Adjudicators

Intermediate/Senior Piano - Audrey Falk Janzen 
(Rosthern, Saskatchewan)

Audrey has more than 25 years of experience teaching piano and theory. Her solo and collaborative piano performance studies have allowed her to develop numerous strategies that have resulted in a holistic approach to teaching students of all levels. Audrey adjudicates music festivals and competitions, has presented workshops, and is a member of the College of Examiners of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto. She has been assistant musical director with productions at Rosthern Junior College (SK) for many years and is a past performer at the Station Arts Centre (Rosthern) professional summer musical production. Audrey is currently one of the facilitators for the Online Piano Teacher Courses offered by RCM, has worked as a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan teaching musicianship, and also with the music department’s delivery of online courses. She maintains a small private studio teaching piano and theory, as well as some voice. She continues to collaborate with vocalists and regularly accompanies choirs. Audrey’s choral experience extends to singing with many semi-professional choirs and smaller ensembles. This training and experience are synthesized into her approach to teaching. Audrey and her husband, Richard, have two grown children, and a dog.


Instruments - Oscar Garcia (Westlock)
 

Oscar-Jose Garcia retired from full time band and music teaching in 2016 after 34 years as the Director of Bands at St. Mary Catholic School in Westlock Alberta. Oscar-Jose is currently a guest clinician and adjudicator. He has also been accepted as an adjudicator for The WordStrides and Heritage International Music Festivals which operate each year across major cities in the U.S. and Canada.

He is currently the director of the True North Community Jazz Ensemble from Westlock Alberta which he formed last fall.

Oscar–Jose is also very well known as an accomplished and recognized flamenco guitarist. He performs regularly with his wife, singer and flamenco dancer Judith Garcia, along with their flamenco troupe “Flamenco En Vivo” which they founded in 1999.

Over his long tenure at St. Mary, Oscar-Jose, has operated Junior and Intermediate Junior High Concert Bands, a High School Wind Ensemble (Concert Band) and a High School Jazz Band. He has also coached many school combo bands (Student run rock bands) and instrumental quintets.

His school bands have received countless Superior and Gold Awards at local, national and international music festivals for their high level of performances and accomplishments.

Over the years, he has traveled extensively with his high school Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band exposing them to the cultures and musical experiences worldwide and having them partake in international music festivals. Enjoying such U.S. cities as New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Closer to home and here in Canada they visited such cities as Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton. He has also taken his school bands to Spain where they performed in Madrid, Segovia, Avila, Cuenca and Toledo.

Oscar-Jose was also nominated for the Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award. He has appeared as a guest conductor for the Alberta Honour Band in Calgary and the Fort McMurray Honour Band.

His school band program was known all across Canada and was considered to be one of the top small high school band programs in Alberta.

Oscar-Jose is very passionate and has a great understanding of music and conducting student bands. He has an ease and fun way of getting kids to understand the concepts of team work in relationship to playing as a complete ensemble.

Oscar-Jose’s teaching motto is very simple; “All kids should have the opportunity to learn to play and love a musical Instrument with the chance to surround themselves in a cohesive group of musicians working together to produce beautiful music during their formative educational years. Music does make you smarter.”


Junior Piano - Helva Sastok (Calgary)

Helve Sastok is a creative, innovative, published and performed composer, educator, adjudicator and multi-instrumentalist. Her many musical interests and abilities have resulted in a diverse career. Helve uses her varied skills in her positions as teacher, church music director, conductor, piano soloist and accompanist, pipe organist, violinist and guitarist.

As a composition or a piano adjudicator, Helve is comfortable working with all levels of students. She has a positive and energetic adjudication style that draws in the participant as well as the audience. She is able to quickly solve musical problems and make all ages of students experience the joy of music.

Helve has a Master of Music degree in composition and a Bachelor of Music degree (With Distinction) in composition/performance from the University of Alberta. As well, she has earned two piano performance diplomas. Her professional memberships include Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre, the Canadian League of Composers, as well as the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association, Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association and the Alberta Piano Teachers’ Association.

Helve's compositions have been performed across Canada and in Europe. Her compositions have been released on CD: her electroacoustic piece ‘Shooting Stars’ on Beat (2019), a performance of her graphic score 'Southwest Soundscapes' on Agglomeration (2016), her electro-acoustic composition 'Sailing the High 'C'' on Cult Figures (Centrediscs/Centredisques - 2008), her piano solo ‘Elegy' on Glossa (1999), and 'Duologue' for cello and piano on Brief Confessions (1997).

