St. Albert Rotary Music Festival

2019 Adjudicators

SENIOR PIANO Dr. Yoana Kyurkchieva  |  Edmonton, AB
JUNIOR & PREPARATORY PIANO Eric Nyland  |  Calgary, AB
MUSICAL THEATRE Ron Long  |  Edmonton, AB
VOCAL Dr. Tara Laberge  |  Calgary, AB
BAND & BRASS / WOODWIND   Glen Gillis  |  Saskatoon, SK
PERCUSSION Bob Bailey | Camrose, AB
CHORAL & SCHOOL CHORAL Gaye-Lynn Kern  |  Saskatoon, SK
MUSIC COMPOSITION Han Ding  |  Calgary, AB
GUITAR Ernst Birss |  Edmonton, AB  
FIDDLE Donna Turk  |  Forget, SK
LYLE MOORE SCHOLARSHIP CLASS Dr. Yoana Kyurkchieva  |  Piano
Ron Long  |  Vocal / Musical Theatre
Shee Ling  | Strings                                

Dr. Yoana Kyurkchieva  
Senior Piano
Lyle Moore Scholarship Class

A native of Bulgaria and also a Canadian citizen, Dr. Yoana Kyurkchieva has enjoyed a dynamic musical career as a concert pianist, accompanist, adjudicator, and teacher.

Her solo and chamber music appearances include performances throughout Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Germany, Holland, Greece, Russia, the United States and Canada. She has participated in master classes under renowned pedagogues such as Bozhidar Noev, Tamara Poddubnaya, Jania Aubakirova, Lazar Berman, Boris Bloch, and Menahem Pressler.

Yoana holds a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance, Chamber Music, Piano-Collaboration, and Pedagogy from the National Music Academy in Sofia (Bulgaria). She won a merit scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (United States) and earned her second Master of Music degree and the Postgraduate Professional Artist Certificate. Yoana has also won F.S. Chia Doctoral scholarship to attend the University of Alberta in Edmonton (Canada), and recently earned Doctor of Music degree. Her principal teachers include Professors Atanas Kurtev, Eric Larsen, and Jacques Després.

Yoana is the recipient of prestigious piano competitions and scholarships worldwide including First Prize and the Edmonton Chamber Music Society in Edmonton; First Prize at the MTNA State Steinway Competition in Young Artist Piano, NC; First Prize at the Academy Chamber Music Competition in Bulgaria; Second Prize at the Long Island Conservatory in NYC; Third Prize at “The Seiler,” Competition in Bulgaria; First Prize at the Competition for French Music in Bulgaria; and Second Prize at the International Competition “Carl Filtch” in Romania.

Currently Dr. Kyurkchieva is a certified piano teacher from The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). She is maintaining full piano studio in Edmonton where she teaches students of all ages. Her students have received first class honors and medals in RCM exams, and have been also recognized through awards and scholarships at the local and provincial music festivals, competitions, and master classes across Canada and the United States.

Eric Nyland
Junior & Preparatory Piano

A pianist and professional actor, Eric Nyland holds Associate and Licentiate Performance Diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music, is a Registered Music Teacher with RCM Advanced Teacher Specialization, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Alberta.

He has performed throughout Western Canada as an actor for theatre, film, and voiceover, and has held solo concerts in Edmonton and Calgary, performing through the National Music Centre’s Street Sounds series and the Pro Arts Society. In 2015 Eric appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto for the inaugural concert of the Calgary Arts Orchestra. He is the 2013 winner of the Jack Friedenberg Memorial Scholarship for pianists.

Eric is the musical director for the theatre improvisation company The Kinkonauts and for the long-form theatre improvisation duo One Lions, as well as serving as accompanist for instrumentalists and singers. Eric is an active festival adjudicator in high demand.

Eric has developed two courses for the Conservatory at Mount Royal University called Introductory Keyboard for Adults: Play-by-Ear/Improvisation, and Reading Standard Notation. 

In 2015 Eric was a nominee for Outstanding Actor in a Play for the Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards for his work in the world premiere of Butcher by Governor-General Award-winning playwright Nicolas Billon. In 2016 Eric served as a lead actor, pianist, and composer for Station Arts Centre's production of Armin Wiebe's The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz.

Recently, Eric studied with Dr. Irena Kofman in Italy at the Cremona International Music Academy.

Ron Long
Musical Theatre
Lyle Moore Scholarship Class

Ron Long completed a Master of Music in Opera and Music Theatre from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He has performed such roles as Albin/Zaza in La Cage Aux Folles, Beadle Bamford and Anthony in Sweeney Todd, First Officer Murdoch in Titanic the Musical, Papageno in The Magic Flute, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mars in Orphée Aux Enfer, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas as well as comprimario roles for recent productions of Edmonton Opera including Aida and Salome. Ron also sang the role of Raoul de St. Brioche in Edmonton Opera's production of the Merry Widow.

