KPU Choir Band & Orchestra Festival: Adjudicators

Wayne Jeffrey, Surrey, BC (Concert Bands & Orchestras)

Dr. Wayne Jeffrey, recognized as one of Canada’s leading music educators and conductors, draws on a vast range of experiences in the performing arts and education. His unique background includes studies in Education, Aesthetics, Performance and Entrepreneurial Management. He has studied Music Education, Horn and Conducting at the Universities of Toronto, Western Ontario and Rochester, culminating in a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Music Education and Conducting from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. European studies and performance opportunities have occurred in England, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy.

Dr. Jeffrey’s studio and classroom teaching experience includes all levels in various educational environments, summer music camps and masterclasses in Canada, United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. He has served as Director of Instrumental Studies at KPU, Co-Artistic Director/Hornist with the Canada West Chamber Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Courtenay Youth Music Centre, and as Festival Director of Summer Music from the Comox Valley. He has also served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto, the University of Cincinnati (College Conservatory of Music), and a guest Lecturer at the University of British Columbia and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

He is a frequent lecturer, guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator at music festivals throughout North America and Europe.
Gail Suderman, Langley, BC (Choirs)

As Artistic Director of Good Noise Vancouver Gospel choir, Gail has drawn on both her classical and academic musical studies as well as her natural abilities as a musician and her long-time love of many styles of contemporary music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Pop Music. Gail began her formal music education at age 5, studying piano. Her piano teacher of note was Georgina Williams, who guided Gail through many years of study, focusing both on solo performing as well as accompanying. Very early on, it was evident that Gail possessed collaborative skills as a pianist. At the early age of eight, she started accompanying the Sunday school choir. Over the next few years, Gail “graduated” to accompanying the adult church choir (beginning at age twelve) as well as solo singers and instrumentalists.

From a young age, Gail pursued a two-path musical life, studying classical piano and learning all she could about gospel music, listening to and performing the music of Andrae and Sandra Crouch, Danniebelle Hall, the Hawkins family, and many others. During her teenage years, Gail introduced many people to the gospel music of the day as well as using her classical training extensively, accompanying instrumentalists and singers and winning awards for both solo piano and accompanying. It was while accompanying singers in recital and for festivals that Gail realized her love of the voice. Wanting to study voice herself, Gail was accepted into several post-secondary voice programs, deciding to attend the University of Victoria as a voice performance major, studying with Jean Letourneau and Bernard Turgeon. Gail received a number of scholarships and awards, receiving the President’s scholarship for undergraduate studies, winning the concerto competition, and was awarded a teaching assistantship in conducting and a fellowship for graduate studies in Voice Performance, graduating with honours.

After several years of singing professionally in Opera and Oratorio, Gail began her teaching career, developing an award winning Choral and Voice program at Gladstone Secondary School in Vancouver. During her time teaching high school music, Gail was featured in the Vancouver Sun by Music Columnist Lloyd Dykk as one of the top Music Educators in British Columbia.

Gail’s musical career has continued to include both classical music and contemporary music. Gail is currently Director of Voice and Choral Music at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is Artistic Director of Vancouver’s dynamic Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir. She also has a successful private voice studio, her roster of students ranging from award-winning Classical singers to R&B, Rock, Pop and Musical Theatre Professionals. Gail gives frequent choral and vocal workshops for High School music teachers, community and church choirs, directs weekend Gospel music workshops, and is in demand as a Performer, Voice Teacher, Guest Conductor, Workshop Clinician, Voice and Choral Adjudicator.
Joel Tranquila, Langley, BC (Community Choirs)

Dr. Joel Tranquilla is Director of Choral Activities at Trinity Western University where he teaches various music courses and administers a choral program of six choirs. Before joining the faculty at TWU, Joel lived and worked in Windsor, Ontario where he served as Chorus Master of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Windsor Classic Chorale, and conductor of the University of Windsor Women’s Chamber Choir. Under the auspices of these organizations, Joel initiated the Windsor Choral Festival which has brought together hundreds of singers from the choral community of southern Ontario and provided free music workshops in local schools and churches.

