Congratulations to all involved in the 2019 Southeastern Manitoba Festival.  Our 2019 festival was exciting and successful! The 2019 Provincial Festival is May 24 to 26.  We want to wish our competitors and participants in the Provincial Festival well.

adjudicators for the 2019 southeastern manitoba festival

vocal: millie hildebrand

Millie Hildebrand is delighted to “come home” to the Southeast Music Festival. She has warm memories of her involvement in this region, having lived and taught in Steinbach for 32 years.

Millie’s love for music and the choral arts was launched on the family farm at Oak Lake, Manitoba, where singing was a daily affair and where piano and guitars were always within reach. She and her four sisters soon formed an ensemble, and they sing together to this day. Now familiar to the music community as a teacher, choral director, voice instructor and festival adjudicator, Millie has taught classroom and choral music at all levels and has been active in implementing programs for young musicians throughout the province. These have included collaborations with the University of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the International Peace Gardens Music Camps, regional and provincial honour choirs, numerous choir tours, many musicals and a two-year teaching post in Bucharest, Romania. Going back “a few years”, Millie’s performance history includes productions with Manitoba Opera, Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, and Canzona, to name a few. She recently completed her seventh year as director of the Faith and Life Women’s Chorus, and is often seen sharing the podium with husband Ed, with whom she co-conducted the U of M Concert Choir for four years.

Millie is past president of the Manitoba Choral Association, sits on the board of the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg, and has enjoyed her work as Faculty Advisor with the U of M through the past decade. She looks forward to directing the Provincial Honour Choir in February as well as adjudicating more festivals in this spring season. When away from their music posts, Millie and Ed occupy themselves with family, their garden, and their travel “bucket list”.

musical theatre: chelsea chimilar

Known for her versatility on both opera and musical theatre stages, Chelsea’s repertoire spans the gamut from baroque chamber music to Broadway musicals. Chelsea holds Master’s Degrees in Musical Theatre/Opera Performance and Vocal Performance Pedagogy from Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Through her pedagogy studies with Christina Kang, one of the leading voice specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Chelsea has developed an in-depth approach to the psychological and physiological workings of the vocal mechanism. While in Arizona, Chelsea enjoyed performing with the Phoenix Symphony and several Broadway stars including Jodi Benson, Donna McKechnie, and Doug LaBrecque in a Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, and Stephen Schwartz in the Stephen Schwartz Blockbuster Broadway VIP events and concerts. Chelsea also performed as the Alto Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the South Mountain Community College Orchestra and accomplished soprano, Dr. Isola Jones. As well as teaching voice lessons, Chelsea frequently performed musical theatre and opera roles with Lyric Opera Theatre. Select favorite roles include “April” in Company (awarded first place for the American Prize in Musical Theatre Competition 2016/17), “First Witch” in Dido and Aeneas, “Gina” in Smile, and “Ms. Harcourt” in Anything Goes. Chelsea also assistant directed Lyric Opera Theatre’s main stage productions of H.M.S. Pinafore and The Magic Flute, which both received Arizoni Awards for Best Director and Musical Direction, with The Magic Flute winning Best Overall Production for the 2016/17 season. Upon her return to Winnipeg, Chelsea joined the Brandon University School of Music faculty as a sessional instructor, where she taught Music History and served as stage director for the Music Theatre Production program. While in Brandon, she provided vocal master class sessions to undergraduate students and private voice lessons through the Eckhardt-Gramatté Conservatory of Music. Chelsea’s experience in audition training, advanced expression and interpretation, Broadway/Opera scenes, and vocal pedagogy, has helped her develop a well-rounded approach to the needs of the singing artist. Recent local performances include the Health Sciences Centre Foundation “Bringing Hope to Life” Event, the University of Manitoba 2018 IDEA Gala honoring Arianna Huffington, and the 2018 Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival Concert Series. Currently, Chelsea is a faculty member of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts, and a private instructor at JKW Voice Studio in Winnipeg, MB.  

