Miriam Mahood - Intermediate Piano and Composition
Miriam Mahood (462-0159) is a RCM Examiner who exams extensively throughout Canada & the USA (Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria, Richmond, Mississauga, Fountain Valley CA, Huntington Beach CA, Regina, Yorkton, & Whitby, Saskatoon, Indianapolis IN, Nappanee IN, Fort Wayne IN, & Los Angeles/Santa Monica CA in the past 12 months). Ms. Mahood adjudicates regularly for the Alberta, Saskatchewan, & B.C. Music Festival Associations, her most recent festivals being Airdrie, Red Deer, & Grande Prairie, & the Edmonton Contemporary Showcase. Ms. Mahood is a graduate of the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria (Konzertdiplom), Universities of Saskatchewan & Alberta (B. Mus. & M. Mus.), & holds the ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music, & the Associate & Licentiate from the Western Board of Music. She has been employed by such institutions as Alberta College, The Banff Centre, Universities of Alberta & Manitoba, Western Board of Music, Winnipeg Bible College, & has served as Music Director, Organist, & Choir Director in various churches, most recently at St. Georges Anglican. For many years she was Scholarship Chair, & served on the Ball Committee, of the Johann Strauss Foundation. Ms. Mahood runs a prominent Piano Studio dedicated to student success. Her hobbies are hiking, languages (currently enrolled in the Confucius Institute), & travel.
Danica Hoffart - Musical Theatre
Dr. Danica Hoffart is a singer, conductor, musical director, educator, and adjudicator. She is currently a voice instructor in Theatre Arts at MacEwan University. Prior to that, she was on faculty at Red Deer College where she taught private voice, choir, singing for the stage, music history, and ear training. She has performed with the Central Alberta Chamber Players, Kompany! Dance, and has been a soprano soloist with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. Musical directing credits include South Pacific, Footloose, Cabaret, The Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz. Danica holds a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Arts in Music from the University of Alberta, and a PhD in Music from the University of Calgary.
Deanna Oye - Senior Piano
Pianist Deanna Oye is Associate Professor in the Department of Music at the University of Lethbridge where she teaches Studio Piano and Collaborative Piano, and also teaches with the UofL Conservatory of Music. She holds a doctorate in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music from the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY), and has given solo and collaborative performances throughout Canada, the U.S., Scotland, Germany and Japan. In addition, her work has been broadcast on CBC Radio Two and National Public Radio in the United States. Recent performances have taken place at the University of Toronto’s Walter Hall, UBC’s Barnett Recital Hall, Bemidji State University (Minnesota), Texas Tech University, New Mexico State University, Lakehead University, along with mixed solo and chamber music at the Watanabe Junichi Museum of Literature (Sapporo, Japan). As a performing member of the SoWeCa Chamber Music Festival, Deanna has shared the stage with internationally-renowned violist Rivka Golani, Israeli flutist Noam Buchman, and members of the Calgary Philharmonic and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras.
A strong commitment to teaching and innovation led to the development of the unique Collaborative Piano/Guitar course series at the UofL, which gives undergraduate pianists and guitarists the opportunity to learn fundamentals of collaborative music-making and develop skills of high-level musical partnership in preparation for intensive training at the graduate level. Deanna’s piano students have achieved success in a variety of music endeavours, including performance and musicology studies at masters and doctoral levels, staff pianist positions, and piano competitions. In addition to frequent master class teaching and adjudicating, she is often invited to give career talks to aspiring young musicians.
As a contributor to the wider music community, Deanna is an active member of the Canadian University Music Society, serving as its president from 2008 to 2010, the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association, the Alberta Piano Teachers Association, and the Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region. She is an enthusiastic advocate for new music and music in interdisciplinary contexts, with special interest in helping her students make connections between piano performance and their other passions.
Marlis Gunderson - Junior Piano
Marlis loves music. She started playing piano by ear when she was 4. She took lessons and finished her RCM Grade 10 while in high school. After graduating she became an ICU nurse, which she has been now for over 35 years. She completed her ARCT with Jaquie Ryan after nursing graduation and has been teaching piano since.
Marlis continues to learn new music by being involved in the Roubakine Piano Club, where she participates in master classes twice a year.
She enjoys adjudicating across Alberta and is organist and accompanist for several choirs and vocal groups. She resides in St. Albert with her husband, close to her 2 grown children and 2 young granddaughters.
Marlis is very excited to be invited to the Highwood Lions Music Festival.
Susan Duska - Speech
Susan Duska has wide experience in all areas of theatre, performance, vocal coaching and teaching.