Joel holds degrees from Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Mount Allison University as well as ARCT diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music in both piano and voice performance. His research interests include Canadian choral-orchestral repertoire and arts advocacy. He has taught conducting at the undergraduate level at Michigan State University and ear training at Dalhousie University and the University of Windsor. A proud alumnus of the National Youth Choir of Canada (2004 and 2006), Joel was the 2012 National Youth Choir apprentice conductor and the winner of the 2012 Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Award in choral conducting. In June 2013 he was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

In 2014 Joel was appointed Associate Conductor of the Canadian Chamber Choir, having previously performed with the ensemble as a singer, pianist, and conductor. Choirs prepared by Tranquilla have appeared under the batons of Robert Franz, Kevin Mallon, John Morris Russell, and Ivars Taurins. Joel is a frequent adjudicator and clinician and was selected as the Guest Conductor of the New Brunswick Youth Choir in 2013 and 2014. He served a term as Vice President of Advocacy of Choral Canada, and he believes strongly in the power of choral singing to build community.
Scott MacLennan, Delta, BC (Concert Bands & Orchestras)

Dr. Scott MacLennan is the Music Director of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Wind Symphony, an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia teaching conducting, and Music Director at the Byng Arts Academy in the Performing and Visual Arts in Vancouver, B.C. As an in-demand guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, he frequently works with ensembles, schools, and festivals in Western Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Music (1988) and a Bachelor of Education (1990) from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Music (2010) in Conducting (Wind Band) from Sam Houston State University, Texas, and a Ph.D. (2015) from the University of British Columbia. He studied conducting with Ken Hsieh, Morihiro Okabe, and Wayne Toews and participated in numerous conducting master classes given by Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Anthony Maiello, Ralph Hultgren, and Robert Ponto. Some of the other specialists he worked with are: Paula Crider, Ed Lisk, Eugene Rousseau, Tim Lautzenheiser, Sam Pilafian, Pat Sheridan, Lowell Graham, Robert Spring, Jan Van der Roost, Robert W. Smith, Allen Vizzutti, and Johan de Meji. With Johan de Meji’s endorsement, Dr. MacLennan conducted the Canadian premiere of his composition At Kitty O’Shea’s in March 2011.

His Ph.D. research involved studying students’ conceptions of ancillary movements (physical movements not necessary in the production of sound) in instrumental music performance. Dr. MacLennan’s teaching philosophy is based upon striving for musical excellence in performance as well as the education of the whole student through an embodied approach to teaching. Through this approach, music performance becomes so much more than just an intellectual appreciation of master works, but a re-examination of “music” as a vehicle for self and group meaning-making. Student engagement is increased through linking conceptual images of past experiences (physical and non-physical) with expressive musical qualities in the music being performed. As well, students become active participants in the decision-making process surrounding the subtle details of their artistic response, while the music director still holds overall artistic license of the music to be played.

Since 1997, he has conducted his award-winning ensembles in various locations throughout the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, China, the United States, and Canada. His ensembles have performed in such notable venues as Carnegie Hall, New York, USA, and Santa Maria della Pieta (Vivaldi’s Church) in Venice, Italy. As an active music educator, he has worked for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to edit and draft curriculum for their VSO Connects (Secondary) program, chaired the BC Music Educator’s Association’s Conference Pulse 2006, and currently sits as a board member of the Chamber Music in the Schools Society, BC Band Association, and the Vancouver School Music Teachers’ Association.
Dennis Esson, Vancouver, BC (Jazz Bands)

Since moving to Vancouver in 1980, Dennis Esson has established himself as a highly respected and sought-after trombonist for a wide variety of musical endeavors.

As a jazz musician Dennis has recorded numerous CBC sessions as a featured soloist. He is also the lead trombonist with groups such as the “Vancouver Ensemble of Improvisation (VEJI)”, “Orquesta Goma Dura”, “Jill Townsend Big Band”, “Hard Rubber Orchestra” and the “Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra”. Some of the musicians he has performed with include Kenny Wheeler, Phil Woods, Eddie Daniels, Marvin Stamm, David Foster, Maynard Ferguson, Natalie Cole, Clark Terry, Bud Shank, and Phil Nimmons. He has appeared and performed at all of the major jazz festivals across Canada.

