Kimberley Denis - Musical Theatre and Popular Voice
Kimberley 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 also holds an associate diploma in Education (1996) and a music diploma in contemporary vocal performance from Red Deer College (1997). Conducting credits include a wide variety of ensembles across Alberta and she currently directs Shumayela with the Kokopelli Choir Association, which she founded in 2006 and is the music director for Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Edmonton. Music for theatre credits include vocal coaching for Red Deer College’s 2011 production of Rent, creating and directing a live vocal music score for Red Deer College's production of Romeo and Juliet and creating and directing a live music score for the world premier of Vern Thiessen's adaptation of Wuthering Heights. She was also the music director and arranger for the 2010 production of the Red Deer College Class Acts Cabaret and vocal coach for the 2009 Class Acts production and was the music director for Concordia University College’s 2012 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Vocal credits include a nomination for 2010 and 2012 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award, recital appearances around the province, and a year-long tour with Up With People. She has worked with Live Bait Theatre in New Brunswick, appearing in many of their musical dinner theatres, and has also played Bonnie in Anything Goes, Kate in Kiss Me, Kate!, and Frumah Sarah in Fiddler on the Roof. Most recently, she appeared as Cathy in the Bailey theatre’s 2014 production of The Last Five Years and will be debuting a new musical written by Canadian playwright Garry Williams this spring.
Michel Forestier - Guitar
Michel Forestier has been a classical guitar instructor at Macewan University's Alberta College Conservatory of Music since 1973. He is also a faculty member at The King’s University College in Edmonton. Michel began his classical guitar studies with Carl Lotsberg in Edmonton, and continued his studies during the summers at the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec and at the Shawnigan Summer School of the Arts in British Columbia. Mr. Forestier has performed as a soloist and in various chamber music ensembles on television and radio. In 1991 he began giving concerts with his wife, violinist Marie Forestier and remains active as a performer, arranger and chamber music coach.
Joseph Fridman - Senior Piano
Joseph Fridman, M.Mus., Piano Performance has earned two master's degrees - as a pianist and opera director - both from the world-renowned St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia. In Canada, Mr. Fridman served on the faculty of the Alberta College Conservatory, at the Conservatory’s International Music Academy, and at the University of Alberta; worked at Edmonton Opera and Opera Nuova. Currently, Joseph is a co-director, piano teacher, and vocal coach of the Alberta Music Academy. He lectures and gives masterclasses and workshops in Canada, Ukraine, Russia, and the USA. Mr. Fridman has adjudicated a number of festivals and competitions, including the prestigious Canadian Music Competition.
Joseph Fridman performs in solo, collaborative and chamber recitals and has been broadcast frequently on CBC Radio. His piano students have received medals in RCM and CC Exams, first and second prizes in the various competitions. Many go on to study at prestigious institutions such as McGill University, Juilliard School, and University of Toronto.
Daniel Gervais - Strings
Daniel has been playing the violin since the age of five. He plays a variety of fiddle styles and classical violin. Daniel completed a Master of Music degree in classical violin at the University of Alberta studying with Dr. Guillaume Tardif. During his studies, Daniel was awarded a prestigious research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).Daniel had the opportunity to perform at the 2012 London Olympics as a cultural ambassador of Alberta. In the spring, he performed for a reception at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. Daniel has toured with Zéphyr, a French-Canadian dance group, performing at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., Mondial des cultures in Drummondville, PQ, the Folkmoot USA Festival in North Carolina, and Festival Interfolk in France. Daniel has also had several television and radio appearances. In 2010, he was a guest artist with The Lost Fingers, performing at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, ON.
Daniel is the first and only Albertan to win the Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Competition (2011). Daniel first competed in the Canadian Grand Masters in 2003 and returned to this competition in 2004 and again in 2008, finishing in the top eleven both times.
In 2014, Daniel received the Eugène-C. Trottier award from the French-Canadian Association of Alberta (ACFA) for community involvement. Daniel was also awarded the Prix Sylvie Van Brabant-Excellence en création artistique (2010) by the Regroupement artistique francophone de l'Alberta and the City of Edmonton Arts and Culture Award (2007).
Daniel currently teaches as sessional faculty at MacEwan University in the jazz and popular music program. Daniel has had experience teaching a variety of students of different ages and abilities in collaboration with other music organizations such as the National Arts Centre MusicAlive! program, Calvin Vollrath Fiddle Camp and the North Eastern Music Association in St. Paul, AB, the John Arcand Fiddle Fest, Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party and the Pelletier Guitar and Music Camp in Saskatchewan, The Hills are Alive Music and Dance Cultural Fest in Elkwater, AB, Frontier Fiddlers in Manitoba, and the Suzuki Strings and Fiddleheads in Whitehorse, YT. In 2010, Trad'badour in collaboration with Canadian Parents for French completed a school show tour of over 90 presentations in western Canada.
Daniel has six albums to his credit, including three solo albums, Flying Fiddle (2003) and Endless Possibilities (2005) and Old Red Barn (2013). In 2006, he was nominated for “Young Performer of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Daniel is a founding member of Trad’badour, a French-Canadian duo, with Roger Dallaire and Hot Club Edmonton with guitarist Clinton Pelletier. Hot Club Edmonton was awarded "Instrumental Album of the Year" at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2010.
