2022 Adjudicators

Brass - Dean McNeill

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta trumpeter/composer Dean McNeill has been a Professor of Brass & Jazz at the University of Saskatchewan for the past 25 years during which time he has toured Canada, recorded and produced over 15 CDs and, led many professional & music education-based projects such as the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra, the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival’s Jazz Intensive music education program, and, the U of S Kenderdine Campus’ Jazz Composers Retreats.

Dean attended McNally High School, MacEwan University, the University of Alberta, McGill University, and, the University of North Texas where he completed his graduate work with high honors.

A few years ago Dean collaborated with Dr. Allan Gilliland to record Gilliland’s composition Kalla as soloist with the New Edmonton Wind Symphonia. Kalla won a Western Canadian Music Award and several other musical projects involving Dean have been nominated for other Western Canadian Music Awards in their own right such as The Complete Rebirth Of The Cool CD and The Saskatchewan Suite: The Story of US CD/DVD.

Dean is honored to have received the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival’s Special Recognition Award (recognizing his lifelong commitment to furthering the musical arts in Saskatchewan). He has received a Downbeat Magazine Arranger’s Award, the University of Saskatchewan’s Student’s Union Teaching Excellence Award, the U of S Dwayne Nelson Teaching Award and in his current capacity as Head of the U of S Department of Music, he received the 2022 Saskatchewan Choral Federation’s Outstanding Administrator Award.

Crediting much of his success to diligence, strong musical role models, Dean is honored to have shared the professional concert stage with the likes of Jon Ballantyne, Tommy Banks, David Braid, Phil Dwyer, Hugh Fraser, Mark Fewer, Guy Few, Wycliffe Gordon, Kelly Jefferson, Ingrid Jensen, Michael Kaeshammer, Alastair Kay, Bob Mintzer, PJ Perry, Maria Schneider, Denzal Sinclaire, and Brad Turner among others.

Dean has served as Musical Director for many special projects and events as well such as the Texas Lone Star Film Awards, the Saskatchewan Arts Board Gala, Saskatoon Community Foundation Gala, Saint Paul Hospital Gala, and, the Persephone Theatre’s Gala. Dean has produced 2 radio series entitled Adversity Meets Resilience during the Covid 19 global pandemic for CFCR Radio Saskatchewan and in general he has worked diligently to improve the cultural capital of music and the state of music education in Western Canada, with a strong focus on supporting musical artists and music education in Saskatchewan.

Chamber - Sonia Lee (virtual competitors)
Michael Oike and Véronique Mathieu (in-person)

Michael Oike (piano) and Véronique Mathieu (strings) photos and bios may be found below.

Dr. Sonia Lee has enjoyed a diverse career as soloist, collaborative artist, director, and educator in nearly 150 cities and towns on four continents. Her performances have been praised by critics as "masterly" (Aliénor News & Notes), "full of elegance and expression" (Cleveland Classical), and possessing "grace and flair" (Sounding Board). Equally at home at the piano and various historical keyboards with a wide repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary to jazz to early music, she has appeared at festivals and venues such as Rome Festival, Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival, Milwaukee Museum of the Pianoforte, Schubert Club, Handel House Museum of London, KEK-Japan Concerts, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Taipei National Concert Hall, Olympus Hall of Seoul, and the early music festivals of Boston, Costa Rica, and Utrecht. Her discography includes premiere recordings of chamber and orchestral music by Kozeluch, Weigl, and Bembo on Arabesque and Mark Records.

Among the esteemed groups Dr. Lee has worked with include the Classical Chamber Players, La Donna Musicale, Concerto Urbano, L.A. Classics and Pops, the Buon Tempo String Quartet, the Rome Festival Orchestra and Opera, Sinfonia da Camera, Concerto da Camera, Camerata Antiqua Seoul, Asia Collegium Musicum, Hong Kong Bach Choir, Les Jeunes Virtuoses de Montréal, Pittsburgh Baroque Ensemble, Musicerend Gezelschap, Amor Musicae, and La Réunion Musicale, of which she is the Founding Artistic Director. As music director, she has led the University of Illinois Collegium Musicum, Dulces Exuviae, Musicerend Gezelschap, and the Phantasie String Orchestra. She has served an advisor to various performing groups such as Les Bostonades, Corelli Ensemble, Bach Collegium Moderne, and Concerto da Camera.