In addition, Dennis was the recipient in 1993 of a Canada Council of the Arts “B” grant to study jazz trombone in New York where he studied with Conrad Herwig, Steve Turre, Benny Powell and Slide Hampton. More recently he resumed his studies and completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Orchestral Performance from the University of British Columbia.

As a music educator Dennis has been the Jazz Trombone instructor at Capilano College since 1997 and has been the director of the UBC Jazz Ensemble 2 since 2000. He has been on the faculty of the Courtney Youth Music Center since 2000 and prior to that time he was on the faculty of the Okanagan Summer School of the Arts from 1984-1999.

As an adjudicator Dennis has appeared at many festivals throughout B.C. and western Canada including Kelowna, Edmonton, Whistler, Surrey, Burnaby, and Vancouver. He has also performed clinics and master classes at universities, colleges, and secondary schools throughout Canada.

Dennis has also recorded music for movies, commercials, soundtracks and cartoons in addition to albums with many pop and rock groups such as Stephen Fearing, The Paperboys, Buddy Miles, The Salteens, Veda Hille and others. He has also been in the pit orchestras for Broadway shows such as A Chorus Line, The Full Monty, and 42nd Street.

Dennis is a Yamaha trombone artist and performs and records on the YSL697Z trombone.
Campbell Ryga, Surrey, BC (Jazz Bands)

Campbell Ryga (saxophonist, composer, clinician) was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the son of famed Canadian playwright George Ryga and a jazz-loving mother whose extensive record collection influenced Campbell at a very young age. He grew up in Summerland, British Columbia where the family moved in 1963, and lived and studied there until moving to Vancouver to enroll in the music program at Capilano College. He stayed in Vancouver, where he had quickly become an important part of the music scene, until 1989 when he moved to Toronto.

His career soared on the Toronto scene where Moe Koffman began to headline Ryga frequently at George’s Spaghetti House, and he played with nearly everyone from the Hemisphere New Music Ensemble to Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass. In 1993, he received a Canada Council grant to study in New York with George Coleman for a year and moved back to the West Coast permanently in 1996.

Campbell Ryga has toured extensively internationally and across Canada, mostly with the Hugh Fraser Quintet, of which he is a founding member. He has performed frequently at the Havana (Cuba) International Jazz Festival and has had a number of week-long engagements at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, England.

He has contributed to nearly sixty jazz recordings, including his own releases, and continues to be one of the key players on the thriving West Coast jazz scene. He has received a Grammy nomination and numerous awards, including three Junos and two Western Canadian Music Awards.

Campbell Ryga is also a respected jazz educator who had taught at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley and in the Jazz Performance degree program at Capilano College. He was accorded the prestigious Wall of Fame honor from the British Columbia Secondary School District for excellence in the education field.
Sandra Meister, Vancouver, BC (Choirs)

For more than three decades, Sandra Meister has been a leader in music education in British Columbia.

During her twenty years as director of Die Meistersinger Children’s Choir, Sandra and the choristers served as musical ambassadors at festivals and conferences in North America and Europe. A highlight of the Meistersinger years was singing for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in honour of the opening of the University of Northern British Columbia.

Sandra’s work has been acknowledged with many awards including the Governor General’s Medal for outstanding service to arts and culture in Canada, the British Columbia Music Educators Association Professional Educator Award, and the British Columbia Choral Federation’s Willan Award.

Sandra has enjoyed providing choral leadership in many communities in North America and abroad (Germany, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and China) as a guest conductor, facilitator, and adjudicator.

Sandra has served as music teacher, district curriculum co-ordinator and principal in fourteen schools in three school districts. In June of 2018, Sandra retired from being a School Principal in Coquitlam and is now devoting her life to doing what she loves most – sharing the choral art.