Our 2023 Adjudicators
Please check back as we update our roster of adjudicators for CRMF 2023!
My name is Brian Asselin and I am a songwriter/saxophonist/arranger living in Ottawa, Canada. I write music that can be found in the Pop with a cross-over to R&B/Soul. I have been hugely influenced by Motown as I used to play with The Funk Brothers out of Detroit.
The world around me has always been my biggest muse when it comes to songwriting. I take situations in my life or the life of my friends and family and try my best to come up with the best soundtrack. My songwriting career started back in 2010 after graduating from teachers college. After my stint at the University of Ottawa, I co-wrote a song with a fantastic musician and friend - Eric Disero. The song 'You Have Made A Difference' has been played and performed around the world and has been featured on Diane Sawyers Late Night News. Since then I have been very busy writing enough material to release on my first EP which you can purchase through iTunes. The songs I tend to write are more or less in the pop music genre influenced by such great artists as James Taylor, Bruno Mars, Cee-Lo Green, and so many others. In 2013 I released a project entitled Delbert & The Commotions featuring Funk Brothers frontman Delbert Nelson. The album is a throwback to Motown and I am proud to say that two tunes from the album were placed on shows on HBO as well as ABC.
I am currently working on my third album with Commotions album featuring Rebecca Noelle, and Jeff Rogers which should be out this spring - please sign up for my newsletter for more information.
Isabelle Brassard-Porter has had a long musical career as a performer, conductor and educator. As a professional flutist and piccoloist, she had the chance to perform orchestral masterworks from the post romantic era for thirty-two seasons with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Brassard-Porter was the head of the instrumental music program at the Béatrice-Desloges High School Specialized Arts Program where she conducted numerous ensembles including the Béatrice-Desloges Senior Wind Orchestra which has won the highest honors at numerous festivals in Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2012, MusicFest Canada recognized Ms. Brassard-Porter with the Keith Mann Outstanding Director Award of Excellence. Over the course of her career, Isabelle has inspired countless young people to discover the joy and benefits of making music and is happy to continue this mission at MusicFest Canada .
Interprète, chef d'orchestre et éducatrice sont quelques-uns des rôles assumés par Isabelle Brassard-Porter au cours d'une longue carrière musicale. Flûtiste et piccoliste professionnelle, elle a eu la chance de jouer de grandes oeuvres post-romantiques avec l’Orchestre symphonique d’Ottawa pendant trente-deux saisons. Comme enseignante, Madame Brassard-Porter a été à la tête du programme de musique instrumentale au sein du Programme Spécialisé en Arts de l’École secondaire Béatrice-Desloges. À titre de chef d’orchestre, Isabelle a dirigé de nombreux ensembles dont l’Orchestre à vent senior Béatrice-Desloges qui a remporté les plus hauts honneurs à de nombreux festivals au Canada, aux États-Unis et en Europe. En 2012, MusicFest Canada a reconnu madame Brassard-Porter en lui décernant le prix d’excellence Keith Mann Outstanding Director Award. Au cours de sa carrière, Isabelle a inspiré d’innombrables jeunes à découvrir la joie et les bienfaits de faire de la musique et est heureuse de continuer cette mission à MusicFest Canada.
Petr Cancura is a saxophonist, mandolinist, composer, and producer. Born in the Czech Republic, Petr attended the New England Conservatory in Boston, which led to a 10-year residency in Brooklyn, New York. Now based in Ottawa, Petr was the 2015-16 Artist-In-Residence of Carleton University, and is the current Program Director of the Ottawa Jazz Festival and the Musical Director of the National Arts Center’s Crossroads Series, reimagining the songs of current Canadian Songwriters for an all-star jazz cast.
Petr’s Down Home was nominated for the 2015 Best Instrumental Album JUNO, and awarded the Independent Music Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year. He is set to release a new solo record this coming fall.
Petr has performed and recorded with Danilo Perez, Julian Lage, Bob Moses, Joe Morris, Richie Barshay, The Ghost Train Orchestra, Kathleen Edwards, The Mighty Popo, Matt Wilson, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen.
Awarded first prize in tuba and chamber music at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal, Alain Cazes pursued his studies in the United States with Joseph Novotny, Donald Harry and Ronald Bishop. In Brazil, he has been Principal tuba with the Paraïba State Orchestra, member of the Brass-IL Quintet, and professor at the Federal University of Paraïba (UFPB). He has taught at the Université du Québec in Montreal, the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal and the Université de Montréal, where he was in charge of Wind orchestras, brass department, teaching tuba, chamber music and conducting.
A frequent soloist, he has performed the radio "première" of several Canadian works for tuba and also lectures on orchestra conducting and brass pedagogy. He adjudicates regularly at several Music Festivals and Competitions in the ten Canadian provinces and internationally. He teaches during summer at the Orford Art Center, Domaine Forget, and the Simposio Internazionale d’Ottoni in Ascoli, Italy.
Principal tuba with the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal, he has also performed with the Montreal Symphony and many other orchestras in the world under the direction of conductors such as; Mehta, Nézet-Séguin, Dutoit, Decker, Baudo, Foster, Kmura, Muller, Toppilow, Grossmann, Zukerman, Veltri, De la Parra, and many others. He has
been co-director of the Orchestre Métropolitain Choir, has been Musical Director of the Montreal Pop Orchestra. He has also conducted the Orchestre Métropolitain and the Orchestre de Drumondville. Alain Cazes, a founding member of the Philharmonie des vents du Québec.
As a retired full time Professor at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, he was conductor of the Wind Orchestra, taught conducting and chamber music. He has written
numerous arrangements for a variety of instrumental ensembles published by GAM. He has also written numerous arrangements for wind orchestra and mixed choir. He is Vice-President of CIME music.
Recently retired as head of music at Collingwood Collegiate, Kevin Hamlin has been appointed to be Yamaha Music Canada's first Educator-in-Residence, providing workshops and clinics for high school music programs and bands throughout North America. Kevin was awarded the Keith Mann Outstanding Band Director in 2015, awarded to one teacher each year from across the country, chosen by MusicFest Canada. Kevin also presents regularly at numerous music conferences throughout Canada, provides workshops for school boards and universities, and adjudicates at Regional Festivals from Coast to Coast, as well as the MusicFest Canada National Festival. Kevin was also awarded the Collingwood Arts Award in 2015 as well as the Order of Collingwood in 2016.
Yves Laroche has worked since 1993 as music director and a jazz and classical piano teacher atthe Bells Corners Academy of Music in Ottawa, overseeing an intensive jazz ensemble program and a highly popular summer jazz camp. Yves studied with Dave Hildinger and Douglas Voice, among others. He is a performance instructor in jazz piano at Carleton University and has been apart-time faculty member at the School of Music at the University of Ottawa for over 25 years, teaching Elements of music, Arranging and Jazz Ensemble. He also appeared as guest performer at an alumni gala concert. Yves is music director of the convocation ceremonies at Saint Paul University. He received a Great Grant Award from the Trillium Foundation for his excellence in jazz education at the elementary school level. Yves Laroche helped establish jazz programming for Café Nostalgica and the Jazz Vespers Series at All-Saints Anglican Church in Westboro.
As well, he has adjudicated the jazz band categories for the Rhythms Festival and MusicFest. On three occasions, he has adjudicated amateur music grants for the City of Ottawa. Over more than two decades, Yves Laroche has performed at major events, including the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, the Tulip Festival, the Festival Franco-Ontarien and the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship. His television appearances include The Rita McNeil Show, Chez-Nous and The Morning Show. He also worked as an arranger for CBC Radio’s Ottawa In Concert featuring Vanessa London. Recently, his jazz composition “For Oscar” was aired on the CBCRadio jazz music program Tonic. Yves Laroche has performed with the Ewashko Singers, theCantata Singers of Ottawa, Capital Vox and the Orpheus Theatre Company, and he was musicaldirector and pianist for the National Art Centre production of Angel Square by Brian Doyle.
His vast musical theatre experience includes productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell and Once Upon A Mattress. As a jazz sideman, he plays regularly with the Pollcats, the Peter Liu Trio, the Rick Rangno Project and the Doug Martin Quartet. He regularly plays private engagements at the Embassade de France, Rideau Hall, the Rideau Club, the Chateau Laurier, and is featured at the Brookstreet Hotel, Zolas, The Apothecary Cocktail Lounge, Das Lokal, and The Montgomery Scotch Lounge. Yves is a 30-year member of the Ottawa-Gatineau Musicians’ Association Local 180.
Valerie London, a graduate of Oakwood College (USA) /University & Western University, was born in the beautiful country of Guyana, South America.
Valerie immigrated to Canada in 1974 to study music and education. As an educator, coach, conductor and Mentor, she has performed and worked with many vocal ensembles across Canada, and Guyana.
As an Aeolian alumni, Valerie developed skills in choral conducting, vocal delivery and developed the art of creating distinct and unique choral sounds. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of African American musical styles and cultural history.
For over 20 years, Valerie conducted the Heralds of Hope Chorale who were in the top four of the CBC National Choir competition in the late 90s.
She is a founding member of the London Trio Plus ensemble and enjoys arranging and sharing diverse musical styles. She is excited and humbled to be a part of the team of adjudicators to help influence musicians in their quest for excellence and delight to the soul.
Born and raised in Ottawa, saxophonist Dave Neill moved to Toronto in 1995 to pursue a jazz performance degree from the University of Toronto, where he studied with Alex Dean and Mike Murley.
Working as a performer, adjudicator and clinician, Dave is active on the freelance scene, including jobs with Johnny Mathis, Wayne Newton, Frankie Valli, Regis Philbin, Nikki Yanofsky, Kirk MacDonald JazzOrchestra and he appears on the recently released Alex Dean Big Band recording. Now a full-time professor at Humber College, Dave is the Academic Advisor and teaches a variety ofcourses, including Music Business. Furthermore, Dave plays a role mentoring the next generation of performers at the Youth Jazz Canada Summer Jazz Workshop.
Previously, he taught at the University of Toronto from 2004-2016, the Humber College Community Music School from 2000-2015 and the IMC Jazz Camp (2000-2018). Dave completed his Master’s in Jazz Performance at the University of Toronto, and has released two CDs as a leader. His debut quartet CD All In featured his original compositions, while his follow-up CD Daylight was named as one of the top Canadian Jazz CDs of 2014 by Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen.
Amanda Nelli is a distinguished children’s choir conductor and elementary music educator with more than 15 years of dedication and experience. She has been recognized with numerous awards, including the St. Catharines Arts in Education Award, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce Women in Business (Cultural Arts) Award, and was nominated for the prestigious Leslie Bell Award for Choral Conducting. Her Fern Hill Chorus placed first at the National Music Festival in 2019, 2017 and 2014. Her Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir (CNCC) Concert Choir won the gold award at the national competition MusicFest Canada in 2018.
Amanda is entering her eleventh season as the Artistic Director of the CNCC. Under her leadership, the CNCC has become a dynamic organization with four choirs for children and youth ages 3-18. They have had the honour of performing with international artists such as Measha Brueggergosman and Pavlo Simtikidis. The CNCC enjoy many performances with accomplished groups such as Chorus Niagara, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra and Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts. The CNCC Chamber Choir was invited to perform a cameo concert at the prestigious Podium national choral festival in May 2020. Amanda is a strong advocate for choral music education in the Niagara community. She collaborated with Brock University (Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff) and the Niagara School Boards to deliver inspiring music education and performance experiences for over 100 students.
As the Music Specialist at Fern Hill Private School in Oakville, Amanda designed and implemented a Music Program for Preschool to Grade 8 students with a focus on music literacy, choral singing, performance, and Orff pedagogy. She is the music director and producer for their annual staged musicals. Her accomplished Fern Hill Chorus have performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts.
Amanda holds a Master of Arts (Music Education) from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University (Artist in Community Education), Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance) from the University of Ottawa and studied choral conducting at the Westminster Conducting Institute in Princeton.
Performer, conductor and educator; Terry Porter began as a freelance clarinettist, performing with the Vancouver Symphony, Ottawa Symphony, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Mel Torme Orchestras.
As a conductor, Captain Porter was Director of Music of the Governor General’s Foot Guards Band for twelve years where he led performances supporting local events and those of all levels of government. Mr. Porter also led ensembles, both student and professional, in performances abroad including nine European tours.
As an educator, he has helped young people discover the joys and benefits we all share, having music in our lives. Terry Porter is thrilled to be part of the adjudication team here at Capital Region MusicFest.
Charlie Ramin taught music in the public school system for over 30 years at the intermediate and secondary level. Mr. Ramin directed the OCDSB Gr. Eight All Star Band for nine years andis currently the director of the OCDSB Secondary All Star Band.
In 2009 Mr. Ramin was named Outstanding Music Teacher for the OCDSB secondary panel. In 2018 the A.Y. Jackson Sr. Concert Band under his direction was named the most outstanding concert band at Capital Region MusicFest. Mr. Ramin currently performs with the Centralaires Concert Band and WildCards Big Band on bass trombone and he is also the musical director of the Wild Cards. As a trombonist he has appeared with Eddie Fisher, Della Reese, Barbara McNair and Anita Bryant.
Geoffrey Sirett is a singer, voice educator and conductor. As an opera singer, his career highlights include engagements with the Canadian Opera Company, Opéra de Montréal, Edmonton Opera, Vancouver Opera, Tapestry Opera, and Against the Grain Theatre. Geoffrey was the recipient of the 2018 Dora award for outstanding performance. On the concert stage, Geoffrey has performed across Canada and the United States, including engagements with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Victoria Symphony, and Winnipeg Symphony.
Geoffrey is the Artistic-Executive Director of the award-winning Cantabile Choirs of Kingston. Geoffrey is Music Director for the indie opera company Bicycle Opera Project, and their upcoming film Sweat. Geoffrey holds BMUS and Artist Diploma (Western University), MMUS in Opera (University of Toronto). Geoffrey is a passionate advocate for mental wellness and resources for artists. He holds a Masters in Counselling Psychology (Yorkville University) and is a RP (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.
Canadian saxophonist Mike Tremblay has more than 30 years in the music industry as a woodwind specialist, and educator.
He is an associate performance faculty member at Carleton University where he teaches saxophone, ensembles, jazz improvising, and is the co-founder and director of the annual Carleton University Jazz Camp.
Mike frequently performs with he National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra, the Cosmos Saxophone Quartet,and many other groups around the National Capital region. Some of his performance credits include: Natalie Cole, Alanis Morrissette, Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Mark Ferguson, John Geggie, Dave Young and Terry Clarke.