speech/theatre arts: tom soares

Tom Soares is a professional actor, voice and speech coach and theatre educator. He has worked as a performer or coach for most of Winnipeg’s regional theatres (including the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Rainbow Stage, Shakespeare in the Ruins, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre and Dry Cold Productions) and has also worked in film. He earned his Masters in Fine Arts in Acting with a further specialization in voice and speech from York University in 2011. He has recently been certified in The Expressive Actor Technique which integrates acting, movement and voice training. For the past eight years, he has taught courses on voice, speech and performance at the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film. Privately he offers courses and workshops on voice, acting, Shakespeare and public speaking.   

junior piano: eleanor epp

Eleanor Epp grew up in Manitoba and studied piano in Brandon with the late Anna Hughes. After graduating as a Registered Nurse in Winnipeg, she and her husband moved to Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan. As a mother of four young children who needed a piano teacher, Eleanor completed her ARCT in Piano Performance under the guidance of Carol Riediger and the ARCT Teacher’s diploma with Marilyn Harrison. Her professional development includes a year of Pedagogy with Kathleen Lorenz-Gable, organ lessons and participation in various workshops including the E-Gre Piano Summer Session at Brandon University.

Eleanor has been associated with music festivals for many years, first as a competitor herself, then entering many of her own students, many going on to Provincial and National competitions. She has held the position of entry secretary and program coordinator for her own local festival; was a Director on the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association Board for two 3-year terms and, is presently a member of the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers Association, the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers, and the Associated Manitoba Arts Festivals.

Mrs. Epp and her husband live in the country near Brandon, Manitoba. She teaches all levels of piano and theory, currently teaching at the E-Gre Conservatory of Brandon University as well as maintaining a small studio from her home in the Minnedosa area and is active in her local RMT Assoc. in Brandon. She serves as a pianist in her church and accompanies local choirs, instrumentalists and vocalists.

strings/instrumental: oleg pokhanovski

Oleg Pokhanovski is a top prizewinner of eight prestigious international violin competitions including the Paganini in Genova, Sarasate in Pamplona and CIEM in Geneva among others, and was First Prize Winner of the 1990 Scheveningen

International Violin Competition. He is also a twice recipient of the prestigious Canada Council National Career Development Grant, as well as a multiple recipient of Conceil des Arts du Quebec and Manitoba Arts Council Grants.

Pokhanovski has performed in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Israel and Russia, giving over 2000 concerts in total. He has been presented in the Carnegie Recital Hall, the Grand Hall in Moscow, the Concertgebouw, Knight Hall in Prague, Place des Arts in Montréal and others. His solo appearances with orchestra included the Moscow Philharmonic, Moscow Virtuosi, The Hague Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Montréal Symphony and Winnipeg Symphony orchestras. His concerts brought rave reviews

claiming him “Russian Paganini” and describing his playing as “brilliant”, “phenomenal”, “outstanding”, and “extraordinary”. He has also been invited to perform on national television and radio in Russia, Serbia, Poland, Canada and the Netherlands.

Mr. Pokhanovski is active as a chamber musician and has appeared in the International Virtuosi Series in Germany, International Music Academy in Kiev, Ukraine, Domaine Forget in Quebec, Centara New Music, Agassiz Summer Chamber Music, Orford and Pender Harbour Music festivals in Canada. He is a Founder and Artistic Director of the “Oleg and Friends” concert series in Winnipeg.

Dr. Pokhanovski is also in much demand as a pedagogue and presently holds the position of Professor of Violin at the University of Manitoba. He adjudicates music festivals all across Canada, both strings and piano categories.

He has recently formed the Desautels Piano Trio with colleagues Minna Rose Chung (cello) and Judy Kehler-Siebert (piano). The Trio has to date already performed in Canada and abroad.

Oleg Pokhanovski made over 200 virtuosic transcriptions for violin and piano, as well as other instruments. Many of them can be heard on his CDs: The Mirror Image and La Valse. He continues to make new transcriptions and performs them with an international prizewinning pianist Scott Meek.

