember” and “Sharing Christmas”. Her debut solo cd, “Resonance”, combining her love of world music and her love of languages, was released in 2007. She now lives in Nelson, B.C. where she continues to record for television and feature film scores, directs the Nelson Youth Choir, the women’s choir, “Shenango”, corazón vocal ensemble, and is music director for the Capitol Theatre’s youth program.
Joel Gray (Jazz Band)
An Edmonton-based freelance trumpeter and music educator with 25-years of experience, Joel Gray has shared the stage with some of the world's finest artists, including Tommy Banks, Slide Hampton, Diana Krall, Nikki Yanovsky, Lew Tebackin, Allen Vizzutti, Gino Vannelli, Kent Sangster, Hugh Frazer, Jens Lindemann, and commercial talents Frank Sinatra Jr., the Temptations, Gino Vannelli, Wayne Newton, and the Polyjesters.
Known for his versatility, Joel is in high demand in both jazz and classical genres. He is a regular performer with many local artists and diverse musical ensembles, including the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, The Edmonton Jazz Orchestra, The Edmonton Jazz Collective, Edmonton Opera, Pro Coro Canada, the Don Berner Sextet, the Prime Time Big Band, the Retrofitz, the Polyjesters, the Tommy Banks Big Band, The New Orleans Connection, and Capital Brass, to name only a few.
Joel is also a veteran in the orchestra pit, having performed many professional musical theatre productions, including the National Broadway Tours of Wicked, Marry Poppins, A Chorus Line, Billy Elliot, Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, as well as local professional productions presented at the Citadel Theatre. He has recorded on over 30 CDs and performed numerous times for CBC radio, and played principal trumpet with the ESO in Carnegie Hall in May of 2012.
As a music educator, Joel teaches trumpet and jazz improvisation at MacEwan University and has taught at Augustana University and Keyano College. He is an instructor at MusiCamp Alberta since 2000 and has adjudicated for the Rocky Mountain Music Festival, the Foothills Jazz Festival, and the Kiwanis Music Festival. Since 2004, he has been the director of the award-winning “The Littlebirds” jazz band.
Jodi Proznick (Jazz Band)
Juno-nominated bassist, composer, bandleader, and educator Jodi Proznick has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s finest jazz artists. She has won numerous National Jazz Awards, including Bassist of the Year in ’08 and ’09. Her group, the Jodi Proznick Quartet, was awarded the Acoustic Group of the Year and Album of the Year in ‘08 and the Galaxie Rising Star at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in ‘04.
In addition to leading her own group, Jodi has performed with many of Canada's top jazz musicians including PJ Perry, Don Thompson, Phil Dwyer and Guido Basso. She is regularly in demand to perform and record with visiting jazz artists including Michael Bublé, David "Fathead" Newman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ed Thigpen, Jeff Hamilton and Peter Bernstein. She has been featured on over 40 albums as a side person.
After completing her B.Mus. at McGill University, Jodi's deep passion for education lead her to pursue a Masters Degree in Education at Simon Fraser University. She is currently a faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University where she teaches imporvisation, jazz theory, jazz history, popular music history, rudiments, songwriting, jazz combo and bass lessons. Jodi is the Artistic Director of the VSO School of Music Summer Jazz Workshop and has been a guest adjudicator and clinician at many festivals, colleges, universities, and conferences across Canada.
Jerrold Dubyk (Jazz Band)
For over two decades, saxophonist and composer Jerrold Dubyk has had his feet planted firm in a polarity of worlds. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Dubyk is a respected jazz educator and an accomplished saxophonist with a sound that is distinctly his own. Dubyk is a graduate of the Grant Macewan University in Edmonton and St. and Rutgers University in New Jersey. His three prominent teachers include Ralph Bowen, David Liebman and currently Branford Marsalis. He has released three albums as a leader including 2006’s “The Way You See It”, 2009’s “The Maverick” and the 2014 album “Invitations”, which garnered world-wide critical acclaim. He has been nominated for multiple Western Canadian Music Awards and went on to win one in 2009. In addition to playing with his own group, the Jerrold Dubyk Quintet, he performs often with his Edmonton-based project PREQUAL. Currently, Dubyk is the Director of Music at Strathcona High School and Macewan University.
2017 Festival Staff:
2016 Festival Staff:
2015 Festival Staff:
2014 Festival Staff:
2013 Festival Staff:
2012 Festival Staff: