The Southeastern Manitoba Festival is pleased to announce our 2023 program is available on our website. You can view online or print it out as you like.
Originally from Grunthal Manitoba, Mezzo-soprano Melissa Wood has called Saskatchewan home for the past twenty years. A graduate of Briercrest College, Melissa received her B.A. In Music Performance: Voice under the tutelage of Dr. Ron de Jager. Since graduating, Melissa’s passion has been to teach and perform. She has starred in numerous productions encompassing musical theatre to opera. Some of her more recent performances include, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, the Duchess in The Gondoliers, Miss Todd in Old Maid and the Thief, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, The Mother Abbess in Sound of Music and Marilla in Anne of Green Gables.
In 2020 Melissa completed a Master of Music degree at the University of Regina. Her final Graduate recital featured the music of Canadian composers such as Beckwith, Somers, Ford, Greer, Archer and Forsyth. Melissa has taught at Briercrest College in Caronport SK for the past 17 years where she enjoys working with young singers and participating in their vocal development. She is the proud mother of three young children, Isabel, Hannah and Felix, who enjoy music just as much as she does.
Jacqueline discovered her passion for performance at age 12 on stage at the Winnipeg Music Festival. She is now thrilled to share her love of performance with a whole new generation of young artists at the Southeastern Manitoba Festival!
Jacqueline completed her Bachelor of Music Performance degree at the University of Manitoba, before travelling to Boston, MA, where she completed her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre Performance at The Boston Conservatory. Since returning to Winnipeg, Jacqueline has performed with local theatre companies Rainbow Stage, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Dry Cold Productions, Manitoba Opera, One Trunk Theatre, Winnipeg Studio Theatre, Pizza Party Productions & District Theatre Collective.
A passionate arts educator, Jacqueline has taught classes and workshops at the University of Winnipeg, the UW Collegiate, Rainbow Stage, the Manitoba Conservatory of Music & Arts, the Village Conservatory for Music Theatre and the Greater Boston Theatre Company Summer Festival. Since 2014, she has also maintained a private voice studio, teaching singing to musical theatre enthusiasts of all ages.
Jacqueline is currently the Associate Artistic Director at Rainbow Stage, a job where she gets to live and breathe the joy of musical theatre every day of the week.
Thank you to the Southeastern Manitoba Festival for having me and to all the students of the Festival for your hard work, passion and commitment! I look forward to hearing the musical stories that each of you have to share!
Tracey Regier Sawatzky
Tracey is currently a piano instructor at Canadian Mennonite University and the Community School of Music and the Arts. She has also been an avid piano and theory instructor over the last twenty years, maintaining large teaching studios in her home in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Illinois, Ohio, and Paraguay. She has also developed a career adjudicating, giving masterclasses and accompanying a variety of soloists and choirs. After winning the Saskatchewan Valley Rose Bowl as a young pianist, Tracey moved to Winnipeg to attend Canadian Mennonite Bible College where she received her Bachelors in Church Music, Piano Performance. She continued her piano studies in Waterloo, ON, receiving her Honours Bachelor of Music with High Distinction in Piano Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University. Tracey also studied vocal and instrumental accompanying in Waterloo, as well as piano pedagogy at the Beckett School of Music in Ontario. Tracey’s students have achieved top honours with the Royal Conservatory of Music in piano and theory examinations and have won at the Piano Concerto Competition held annually by the University of Manitoba Preparatory Studies.
Tracey is an active member of the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers Association, the Canadian Music Teacher’s Association, and is an active adjudicator with the Associated Manitoba Arts Festivals.
When Tracey is not teaching or accompanying, she spends her time traveling, gardening, and spending time with her husband, David, and daughter Mikayla.
Dr. Judy Kehler Siebert has connected powerfully with listeners in European concert halls, rural Canadian school gyms, Brazilian galleries, and venues from Lithuania to Mexico and Brazil to Alaska. Whether she’s performing as a solo pianist or chamber musician, whether she’s teaching, coaching or adjudicating, her goal is to be the best communicator possible, to speak the many languages of music with ease and immediacy, and to spark a connection with others. Her joy is to foster that same desire in her students.
Although Judy still performs as a soloist, her activity as a chamber musician is where her passion lives! She is a “collaborator” on every level and recently performs most frequently with colleagues Dr. Minna Rose Chung (cello) as the Nacka Duo, and with Dr. Oleg Pokhanovski (violin) joining them as the Desautels Piano Trio. Most recent tours have delighted audiences in Panama, England, Sweden, and Serbia.
In context of larger ensembles, she has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Winds Orchestra, and with the Asuncion Chamber Symphony Orchestra on her bi-annual Paraguay teaching visits. She has explored common ground between classical and jazz practices, performing with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra and the Oceanic Jazz Orchestra. As a soloist, past concerts include venues in Canada, USA, France, England, the Netherlands, Spain, Paraguay, Lithuania, Sweden, Serbia, Bosnia, and Italy. Throughout her career, she has been a tireless advocate for new work and adventurous musical configurations. From her early work with Quarks! – a trio of two saxophonists and piano – through a flurry of years premiering and recording new pieces at Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festivals, Judy champions music that is contemporary, relevant, and soulful. She has participated in world premieres of over twenty commissioned works, many of them recorded for CBC national radio broadcast, or for CD release.
Currently she is a Professor of Piano at the Desautels Faculty of Music (University of Manitoba) where she teaches solo piano, coordinates and coaches Chamber Music Ensembles, and teaches Collaborative Piano in the Master Program of the Collaborative Performance Degree which she co-developed with colleague, Dr. Laura Loewen.
Judy is unflagging in her efforts to support, nurture, and encourage students both within and without the Desautels Faculty. As the head of the Small Chamber Music Ensembles program, she works with students from all Bachelor of Music concentrations, ensemble coaches, and administrators to create collaborative opportunities that offer each student meaningful and robust participation in ensemble playing. Though paused during Covid, Judy continues her twenty-year association with Project Paraguay, involving biennial residencies to mentor students and teachers in four centres.
In February 2020, Judy and Laura developed and organized the inaugural Dream Big conference at the Desautels Faculty of Music, the first conference ever held for collaborative pianists in Canada.
Judy is deeply grateful and honors each of her influential musical mentors: Glenn Loewen, Elsie Rempel (Manitoba), Garth and Marjorie Beckett, Jean-Paul Sevilla (Ontario), Joan Davies, and Martino Tirimo (England).
She completed a Masters of Music in solo piano at the University of Toronto with mentor Marek Jablonski, and a doctoral graduate in Collaborative Piano of the Eastman School of Music mentored by Dr. Jean Barr (Rochester University, New York). She taught at six universities in Canada and the USA before returning to Manitoba to teach and perform.
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 is frequently invited to adjudicate music festivals internationally and all across Canada, both strings and piano categories.
Oleg is a member of the Desautels Piano Trio with colleagues Minna Rose Chung (cello) and Judy Kehler-Siebert (piano). The Trio has performed numerous concerts in Canada and abroad.
Oleg Pokhanovski made over 200 virtuosic transcriptions for violin and piano which he has been performing with the prize-winning pianist Scott Meek. The violin arrangements can be found on this site:
Many of them can be heard on his CDs: The Mirror Image and
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.)
There will be no Guitar Festival for 2023.
Described as “innovative, expressive, and dynamic,” Elroy Friesen is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Manitoba where he heads the graduate studies program in choral performance, conducts numerous choirs, and teaches graduate conducting.
His award-winning ensembles tour nationally and internationally, and are frequently recorded and broadcast by the CBC. They enjoy collaborating with many outstanding local and national arts organizations, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, WSO New Music Festival, Soundstreams Canada, Groundswell, Vancouver Chamber Choir, musica intima, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
Dr. Friesen studied at the University of Manitoba (B. Mus., B. Ed., M. Mus.) and at the University of Illinois (DMA), receiving numerous scholarships and grants from the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Foundation for Choral Music in Manitoba. He is the Co-Founder and past Co-Artistic director of Schooner Cove Singers (Parksville, BC), as well as past Artistic Director and founder of the Winnipeg-based youth choir, Prairie Voices. He is also co-founder of fikamusik: a choral conducting intensive based at the University of Manitoba, and has recently appeared as guest conductor with the Winnipeg Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestras. He is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and conductor throughout North America and Northern Europe.