For further information, please visit her website at helvesastok.wixsite.com/home


Junior Piano - Beginner - Elsie Hoover (Edmonton)


Elsie Hoover is an active musician in Edmonton. She is currently the accompanist for the Joyful Noise Children’s Choir and The King's University as an instrumental accompanist. Elsie has also been the substitute accompanist for the Chorale St. Jean, and the accompanist for The King's University Choral and the Edmonton Christian Male Choir. Elsie toured as the accompanist with the Concordia Choir and was the Eurythmy accompanist for the Waldorf Educational Society. With a love for choir, she is not only the accompanist, but also sings alto with the Richard Easton Singers, where she is currently the interim section lead. She has had the privilege of being a member of the Alberta Youth Choir and the National Youth Choir. Her talents also carry over to the organ, where she is active as the organ scholar at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

 

Elsie has been the recipient of several awards, including the Nellie McClung Scholarship, the Jason Lang Scholarship, the Gerry Segger Scholarship for Performance Excellence and the Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship. In 2018, she had the privilege of performing at the National Music Festival. She received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from The King’s University and holds an ARCT in Piano Performance.

 

Elsie has a passion for sharing music. She desires to inspire young students and to encourage them to become lifelong learners. She is an active instructor. Elsie has had the opportunity to adjudicate at music festivals in the Province, including St. Albert, Provost and Fort McMurray.



Musical Theatre - Karen Charlton (Calgary)

Although very tempting to list education and performing experience and teaching experience in the traditional adjudicator's bio, I'd rather you just Google me at karencharlton.org to discover that kind of information.
It has been my privilege to adjudicate 18 years of big city festivals, small town festivals, and Provincials. I am happy to use this bio space to commit to applying all my knowledge and experience to the best of my ability while adjudicating your performers - treating each individual with respect and kindness while providing constructive opinions and suggestions that are supported by practical, technical, and artistic applications.
Festivals are intended to encourage, grow, and appreciate our performers. We can all strive for creating a festival environment that emboldens exciting performances as these artists strive for the highest level of their own personal achievements.

I’d also like to express my gratitude to all the volunteers that make this festival and its invaluable performing opportunities possible. 

I can’t wait to celebrate this year's festival together!


Speech - Ellen Chorley (Edmonton)


ELLEN CHORLEY is an Edmonton-based playwright, producer, performer and arts educator. She is the current Festival Director of Nextfest, Edmonton’s annual emerging arts festival. Ellen teaches acting and playwrighting to ages 8-18 with Foote Theatre School at the Citadel Theatre and works with public schools to teach acting, playwrighting and more. 


Strings - Jeffrey Plotnick (Calgary)

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Plotnick recently retired after completing his thirtieth season as Principle Second Violin with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Mr. Plotnick performed with orchestras in Cincinnati, Ohio, Liouville Kentucky, and Caracas, Venezuela before assuming his position in Calgary.

In addition to performing with the Calgary Philharmonic, Mr. Plotnick also served as the concertmaster of the Calgary Bach Society and the Calgary Festival Chorus Orchestras.

Mr. Plotnick often appeared as violin soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic as well as the Calgary Bach Society, and has been heard in frequent performances as a solo and chamber recitalist. In October of 1998, Mr. Plotnick participated in a cultural mission to Kazakhstan, which included solo performances for its President.

Mr. Plotnick has been a member of the faculties of the University of Calgary, Mt Royal College and the Amici String program in Calgary, and was the founding director and conductor of

Mt. Royal’s Intermediate String Orchestra. In addition, Mr. Plotnick has been a faculty member of the Banff International Youth Orchestra Festival, the Valhalla, Neslon, Strings and Keys and the Los Angeles Suzuki summer music institutes, and has appeared as guest artist and clinician at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is currently in demand as a string adjudicator at numerous music festivals.


Vocal and Choral - Melissa Morgan (Regina)

Dr. Melissa Morgan is a choral conductor, educator and performer. Currently, she directs the choral program at the University of Regina where she also teaches courses in choral conducting and vocal diction. She is frequently asked to appear as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor throughout Canada.  

Previous to her appointment at the University of Regina, Dr. Morgan was the Pfeifer Memorial Chair of Music at Luther College High School where she was responsible for the Luther College Senior Choir, the auditioned choir AVE, the String Ensemble, the Luther Band, and the IB music program. Her choirs have performed at a variety of events including Association of Canadian Choral Communities Podium Conferences, showcase concerts at the Rocky Mountain Music Festival in Banff, the installation of the 22nd Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan ceremony and at Lincoln Center in New York City. 

Dr. Morgan was also the founder and artistic director of the Prairie Chamber Choir. Under her direction the Prairie Chamber Choir won second place in the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs chamber choir category. The choir released, Wake the Grain: Choral Art Music from the Prairies a recording to celebrate and honour composers from the Prairie region with a hope to encourage and support new Canadian music.

Throughout her education she has had the privilege of studying with exemplary teachers. She is grateful to have worked under the supervision of Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, Dr. Victoria Meredith, Kathryn Laurin, and Diana Woolrich. Dr. Morgan holds a Doctorate of Music Performance in Choral Conducting from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music Performance in Choral Conducting from the University of Western Ontario, a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Regina. She is also an Associate of the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT) in piano, voice, and flute. In October 2017, Dr. Morgan was named as one of CBC Saskatchewan's Future 40 under 40 recipients.