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Judges selected for Parkland Music Festival in Canora

The judges for the Parkland Music Festival which starts February 7 and concludes on the 12th in Canora have been selected.

The judges for the Parkland Music Festival which starts February 7 and concludes on the 12th in Canora have been selected. The final awards concert, which highlights some of the best performances of the festival, is scheduled for February 13, said Gillian Rice, corresponding secretary for the festival committee.

            “Everything is to take place at the Canora Composite School auditorium,” she said.

            During previous festivals, about 300 performers from the Preeceville, Sturgis, Kamsack and Canora areas come to participate, Rice said. However, the total number should be greater this year because band adjudication is also being offered.

            The festival is divided into four main categories, Rice said. “There are piano, voice, guitar and band sessions.”

            In 2014, the last time that Canora was the festival host, a highlight was the new grand piano, which had just been purchased, she said. The Parkland Music Festival committee was in charge of fundraising. The piano cost about $35,000.

            Though the festival committee purchased the seven-foot Knabe, it is stored at the Canora Composite School. Among the main community events in which it was used, were: recitals, school performances, Arts Council events and the annual Hospital Auxiliary Carol Festival.

            “The Music festival is currently held in Canora every second year with Preeceville taking a turn in between,” Rice said.

            Members of 2016 festival committee are: Teresa Korol, president; Gillian Rice, corresponding secretary: Alison Klutz and Lorelei Stusek, entry secretaries; Laura Lomenda, treasurer; Patti-Jo Donovan, Kelly Strelioff, April Makowsky, Tiffany Sharko, Sara Kozmanuik and Tricia Bedore, in charge of scholarships and patrons; Tracy Gulka, programs; Leanna Beblow and Lindsey Propp, adjudicator assistant co-ordinators; Leslie Gulka, housing; and Shalaine Kelly, prizes.

            The three adjudicators for the festival were recently announced: Kevin Ackerman, Douglas Virgil Riley and Laureen Kells.


            Kevin Ackerman completed his bachelor of arts degree (a music major with distinction) in 2012 from the University of Saskatchewan, with his principle instrument being the guitar.

            His degree path provided a wide variety of experience in performance, music history and theological education. He is a part-time guitar instructor teaching his students everything from  classical learning through to rock n’ roll.

            “Benefits of this learning prepares the students for music festivals, Royal Conservatory of Music practical and theory exams, and university auditions,” Ackerman said.

            He is a registered music teacher in Saskatchewan and is the president of the Watrous and District Music Festival. Ackerman has presented music related papers in New York, Vancouver, and Halifax.

            His academic endeavours do not stop with music education and adjudicating, according to his biography. He is a full-time instructor at Carlton Trail College in Humboldt, instructing the Fourth Class Power Engineering course. Following the completion of this course in May, Ackerman will instruct part-time at the Power Engineering Lab at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Main Campus.

            His guitar-flute duo which includes Michele Ackerman, performs province wide in diverse opportunities which include a convocation performance to a Sunday Afternoon in the Park scenario. Their performance pieces range from Mauro Giuliani guitar/flute duets to jazz standards. Together they are active church musicians performing liturgy and hymns. Michele has recently started performing with her Udu drum, which adds an extra element of rhythm accompaniment.


            Laureen Kells is a private and Music-for-Young-Children teacher in the East Central area of Saskatchewan. She holds a diploma in primary/elementary piano pedagogy and a licentiate in piano pedagogy from the Canadian National Conservatory of Music and a Level One Orff. She has recently joined the board of examiners of the Canadian National Conservatory of Music.

            Currently, Kells is the president of the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers Association and is also president of the newly-formed Saskatchewan Fiddle Connections which is an organization formed to promote and preserve traditional fiddle music in Saskatchewan.

            She is currently working on a Junior Fellowship in Piano Pedagogy with CNCM and is studying violin with Kate Gannon of Regina. During the early part of summer Laureen and her husband Hank are usually busy helping to run the Tuffnell Fiddle and Guitar Camp in Tuffnell.


            Douglas Virgil Riley began coaching professional singers more than 30 years ago, bringing this experience to now offer vocal instruction to most age levels in a variety of styles and genres from the Royal Conservatory repertoire, classical, opera, show tunes, art songs, jazz, blues, and country, to pop.

            He holds a masters of music degree and is a singer/actor who has directed and performed in operatic and music theatre roles throughout Canada. He has acted in more than 100 film, stage, television and musical theatre productions, and commercials while participating in various CD recordings.

            As a member of the Yorkton Community Theatre, Riley has starred in Hello Dolly (2001), as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (2004), as Buffalo Bill in Annie Get Your Gun (2005), and as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (2006). Memberships include ACTRA and Actor's Equality and is a co-creator of Parkland Performing Arts Academy (2012).

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