Ron is a member of the musical comedy group Il Duo which has performed throughout Western Canada. Recordings can be found on iTunes.

He has been soloist in various recitals including CBC’s Wednesdays at Winspear concert series which was recorded for CBC Radio 2. Ron is a Certified Master Teacher (CMT) in Estill Voice. He is also a certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher. He has taught at MacEwan Univeristy's Theatre Arts Program and is currently a private voice instructor at MacEwan Conservatory of Music at Alberta College Campus.

Dr. Tara Marlena Laberge

Dr. Tara Marlena Laberge has a multi-disciplinary career that spans opera, oratorio, musical theatre, theatre and collaborative creation.

As a soprano soloist, Dr. Laberge has performed with the Calgary Festival Chorus, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Calgary Youth Orchestra, and in countless recitals, specializing in music of the 20th century.

Operatic roles include Antonia (Tales of Hoffman), Nella (Gianni Schicci), Polly (The Beggar's Opera), and Delphinia (Babes in Toyland).

Equally at home in theatre and musical theatre, Dr. Laberge’s leading roles include Helena (To Dream Again), Susan (Company), Joy Davidman (Shadowlands), Mother (A Christmas Story – The Musical), Inez (No Exit), Martha/Woman (Wanda’s Visit/’Dentity Crisis), Melissa (The Savannah Disputation), Anna (The King and I), Elsa/Maria u/s (The Sound of Music), and Julie (Carousel).

She has also worked on a number of interdisciplinary creation projects as a founding member of Opera BOB and Theatre Lyra, and as a roster singer with Cowtown Opera.

Dr. Laberge was raised in Calgary, Alberta, earning a Bachelor of Music Performance with Distinction from the University of Victoria, and both her Master's and Doctoral degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota. She has held faculty positions with Rocky Mountain College, Mount Royal University, the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts, and Storybook Theatre.

Dr. Laberge is currently living in Calgary, Alberta. She manages a thriving private voice studio, and is a proud member of the Arts at Ambrose faculty at Ambrose University.

Glen Gillis

Band &
Brass / Woodwind

Glen Gillis, Professor of Music, conducts the Concert Band and Saxophone Ensemble, and teaches saxophone, conducting, and music education courses at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Dr. Gillis has remained active as a clinician and adjudicator for solo/ensemble festivals and workshops in Canada and the U.S. as well as guest conducting professional and honour ensembles. From 2001-2010 he directed the U of S Wind Orchestra and released three commercial CDs in 2005, 2007, and 2009. In 2006, the Wind Orchestra presented a performance/clinic at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio. In 2004 he created the Band Directors Professional Development and the High School Select Wind Orchestra. In 2005 he created the North Saskatchewan Wind Symphony, a community ensemble comprised of some of the finest wind and percussion players from Saskatoon and the surrounding area.

As an educator and scholar, he has written many articles that appear in the Canadian Music Educator and Canadian Winds on the subjects of conducting, woodwind pedagogy, and music education. He has contributed to The Encyclopaedia of Music in Canada, Teaching Music through Performance in Band, and Teaching Music through Performance in Middle School Band. As well, he has presented research papers or clinics at several international music conferences such as the Midwest Clinic, WASBE, CBDNA, TMEA, and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology.

Dr. Gillis is a Conn-Selmer Artist/Clinician and continues to maintain an active schedule in saxophone performance having performed in North America, Europe, and China. He has performed at numerous international music conferences (World Saxophone Congresses, North American Saxophone Alliance Conferences, and the Saxophone Symposium). He has matriculated many saxophone students at the high school and college level who have received provincial and national awards.

As a member of SOCAN, his diverse performance career and musical experience has spanned over three decades in the realms of classical and jazz, with many published compositions for saxophone, and band through Eighth Note Publications (distributed by Alfred Music). He released SaxSpectrum (2009) and SaxSpectrum 2 (2014) through the MSR Classics label performing and displaying many of his compositions and commissioned works, all world premiere recordings.

International music magazines such as Fanfare, American Music Guide, BBC Music Magazine, and Gramophone gave strong reviews of his CDs. SaxSpectrum 2 also received a nomination for the 2015 Instrumental Recording of the Year from the Western Canadian Music Awards.

Bob Bailey

Bob Bailey has taught all levels of school band for 37 years; the last 30 of which have been in his hometown of Camrose, where he maintains a thriving school music program of 550 students. His program includes concert bands at each grade level as well as choral, jazz, and chamber ensembles. Under his baton, Bailey’s bands consistently earn Superior awards and high accolades.

Bob has frequently been a guest conductor and clinician, most notably at Sifton Summerfest, Grande Prairie Regional College Summer Band Camp, Adventures in Summer Music, and MusiCamp Alberta.  In 2005, Bob was invited by the Alberta Band Association to conduct the Southern Alberta Junior High Honour Band.