Pokhanovski’s deep admiration for the great musicians of the past, Heifetz, Hofmann, Rubinstein, Milstein, Kreisler and others is evident in his sensitive, passionate style of playing. “Pokhanovski’s high-energy performances are characterized by an unmistakeably genuine passion for the music. Urgent, serious and heartfelt – all words that aptly describe Oleg Pokhanovski’s playing” (Gwenda Nemerofsky, Winnipeg Free Press.)

guitar: richard tyborowski

Richard Tyborowski is a professor at the University of Manitoba, teaching classical music at the Desautels Faculty of Music. He also teaches private guitar lessons throughout the year to students of all ages and levels.

Richard completed his Masters Degree in Music Performance at the State University of Music in Wroclaw, Poland. After graduation, he studied with many highly recognized guitarists in Europe, including Costas Cotsiolis.

Richard is commonly known for his music video “Hora” by Stepan Rak, which appeared on Bravo TV and was a Western Music Awards Nomination.

Music critics across Canada and internationally have praised Richard’s first album titled “Romantico”. It was singled out for its excellence on the CBC program “Sound Advice”. Richard’s second album “Homage a Chopin” has been described as a “magnificent recording”. His next album known as “Pearls and Yarn” (April 2005) has been awarded five stars by the Winnipeg Free Press. Richard’s fourth album called “Safard” received a Juno Nomination.

Richard has performed numerously in Canada and Europe. He is frequently heard on CBC radio and on various classical music stations in the US. Sid Robinovitch has dedicated solo and chamber music compositions to him, including his only guitar concerto “Ports of Call” (premiered in May 2005 in Belgrade). The newest recording with double bass Nenat Zdjelar called “Memories” is a collection of both musician’s compositions.

Richard Tyborowski is the author of a comprehensive guitar method for school guitar programs titled Walking in Harmony. He was also featured on the Master Anthology of New Classic Guitar Solos, Volume 1 – Mel Bay Publications, Inc. He has composed and performed music for the movie The Healing of Heather Garden.

 Richard Tyborowski is the past President of Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society 2002-2015, and the Winnipeg Music Academy (providing music lessons for underprivileged students 2002-2004).

Richard looks forward to continuing the growth and development of his students. He wants to ensure they reach their full potential and become aspiring guitarists.   

choral: janet brenneman

Janet Brenneman is currently the Associate Professor of Music at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, where she conducts the CMU Chamber Choir, CMU Singers and the CMU Women’s Chorus. Ms. Brenneman also teaches music education and currently serves as Dean of the School of Music at CMU.  She is originally from Ontario and holds Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Music Education from the University of Toronto. She has received numerous awards and has been recognized for her work in music education in both Canada and the United States.  After moving to Manitoba in 2000, Ms. Brenneman continues to influence the music world by being named the Artistic Director of Renaissance Voices, serving on the Board of the Winnipeg Singers and on the Council of the Manitoba Music Teachers Association. Janet enjoys a busy family life with her husband and their 2 daughters. When not on the podium or in the classroom, Janet can be found on the side-lines of the soccer pitch, the swimming pool or the recital hall enthusiastically supporting her favourite young athletes and musicians. 

senior piano: chris kayler

Christopher Kayler is an assistant professor of music at Briercrest College, where he teaches private piano lessons, music history, jazz and classical theory, lyric diction, keyboard improvisation, instrumental and choral arranging, and conducts the Briercrest Orchestra. He collaborates regularly with Briercrest’s vocal and instrumental faculty, as well as with other soloists throughout the Prairies, performing at Brandon University, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the University of Manitoba. He completed his DMA in piano accompanying and chamber music at the world-renowned Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester) under the tutelage of Dr. Jean Barr, with additional studies in vocal coaching and performance practice. An accomplished performer, he was awarded 1st prize and the Ann C. Fehn Memorial award in the 2017 Jessie Kneisel Lieder competition, which was judged by the internationally renowned pianist-scholar Graham Johnson. While at Eastman, he received an Excellence in Accompanying award, and held graduate assistantships in opera coaching, studio accompanying, and as a teacher’s assistant. He has participated in numerous prestigious summer music programs, including the Vancouver International Song Institute, SongFest (Los Angeles), and the Franz Schubert Institut (Baden bei Wien, Austria). His academic awards include Eastman’s Jerald C. Graue Fellowship for excellence in musicology and a Graduate Fellowship at the University of Manitoba, fully funding his Master’s degree. During his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Manitoba, he won the Gold Medal for the highest overall graduating GPA in music, 1st prize in the Lawrence Genser Competition for best overall soloist, and the annual Concerto Competition, allowing him to perform with the University of Manitoba’s Wind Ensemble and Orchestra. His interests include reading, cooking, and exercise, each of which he enjoys with his wife, Heather, as they live in Caron, Saskatchewan.