Lee holds graduate music degrees from McGill University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has previously taught at Illinois Wesleyan University, and is currently staff accompanist at Scripps College and of the Joint Music Program of The Claremont Colleges, co-organist at Christ Church Parish, Ontario, CA, and editor of the Early Keyboard Journal. Visit www.sonialeemusic.com.

Choral - Caron Daley

Caron Daley is Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. She holds a D.M.A. (Choral Conducting) from the University of Toronto, an M.M. (Choral Conducting) and M.A. (Vocal Pedagogy) from The Ohio State University, an Artist Diploma (Voice) and B.M. (Music Education) from Western University, and an A.R.C.T (Voice) from the Royal Conservatory of Canada.

A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Caron has held past conducting appointments with the University of Toronto, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, National Youth Choir of Canada, Salem Academy and College, and St. Michael’s Choir School. A certified Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher, she frequently lectures on the sound-gesture relationship and is published in Canadian Music Educator, Research Memorandum Series of Chorus America, Teaching Music through Performance in Choir Vol. 4 and Vol. 5, Choral Journal, Journal of Singing, The Choral Scholar, and International Journal of Research in Choral Singing. Her current interdisciplinary research study investigates the incidence of pain and discomfort associated with conducting in K-12 and collegiate conductors.

Classical Voice - Sarah Hall

Sarah hails from Boston, Massachusetts where she was active as a singer, conductor, vocal coach, and educator.

As a professional choral singer and soloist, Sarah has appeared in venues across the United States and in Canada, England and Italy. She has sung under the batons of such distinguished conductors as Tamara Brooks, Paolo Carignani, Henry Engbrecht, Janet Galvàn, John Harbison, David Hoose, Stephen Mercurio, Donald Nally, Alice Parker, Daniel Pinkham, Donald Teeters, and Constantina Tsolainou, to name a few. She has appeared in opera and concert settings with Canzona and MusikBarock (Winnipeg), Brandon Chamber Players, Festival dei Due Mondi (Spoleto, Italy), Boston Cecelia, The Cantata Singers and Ensemble (Boston), The Bridge Ensemble (Philadelphia), and The Delaware Singers and Orchestra. Recent solo appearances include the world premiere of Ken Nichols’ The River Merchant’s Wife at the Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival and in Bach’s Magnificat with Canzona and MusikBarock.

As a conductor and coach, Sarah’s credits include Boston Early Music Festival’s North American Premier of Lully’s, Psyché, Hans Krása’s, Brundibár with the Cantata Singers and Ensemble, Westman Youth Choir, and Brandon University Opera Ensemble’s Albert Herring (Britten). Sarah has also worked with nationally acclaimed American youth choir, PALS Children’s Chorus, preparing singers for performances with Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cantata Singers, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Philharmonic, and Boston Early Music Festival.

Sarah’s students have been scholarship and trophy winners at Festival at the local and provincial levels. They have sung with the Boston Lyric Opera, Vancouver International Song Institute, Canadian National Youth Choir, and the Orford Arts Centre (Montréal). Her students have successfully auditioned at the graduate and undergraduate level at Arizona State University (Tempe), Berklee College of Music (Boston), Brandon University, Bowling Green State University (Ohio), New England Conservatory (Boston), and West Chester University (Pennsylvania).

Sarah has studied voice with Paolo Faustini, Mark Pearson, Alan Wagner and Jane Wyss; conducting with Donald Nally; and has coached with Julianne Baird, Terry Decima, David Lutz, Martin Katz, Gian Carlo Menotti, Richard Miller and Roberta Morell.

In addition to her work at the University, Sarah appears regularly as an adjudicator of voice, speech arts (English and French) and choir in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Sarah is delighted to work with singers of all ages and abilities to help them grow as performers!

Guitar - Don Hlus

Don Hlus was an instructor of guitar at Kwantlen Polytechnic University from 1993 – 2019. In addition to teaching studio lessons, coaching chamber music, and fretboard harmony classes, he also taught an introductory course on the music industry as well as another on career development and entrepreneurship. He was also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Fraser Valley Acoustic Guitar Festival and served as Chair of the Music Department from 2012-2018.