He was co-recipient of the inaugural University of Alberta (Augustana) Fine Arts Achievement Award, and received an Excellence in Teaching Award early in his career.

Bob was named the Canadian Band Association, Alberta Chapter (Elkhorn) Band Director of the Year in 2015. He is a member of the Alberta Choral Federation, the International Bandmasters Fraternity Phi Beta Mu, and the Alberta Band Association, having served on the ABA Board of Directors for several terms. He has also served as President of the Camrose and District Music Festival Association, and Camrose and District Community Band.

Bob plays trumpet in various ensembles in his free time – the Battle River Big Band, the Simply Brass Quintet, and the Camrose and District Community Band, where he occasionally fills in as director. He enjoys movies, books, golfing, and spending time with his wife and daughters, who are also musicians.

Gaye-Lynn Kern
Choral & School Choral

Gaye-Lynn Kern is a performer, teacher and clinician. Her areas of specialization are Voice, 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 28 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 Johnson’s).

Her 34 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 160 music festivals in Western Canada since 1990. She is the past president of the Saskatoon Music Festival and the  provincial representative for the CMFAA.

Twelve of her 38 years of Vocal Pedagogy have been at universities and colleges where she has taught for both music and drama departments. 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 89 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 also 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, artist Gordon Grant and three cats; Magnolia, Charlotte and Flynn.

Han Ding
Music Composition

Han Ding  is a pianist and composer whose work has included solo and chamber performances and original instrumental compositions. His recent performances have included two concerts with the Symphony of the Kootenays as a soloist playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1, a concert with Timepoint Ensemble, and a solo recital of music from medieval to modern eras.

Han participated in the national CMC Stepping Stone competition, the CMC Finals as a pianist and harpsichordist, and the RBC Concerto Competition with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

For Canada's 150th, Han was one of eight composers commissioned by ARMTA for pieces based on Canadian folk songs, with the works published by Palliser. His chamber pieces have been heard at Calgary’s ARMTA Composer Showcase and at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.

Recently he worked with students at Dodge Film School, providing music for a short film, and he is currently writing a commissioned piece for the Netherlands-based clarinet duo The Küffner Gals.

Han holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance, Licentiate and Associate piano diplomas, and a Bachelor of Arts in English. Han has taught piano for 15 years and is currently a piano instructor at Mount Royal University Conservatory.

Ernst Birss


Ernst Birss is a classical guitarist and guitar teacher based in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a first prize winner in the Northwest Guitar Competition, an annual event open to classical guitarists from Western Canada and the American Pacific Northwest. He was also a performer in the 20th annual Christopher Parkening Masterclass in Bozeman, Montana, and was one of the students chosen to play in the masterclass recital at Reynolds Hall.

In Edmonton Ernst Birss has performed on the McDougall Music Wednesdays at Noon series, the Sunday music series at Holy Trinity Anglican Church and on the Edmonton Classical Guitar Society’s main series (the last two in duo concerts with Trevor Sanders). In 2002 he was invited to give the annual "Alberta Showcase" concert for the Classical Guitar Society of Calgary, and in 2004 was featured on the Wednesdays@Winspear series in a guitar trio concert with Trevor Sanders and David Grainger Brown that was later broadcast on the CBC Radio program Our Music. Later the trio were the invited guests at the Northwest Guitar Festival in Calgary and appeared on the St. Albert Chamber Music Recital Series.

In recent years Ernst has worked extensively with singer Merrill Tanner. Ernst and Merrill gave their premiere recital at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in February 2006, and have since performed for various concert series and festivals, including the Acquired Taste concert series, the Music Wednesdays at Noon series, the Arts Jasper series in Jasper, Alberta, the Water Valley Celtic Festival, and the concert series at the Shurniak Gallery in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. In 2013 they were heard on the St. Albert Chamber Music Recital Series, and in November 2015 performed in the Edmonton Classical Guitar Society's 20th Anniversary Concert.

Erns Birss has been president and vice-president of the Edmonton Classical Guitar Society.

Donna Turk

Donna Turk lives in Forget, SK where she runs a music studio with her husband. Before moving to Forget she lived and taught in Calgary, Alberta. 

Donna started playing the violin at the age of four and at 11 became a member of the world-renowned Calgary Fiddlers. This is where her love for fiddling began.

After high school Donna moved to Ontario where she studied Violin Performance at the University of Western Ontario. 

Donna has been teaching both fiddling and classical violin for over 25 years. She was the Artistic Director of the Bow Valley Fiddlers, the educational program of the Calgary Fiddlers Association from 1997-2014. She recorded her first CD, About Tyme  in 2012 and published a music book to go with it.

This year she started a performance group with Jacqueline Walbaum called Focal Point. The emphasis is on vocal and fiddle together with kids aged 11 to 17.  Donna’s love of teaching and working with both children and adults are recognized nationally and she spends much of her time travelling to teach at workshops across Western Canada and NWT.