She is on faculty at the Conservatory at Mount Royal University and maintains a busy schedule teaching private and group lessons, as well as theory classes and adjudicating across the country. In addition, she coordinates Presentation MRU, a non-competitive speech festival for Calgary speech students.
She is on the artist roster for the Calgary Board of Education and also travels to Argentina to examine for the International Schools in Buenos Aires.
Recent projects include Poetry and Presentation – Sonnets and Rap for Grade Nine students, Shakespeare for five Grade Three classes – mini productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest.
She holds a B.F.A. in Drama from the University of Calgary, is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto as well as an Associate and Licentiate of the Mount Royal College Conservatory.
Brett Gunther - Guitar
Classical guitarist Brett Gunther has been performing for over 20 years. Brett studied with Ralph Maier at Mount Royal University graduating in 2007 with a Diploma in Music Performance. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in 2010, and his Master of Music degree in classical guitar performance in 2012 both from the University of Calgary.
He has performed in masterclasses for many internationally famous guitarists, and has competed in major competitions including the North West Guitar Festival and Competition winning 3rd Place in 2009, and 2nd Place in 2010.
Brett has been serving on the board of governors for the Classical Guitar Society of Calgary as the artistic director since June 2010, and director for the Classical GuitarFest West guitar festival since 2015. He is currently on the faculty at Mount Royal University Conservatory teaching private lessons as well as ensemble classes for the Academy program. Brett is in high demand as an adjudicator for festivals across Canada, and has recently become an examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.
Brett's debut CD, Guitar Music, released in 2012, examines the music of some of the most significant composers for the guitar in the 20th century. Included are works by Rodrigo, Britten, Barrios, Brouwer, Tarrega, Domeniconi, and Moller. His most recent release, An Idea (2017), explores selections of some of his favorite composers from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries featuring works by Schubert, Mertz, Legnani, Moreno-Torroba, Bach, Brouwer, and Giuliani.
Kim Denis - Choir
Kimberley Denis is known for her energy and enthusiasm both on stage and off, and is sought after as a soloist, vocal coach, choral clinician, and adjudicator for voice and choir. Upon completion of both a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Music degree at Mount Allison University, she returned to Alberta to complete Masters degrees in both choral conducting and vocal performance. Vocal credits include starring in a year-long tour with Up With People, as well as productions of Jason Robert Brown's song cycle Songs for a New World, as Cathy in The Last Five Years, and as Kate in Kiss Me, Kate!
She is also a singer with Edmonton’s professional choir, Pro Coro Canada and has toured extensively as a singer with the world percussion duo, Jamani. In addition to her stage work, she has a flourishing voice studio at MacEwan University Conservatory of Music and has recently opened her own music school – the Purple Door Music Academy. She has conducted a wide variety of ensembles across the country and presently directs Shumayela (a choir for treble and changing voices for singers between the ages of 11 and 16) with the Kokopelli Choir Association, is the assistant conductor of Vacilando (an adult choir with the Kokopelli Choir Association) and is a project conductor with Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus.
In addition to her work as a singer, teacher, conductor and adjudicator, she arranges pieces for choirs and is also the managing director for the Alberta Band Association.
Chee Meng Low - Band
Chee Meng Low enjoys a diverse career as a conductor, educator, administrator, and performing on saxophone as an orchestral, chamber, and solo musician. Chee Meng is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Wind Orchestra at the University of Lethbridge, where he conducts the Wind Orchestra, teaches saxophone performance, conducting and musicianship skills. He is also involved with the Edmonton Saxophone Quartet, U of L Faculty Wind Sextet, Symphonic Winds of NSO Malaysia, and has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and guest conduct in North America, Europe and Asia. Under his direction, the U of L Wind Orchestra has performed at prestigious events and venues including Taiwan Chiayi International Band Festival, Edmonton Winspear Centre, Calgary Rozsa Centre, Knox United Church Calgary, Alberta Music Conference, Canadian Cantando Festivals and many outreach concerts in Southern Alberta. Recent creative activities included performance at the 2019 2nd Asia Saxophone Congress, as the guest conductor for the Ontario Interprovincial Music Camp, concerto performance with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra for their 2018/19 season and at the 2017 North American Saxophone Alliance Region 9 conference.
Before joining U of L, Chee Meng served as the Assistant Communications and Planning Manager for the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, developing the education & outreach programs, as well as implementing the daily operations of the orchestra. In addition to that, he also served as one of the saxophone instructors for the College of Music, Mahidol University, coaching private lessons, saxophone quartet and saxophone ensemble and serving the College as assistant to the Deputy Director for Academic and Research Affairs.
