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Music festival open to all students in the community

All 12 recitals are in The Loft at Algoma Conservatory
File photo

The Sault Ste. Marie Music Festival kicks off March 30 featuring students from the area in a series of 12 recitals. The competition is open to all music students in the community and is coordinated by voice instructor Carolyn Hart at the Algoma Conservatory of Music.

All recitals are in The Loft at Algoma Conservatory, 75 Huron St. with tickets to all performances available here. They are $10 for adults and there is no charge for students and children 21 and under. Tickets will also be available at the door. Most concerts are about one hour in length.

For piano, strings, guitar and winds guest adjudicators will work with the students following each performance. For Voice the performances are recorded and will be adjudicated by a guest adjudicator out of town.

In addition to working with the students, the adjudicators will recommend the top senior students for participation in the Ontario Provincial Music Competition, which will take place this year in the Niagara Region.

This year's adjudicators:

PIANO: Kassandra-Anne Demers was born and raised in Chapleau, Ont. Kassey began her classical piano studies at Cambrian College in Sudbury under the guidance of Dr. Charlene Biggs. She earned an Advanced Diploma in Music Performance in 2012. Soon after, she was selected as part of twelve international students to study in Edinburgh, Scotland with Kenneth van Barthold and Nicolas Pope in an intensive performance program. She has earned many awards including Top Pianist and Most Outstanding Performance Award received in 2011 at Cambrian College.

She also won the Memorial University Concerto competition in 2016, which gave her the opportunity to perform Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with orchestra. In 2017, she graduated with Honours earning a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Composition from Memorial University of St. John’s, Newfoundland where she studied with professor Timothy Steeves. In 2019, she earned a Masters Degree in Piano Performance at thWugh fundraising efforts, became the first fully equipped dedicated music learning space in the community. Like many isolated Northern Ontario communities, Chapleau does not have core music programs included in their Elementary and Secondary education systems.

For Kassey, it became a personal mission to share the benefits and importance of music education in her hometown. She remains an active performer, recording session musician, and teacher that is versatile in all genres of music. Kassey has a passion for arranging popular tunes in different styles that include technical dexterity inspired by her decade of intensive classical training. Her recent piano ensemble arrangement of the famous Journey tune Don’t Stop Believin’,performed by 30 of her private piano students received positive acknowledgments from the singer of Journey, Arnel Pineda as well as a featured interview on Radio-Canada.

STRINGS and WINDS: An award-winning violist and chamber musician whose playing has been described as "absolutely splendid ... dancing with emotion," (The Day) Dr Jamie Arrowsmith's career spans genres and pushes boundaries. He has collaborated with Asian and Arabic musicians as part of the London, UK-based Notes Inégales Improvisation Ensemble, and has appeared at several leading music festivals, including the BRAVO! Vail Valley Music Festival, the Strings in the Mountains Chamber Music Festival, and the Southbank Centre New Music Biennial.

Jamie frequently appears as part of the Cambrian Concert Series, and continues to perform as a guest soloist and chamber musician around Northern Ontario. Jamie holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Kent State University and Brunel University London. He has won numerous first prize awards as a chamber musician, including the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, the MTNA Chamber Music Competition and the Green Lake String Quartet Competition.

In 2014, he joined the distinguished panel of judges for the Guangya Chengdu International Violin Competition in Chengdu, China. He has also been recognized by Northern Ontario Business as a 40 Under 40 award winner for community arts leadership, and was a co-recipient of the Joan Mantle Music Trust Community Award. In 2022, he was honoured to receive the Positive Impact Award from the Cambrian Student Council, for his work supporting student success and wellbeing. His academic work focusses on the intersection of professional and amateur practice in community orchestras, a topic for which he has published and presented papers at conferences around the world.

Jamie is the Music Director of the Sudbury Youth Orchestra, and the founder and director of the Sudbury Sound Collective Improvisation ensemble. He has also been resident conductor of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, and has twice been named as Music Director for the Northern Ontario Music Festival Honour Band. He is an active clinician and adjudicator, and continues to teach in the School of Music in Sudbury, where he also maintains a private teaching practice.

GUITAR: Matt Warnock holds degrees from McGill University, Western Michigan University, culminating in a Doctorate in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. 

Before teaching exclusively online in 2015, Matt was on faculty at Western Illinois University, Leeds Conservatoire, the University of Chester, and the Interlochen Arts Camp.

Matt has performed over 2,500 gigs around the world, including concert halls and jazz festivals in Canada, the US, Brazil, UK, Nepal, and New Zealand. He has also shared the stage with Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, Darmon Meader, Stefon Harris, Billy Hart, and others.

Matt’s lessons have been published in Guitar World Magazine, Guitar Player Magazine, Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, Modern Guitar, Guitar International Magazine, and Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

VOICE/CHORAL/SPEECH ARTS: Soprano Irene Ilic received her Master’s Degree in Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and has performed a variety of operatic and musical theatre roles in the U.S. and Canada. She has also been a guest soloist with many Canadian choirs and orchestras, performing as soprano soloist in works such as Orff’s CARMINA BURANA, Purcell’s King Arthur, Haydn’s The Creation, Handel’s The Messiah, Bach’s St. John Passion, and the Requiems of Faure, Durufle, Brahms and Rutter.

Ilic has a thriving private teaching practice in Newmarket and is a member of NATS, ORMTA and the CMFAA. She is also currently a board member of both NATS Ontario and the OMFA. She has adjudicated many music festivals throughout Canada. She is the founder and director of the Newmarket Voice Festival, an annual event since 1996. She was selected to join the repertoire selection committee for both the 2012 edition and 2019 edition of the Royal Conservatory of Music Songbook Series.

Many of her students have won silver and gold Medals for the highest mark in Ontario for an RCM voice exam. Her students have starred in Opera Atelier productions and the Toronto casts and touring productions of The Lion King, The Sound of Music, Billy  Eliot, Mary Poppins, and more. Her student, John-Michael Scapin, won the $150,000 scholarship in the CBC show Triple Sensation. Her annual “Tea & Tunes” student concerts have been held for over twenty-five years and have raised thousands of dollars for Sick Kids Hospital.

Irene is very proud that many of her students have gone on to pursue music at the university level and as a career path. As a consultant with Voice Dynamics Inc. for three years, Irene conducted corporate workshops on presentation skills, customer service, voice image and telemarketing for Peat Marwick Thorne, SaskTel, AllState Insurance, Bell Canada, Revenue Canada and A.T. & T. in New York City. She has been a guest lecturer at the McGill Club, the YMCA, the Association of Women in Business, and George Brown College.

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