Wendy Grasdahl - Band, Woodwind, and Brass
Wendy Grasdahl is well known across Canada as a conductor, adjudicator/clinician, teacher, and trumpeter. Her professional experience encompasses teaching at university and college levels, as well as military band work and private teaching.As an officer in the Canadian Naval Reserve, Wendy conducted military bands in Alberta, B.C., and Ontario. She is in demand as a clinician and guest conductor for school programs, as well as summer music programs, including 12 years at the International Music Camp at the Peace Garden on the Manitoba/U.S. border where she received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award for conducting and promoting band in North America. Other awards include the Faculty Association Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of P.E.I., and the City of Edmonton Salute to Excellence Citation Award in Arts & Culture in 2014.
Having appeared as a trumpet soloist and in professional ensembles across Canada, Wendy is a founding member of the brass quintet “Five of a Kind”, has played Solo Cornet with the Mill Creek Colliery Brass Band, and is a clinician for Yamaha Canada. She is the founder, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Festival City Winds Music Society.
Wendy currently teaches trumpet and is Director of Bands at Concordia University College of Alberta, and regularly adjudicates band festivals at provincial and national levels.
Ms. Grasdahl holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music History from the University of Alberta, a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Calgary, and a graduate level Fine Arts Diploma in Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble Conducting and Literature from the University of Calgary.
Marlis Gunderson - Junior Piano and Composition
Marlis Gunderson holds an ARCT diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She studied with Sally Capsey and Jacqueline Ryan. She belongs to the Boris Roubakine Piano Club where she has participated in master classes given by Gwen Beamish, John Paul Seville, Marek Jablonski, Dennis Lee, Bela Siki, Seymour Bernstein, Roger Woodward, Ray Dudley, Nelita True, Stephane Lemelin, and Marvin Blickenstaff.Marlis has taught private piano lessons for 31 years. She serves as organist for the St. Albert Lutheran Church and accompanies the Lutheran Church choir, Vital Grandin & J.J. Nearing School Choirs, the Sturgeon Valley School of Music vocal students, and the Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir. She toured Switzerland three times with the Swiss Choir. She also accompanies Tenor Power, three gents with very powerful voices.
Marlis has adjudicated at music festivals across Alberta for several years and enjoys it very much. She has been an ICU nurse for over 30 years. She belongs to the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association and resides in St. Albert with her husband and 2 young adult children and granddaughter.
Scott Leithead - Choir
Scott Leithead is the Artistic Director of Edmonton's Kokopelli Choir Association and TIME Association. He has conducted provincial and state honour choirs on seventeen occasions and has presented workshops across North America and beyond. Notable appearances include: conducting the Alberta Youth Choir for the Alberta Choral Federation’s 40th Anniversary; adjudicating both the ACCC National Competition for Amateur Canadian Choirs and the International Kathaumixw Festival.In 2008, Scott was on sabbatical in Namibia where he worked with the Mascato Youth Choir and numerous other choirs from southern Africa. Scott is a longtime member of the advisory committee for the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival. He is the president of the Brailletone Music Society for persons with disabilities and a member of three additional national boards as well as the National Youth Music Development Foundation of South Africa. In 2014/15 he will present workshops across Canada and return to conduct numerous honour choirs including: The New Brunswick Youth Choir, The Ellison Canadian Honour Choir and The Oklahoma All-State Choir.
Maura Sharkey-Pryma - Classical Voice
Maura Sharkey-Pryma has enjoyed teaching voice and performance artistry to young and emerging singers since 1991. From her private studio at the MacEwan Alberta College Conservatory of Music in Edmonton, she trains ambitious singers in classical, opera, musical theatre, song interpretation, and extensive breathing and vocal techniques. Her main focus is insuring the voice is technically sound - functioning as it should for optimal vocal ease, quality and longevity. In addition to sharing her expertise in vocal production and technique in her private studios, Maura also shares her knowledge as a vocal adjudicator at various provincial music festivals. She has co-authored a book with her husband, Raymond, entitled, “The Essential Music Recital Planner” - a step-by-step customizable planner to assist music teachers and students in developing a successful recital (www.facebook.com/TheEssentialStudioRecitalPlanner). She also proudly serves as Chair of the Alberta Music Education Foundation (AMEF), a registered charity that provides funding and innovative ideas for music education throughout Alberta.Joined with teaching, Maura has enjoyed a professional operatic career within Canada, as well as the international stage. An enthusiastic critic wrote of Sharkey’s performance as, “an exuberant Canadian mezzo soprano…shows herself comfortable in all the registers, bursting precision and engraves resonance.” Her operatic credits include: Carmen in Carmen (Canadian Concert Opera Company); Mercedes in Carmen (Edmonton Opera Association and Manitoba Opera); Cinderella in La Cenerentola (Vancouver Opera Touring Ensemble); Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte (The Opera Project,); The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors (Opera NUOVA). On the concert stage, Ms. Sharkey-Pryma has appeared with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Chamber Orchestra, the University of Alberta Orchestra in Elgar’s The Music Makers with the late Juno Award winner Malcolm Forsythe, and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra for their 60th Anniversary in a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Maura is the 1998 winner of the Western Canadian Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, a two-time award winner of the Johann Strauss Scholarship (1997, 1999), and recipient of the Anne Burrows Foundation Scholarship (2001). She also was proud to represent Canada at the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Belgium in 2004.