dance: elizabeth rotoff

Elizabeth Rotoff has performed across Canada and in England in opera, musical theatre and recital.  She has had leading roles in the operas Carmen, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Tales of Hoffman, La Clemenza di Tito, Cosi fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, Hansel and Gretel, The Medium and many more.  In Winnipeg, she has performed as a soloist with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir and Women of Note and has appeared in roles with the Little Opera Company.
The Edmonton Sun stated that her performance was riveting and that she has a haunting mezzo voice.  The Bognor Regis Observer (England) reported, “The range of her powerful voice, coupled with an obvious deep understanding of the poetry made a memorable experience for the appreciative audience.”  Opera Today said of her performance in Lennox Berkley’s A Dinner Engagement, “She was brilliantly haughty and convincingly statuesque”.
With over 20 years of experience, Elizabeth currently teaches voice to the next generation of young singers who consistently perform well in exams, music festivals and other competitions.  Many of her students have gone on to study voice at the university level in the disciplines of classical music, musical theatre and jazz.  She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Manitoba Registered Music Teacher’s Association.  She has also had over 20 years experience in teaching beginner to early intermediate piano and music theory rudiments.  She is also an active adjudicator and clinician.
Embracing the concept that a health body leads to a health voice, Elizabeth is a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach and founder of The Fit Singer. Her Empowered Singer health and wellness program has brought her into collaboration with Resonanz Opera Singing Artists program in Cleveland, Ohio. She is also featured in the book Just One Voice, a guide to vocal sustainability and injury prevention.

dance: nicolette rieger

Nicolette is a graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division and was the 1992 recipient of the Prince Edward Award recognizing a Senior Level Ballet Student of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division who shows exceptional commitment, dedication and achievement in dance studies. 
Throughout her training with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet she was privileged enough to be able to perform with the RWB Company in cross Canada tours including Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty and The Dream.
For her Level 7 performance she danced the role of Beauty in the Professional Division’s production of Beauty and The Beast. 
Following her RWB training, Nicolette headed down to NYC to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy to enhance her performing skills and branch out into Musical Theatre. 
Upon successful completion of this program Nicolette headed back home to Winnipeg and has performed with Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Winnipeg Fringe Festival as well as dancing and choreographing with Prairie Dancers. 
Another life and career enriching experience for Nicolette was being hired as a part of the creative team as an Assistant Choreographer for the 1999 Pan American Games hosted in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
When Nicolette isn’t in the studio she can either be found touring with KOBA Entertainment or on movie sets in various departments. 
Outside of the Performing Arts, Nicolette is a Reiki Master and has Advanced placement in both ThetaHealing and Integrated Energy Therapy healing modalities.

dance: romeo suban

Romeo Suban has been a professional dance educator, choreographer, director, producer and adjudicator for over 12 years. He holds a Bachelors of Education degree in Kinesiology and Theatre from the University of Winnipeg. Romeo has trained in many studios locally and abroad. He has had the honour of performing for her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, opening up for the America’s Best Dance Crew Tours and We Day Manitoba. Romeo’s professional career started when he appeared for Rainbow Stage’s production of the “King and I” and “Miss Saigon”. He is also one of the founders of Un1te Dance Company where he organized the annual In The Zone Hip Hop dance competition. Today, Romeo teaches the dance program at St. John’s High School. Romeo is excited to be part of the 2019 Southeastern Manitoba Festival! Thank you to all the wonderful staff for this opportunity to support our performers towards excellence.