Chee Meng was the host for the 2019 Region 9 North American Saxophone Alliance regional conference, a member of the International Committee, World Saxophone Congress (2006-2009), regional representative of the Asia Pacific Band Directors' Association (2007-2010), and current member of the North American Saxophone Alliance. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Alberta Band Association and the Lethbridge Community Band Society.
Chee Meng Low is an artist-educator for Yamaha Music Ltd.
Joan Barrett - Strings
Canadian violinist Joan Barrett has a wealth of experience as performer,
teacher, adjudicator and coach. Her performing experience includes chamber
music, solo recitals and performances with orchestra in addition to serving
as Principal, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Assistant Concert Master,
Stratford Festival Orchestra, and member of Kensington Sinfonia.
Raised in Ontario, then furthering her musical education at Indiana
University, Joan Barrett is grateful to have been taught and mentored by
outstanding teachers and musicians such as Josef Gingold, David Zafer, Paul
Rolland, Ivan Galamian and Ruggiero Ricci. Subsequently she has been
greatly influenced by the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, M.F. Alexander, and
Association of Body Mapping Education.
A passionate educator, Ms. Barrett has taught at University of Toronto, and
The Royal Conservatory, as well as being the first String Co-ordinator of its
Young Artists Performance Academy. In 2012 she was the Artistic Consultant
for the creation of the nine recordings accompanying RCM’s new Violin
Series. Previously, she was deeply involved in the founding of the Academy
program in Calgary at Mount Royal University (MRU) where she taught violin,
chamber music and conducted one of the orchestras. A recipient of MRU’s
Distinguished Teaching Award, her students have been competition winners
at the national level and are active professionally. Currently she teaches
privately, at University of Calgary, and is an Academy Coach at MRU
Joan Barrett is an accredited (OISE/Adler) professional (“life”) coach. In
addition to experience as an executive leadership team coach, her practice
includes students and arts professionals as they navigate personal and
professional transitions. A former student, William Fedkenheuer, member of
the Miro Quartet, sums up Ms. Barrett’s approach and mission - “She
challenged me on technical, artistic, and human levels, pushing me to
develop my own voice and to always appreciate how lucky we are to be
allowed to spend time with the violin.”
Kim Mattice Wanat - Voice
Kim Mattice Wanat is a performer, teacher, author and director. In 2019 she
received her Master of Fine Arts specializing in directing from the University of
She has been a private voice instructor for over 25 years, with a specific focus on
training young singers between the ages of 8 to 24 years of age. She specializes in
training actors, and has worked at the University of Alberta for the past 28 years
teaching singing in the Bachelor of Fine Arts professional acting program.
Ms Mattice Wanat is the founder of Opera NUOVA, a nationally acclaimed opera
program dedicated to the advanced training of emerging Canadian artists, bridging the gap between the conservatory setting and the professional world of opera. She has produced and directed several of Opera NUOVA’s productions including Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, Offenbach’s La Perichole, Britten’s A
Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Canadian Premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women,
and all of NUOVA’s school touring production, most notably, Dean Burry’s The
Brother’s Grimm and Ann Hodge’s Naomi’s Road.
Her commitment to sharing her expertise with young singers, actors, teachers and
choral directors has earned her extensive recognition including Global Television’s
Woman of Vision Award, The City of Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence in the Arts
Award, The YWCA’s Woman of Distinction in Arts and Culture Award.
She has written and published a vocal pedagogy book entitled, Unleashing the
Expressive Resonant Voice and facilitates seminars and workshops across Canada,
sharing her unique teaching methodology with teachers and choral directors
Jarred Albright - Fiddle
Jarred Albright has played the violin since he was seven years old and music has been his focus ever since. He started off playing classical music but switched to the fiddle style learning Celtic, folk, old-tyme, and bluegrass before entering post-secondary to pursue jazz performance there. Since then he has endeavoured to teach himself to sing and play mandolin, guitar, banjo and ukulele.
In 2012 he and Ben Plotnick were awarded the 10k20 grant from Rawlco radio and their bluegrass duo recorded the self-titled CD Rye & Fairy Tales, to much acclaim. He has spent most of his time since then in Toronto but is happy to call himself an Albertan once again. Music has taken him around the world including the United States, South Korea, Scotland, England, and Ireland. These days Jarred keeps busy performing with many diverse local acts, and of course shares his love of music with his many students.