Although Don wears many professional hats (i.e., music educator, performer, festival organizer, administrator, and curriculum developer), his first love is teaching. In addition to helping young musicians find and develop their own unique artistic voice, he is devoted to helping developing and emerging classical guitarists prepare and transition into the professional world.

Musical Theatre - Heather Bedford-Clooney

Heather Bedford-Clooney has a B. Mus. Ed, an ARCT (voice) and a ATCL and LTCL in Speech and Drama. She has done graduate work at the University of Alberta, Dartmouth College (New Hampshire), and Westminster Choir College (New Jersey).

Mrs. Bedford-Clooney has maintained a voice studio in Edmonton for 47 years. Her students regularly compete in festivals at the local and provincial levels and she has had students in the National Music Festival. Many have gone on to be well known performers and teachers of voice. She had adjudicated voice, musical theatre, choirs, and speech throughout Canada for 44 years. She has been the Musical Director of several local productions including, among others, ‘Cabaret,’ ‘Anne of Green Gables,’ ‘The Fantastiks,’ ‘The Music Man,’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Her choirs produce an annual review of Broadway favourites.

She is the Past President of the Choirs Alberta, Choral Canada (ACCC), Music Alberta, Alberta Music Festival Association (AMFA), and Opera Nuova. Mrs. Bedford-Clooney is Executive Director of both the Edmonton Music and Speech Arts Festival (former Edmonton Kiwanis Music Festival) and the Shean Piano and String Competition and is the former Executive Director of the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals.

Mrs. Bedford-Clooney taught high school for 35 years and is as past winner of the Richard Eaton Award for Distinguished Service to Choral Music in Alberta (2008), an Alberta Centennial Medal (2005), and an ACF Con Spiritu Award (2003). In 2015, she was inducted into the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame.

Piano - Michael Oike

Pianist Michael Oike enjoys a busy and diverse musical life in his hometown Winnipeg, Manitoba. For over 30 years he has taught piano to students of all ages, given workshops and masterclasses, and adjudicated at music festivals all across Canada. Michael performs in chamber music ensembles and as vocal and instrumental pianist.

Michael’s training includes solo piano studies with Alice Nakauchi & Sydney McInnis, in Toronto with Boris Lysenko where he received the University of Toronto Forsythe Scholarship as the outstanding graduating pianist. In addition, Michael was fortunate to work with the renowned pedagogue Jeaneane Dowis at her New York studio and twice as a chamber music fellow at the Waterloo Festival (Princeton University), and seminars with Rudolf Jansen and Martin Isepp (Aldeburgh School in England and Academy of Singing at Banff), two of the leading pianists in the field of vocal accompanying.

Away from music Michael enjoys golfing, curling, biking, cheering for the Jets, Raiders and Blue Jays, and tinkering in the kitchen perfecting his blueberry pies, butter tarts, and sushi.

Speech - Gaye-Lynn Kern

Gaye-Lynn Kern is a Performer, Teacher and Clinician. Her areas of specialization are Voice (Solo and Choral), Music Theatre, Drama and Speech Arts. She has a Master of Music (Voice) & a Post Graduate Diploma from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, UK. Other post-graduate studies include the Mozart Opera Studies Institute and the Pacific Voice Conference.

Ms. Kern has performed over twenty-eight leading roles in opera (The Medium, Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute), operetta (The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore), Music Theatre (The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady) and plays (Dancing at Lughnasa, Murder at the Howard Johnsons). Her thirty-four directorial credits include Anne of Green Gables, The Boyfriend, Grease, Li’l Abner, Oliver! The Real Inspector Hound, Blithe Spirit and Nunsense. At the International Saxophone Conference 2000 in Montreal, Ms. Kern premiered Songs of Childhood.

Ms. Kern has enjoyed adjudicating at over 169 Music Festivals in Western Canada since 1990. She was the Past President of the Saskatoon Music Festival and Provincial Rep. for the CMFAA.

Twelve of her thirty-nine years of Vocal Pedagogy have been at universities and colleges where she taught for both Music and Drama Departments and her students are frequent festival scholarship winners at both local and provincial levels. Her students have ranged in age from 4 years (pre-kindergarten) to 90 years (Elderhostel). Ms. Kern coaches professionals in a wide variety of careers.

Gaye-Lynn Kern has performed professionally in England, Europe, the United States, and Canada. She performs in Improv Theatre and on the Concert Stage as a soloist and as a member of The Gala Trio. Gaye-Lynn resides in Saskatoon with her husband, Gordon Grant and four feline companions: Magnolia, Charlotte, Flynn and Louie.

Strings - Véronique Mathieu

Described as a violinist with 'chops to burn, and rock-solid musicianship' (The Whole Note, Toronto), Canadian violinist Véronique Mathieu enjoys an exciting career as a soloist, chamber musician, and music educator. An avid contemporary music performer, she has commissioned and premiered numerous works by American, Brazilian, and Canadian composers, and has worked with composers such as Pierre Boulez, Heinz Holliger, and Krzysztof Penderecki. Her CD debut of solo works by Boulez, Donatoni, and Lutoslawski was praised as a display of “outstanding violin playing” and “stunning [performance] with amazing technique”. Current projects include the commission of a large-scale solo violin work by Odawa First Nations composer Barbara Croall and a set of 12 pedagogical pieces written in collaboration with 12 internationally renowned composers with the support of the SSHRC and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Dr. Mathieu has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Shenyang Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Montreal Contemporary Ensemble, and the Orquestra Sinfonica de Indaiatuba (Brazil). She recorded for the labels of Radio-Canada, Parma, Centrediscs, Naxos, Pheromone, and the CD series New Music at Indiana University. Her recordings are frequently heard on the radio, and she was recently featured on a BBC series dedicated to the composer Witold Lutoslawski. Following the release of her 3rd solo CD (Cortège), Dr. Mathieu was a finalist in the Classical Artist/Ensemble of the Year category at the 2021 Western Canadian Music Awards. She will be recording a new album featuring works by women composers this summer with her duo partner pianist Stephanie Chua.

Véronique Mathieu holds the David L. Kaplan Chair in Music at the University of Saskatchewan where she serves as an Associate Professor of Violin. She previously served on the faculty at State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo, and the University of Kansas. In addition, she is the co-founder and artistic director of NAVO Inc., a non-for-profit arts organization based in Kansas City. Dr. Mathieu regularly serves on the jury of national and international violin and strings competitions, and is a member of the Royal College of Examiners. Dr. Mathieu is a graduate of the Québec Conservatory, McGill University, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.

Woodwind - Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson is a passionate music educator dedicated to promoting growth in individual artistic endeavours. Achieving communication with performers and facilitating artistic growth in the individual are his lifelong goals.

He is in demand throughout North America as a clinician and adjudicator, including the Glenn Gould Professional School. He has adjudicated woodwind, brass and chamber music at many festivals across Canada and the United States, including provincial finals in Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia as well as the MTNA National finals in New York City. He has adjudicated over 75 music festivals the past 11 years.

Mark Thompson studied at The University of Toronto, Indiana University, and The Mannes College of Music in New York. In 1994, he became the first Canadian clarinetist to win first prize in the Artists' International Competition subsequently giving his New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Since then, he has enjoyed a diverse musical career spanning from recording for the CBC and BBC to being heard on various jingles and the Disney Channel. Since 1996, he has been Artistic Director of Clearly Classic Concerts in Dundas, Ontario in the capacity as conductor, performer and developer of numerous projects, including Nimmons 'n Braid, and Marjan Mozetichs' 'Angels in Flight'. The Clearly Classic Education programs that he founded have brought classical and jazz music to hundreds of children in the Greater Toronto area. He created one of the first joint music and art programs in the Toronto area recently. He has performed with many of Canada's orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony and has performed and toured with internationally known ensembles Quartetto Gelato and The Penderecki String Quartet. He has performed at the Arizona Music Festival and also performed as soloist with the Sioux City Iowa Symphony with conductor Ryan Haskins. His CD release 'Blue Skies' with pianist Susan Lee has been heard extensively on CBC and National Public Radio.

As a teacher several of his students have become RCM Gold medal winners. As senior examiner for the Royal Conservatory he has been involved in conducting evaluations in both Canada and the United States. He has also served as a mentor to apprentice examiners. Recently he mentored apprentices and conducted evaluations in Los Angeles.