Provincial band festival
21st Annual festival: February 13th - 16th, 2023
Registration Deadline: November 19th, 2022
Please select one selection from either the OBA festival syllabus, or the Musicfest Canada syllabus.
Festival Registration closed on November 18th at 11:59 pm. Any registrations past this date will be put on our waiting list
Dr. Smart is the Director of Bands at the University of Montana (UM), where he conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, teaches applied trumpet, undergraduate and graduate conducting, music education courses, and supervises student teachers. He held prior positions at Arizona State University and Southern Utah University. Dr. Smart has been a guest conductor and clinician in Austria, China and Nigeria, Canada, and the United States. His articles have been published by music educator journals in several states, presented at several state NAfME affiliate conferences, and he has presented at the CBDNA National Convention. He is President of the College Band Directors National Association, Northwest division, and a member of NAfME and Montana Bandmasters Association. Other conducting experiences include the International Ensemble Modern Academy (Schwaz, Austria), Klangspuren New Music Festival (Innsbruck, Austria), Conductors Retreat at Medomak (Washington, ME), Concordia Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM), Orchestra of Southern Utah (Cedar City, UT) the International Workshop for Orchestral Conducting (Graz, Austria), and the Band Conductors Art Symposium (Ann Arbor, MI).
Dr. Smart taught public school in Lapeer, MI. Under his direction, the University of Montana Symphonic Wind Ensemble has been selected to perform at the Western/Northwestern Region College Band Directors National Association Conference and for the NAfME All-Northwest Conference.
Dr. James Smart
Director of Bands
University of Montana
For outreach to the greater musical community, Dr. Smart organizes and conducts the UM All-Star High School Wind Ensemble Festival, which has attracted students from six different states and Canada, the UM Concert Band Festival, and the annual UM Summer Music Camp. He founded and teaches the bi-annual UM Summer Conducting Workshop that has drawn participants from 25 states and five countries. Dr. Smart is also the founder, producer, and co-conductor of the annual Fusion Concert which showcases the diversity of the UM School of Music.
As a trumpet player, Dr. Smart studied with Charles Daval, Ramon Parcell, and Kevin Good. He has also studied in lessons and master classes with Charlie Butler, Allan Dean, Charles Gorham, Armando Ghitalla, and Charlie Schlueter. Dr. Smart has performed with the Missoula Symphony, Orchestra of Southern Utah, North Idaho Symphony, Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble, and several collaborative faculty and chamber performances at the University of Montana and Southern Utah University.
Dr. Smart holds a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance with teaching certification from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music Education and Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from Arizona State University. During his time at ASU, he served as acting associate director of bands, acting director of the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble, co-music director of the ASU Lyric Opera Theater for the Western US premier run of Joseph Turrin’s
Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music & Director of Bands
Andrew Mast is the Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music and Director of Bands, a position he has held since the fall of 2004. Only the third person to hold the title of Lawrence University Director of Bands since 1951, he conducts the Wind Ensemble while teaching courses in band history, conducting and the freshman studies program. Prior to his appointment at Lawrence, he was Director of Bands at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa where he conducted the Symphonic Band, Orchestra, served as department chair, conducted the Quad City Wind Ensemble and founded the Quad City Area Youth Wind Symphony.
In the fall of 2013, he co-founded and became music director of Vento Winds, an ensemble of excellent adult musicians from the Fox Valley committed to the highest performance standards of the finest wind band repertoire. He has been recognized for his teaching via the Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 2011, Young Teacher Award at Lawrence in 2009, and the Faculty of the Year award at St. Ambrose in 2004.
Bands under Mast’s direction have appeared at several conferences, including the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) National and North Central Regional conferences and the Wisconsin Music Educators Association. A 2012 CD released on the Mark Records label features music commissioned and premiered by the Lawrence Wind Ensemble. Mast taught for seven years in the public schools of Iowa and Minnesota, teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school levels of instrumental music.
Mast is an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association. Other professional affiliations include the College Band Director's National Association, National Band Association, Conductor’s Guild, and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. He is a co founder and President of the Vincent Persichetti Society. He has made scholarly contributions to The Instrumentalist, Journal of Band Research, the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series, and The Annals of Iowa.
Leah McGray is the Director of Instrumental Studies for the State University of New York at Geneseo, where she conducts the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and teaches classes in conducting and theory. Dr. McGray held a similar position at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN and has served as guest conductor for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In demand internationally as a conductor and adjudicator, she has conducted across the United States, Canada, and South Korea, and is the conductor for the National Youth Band of Canada in 2023.
Dr. McGray earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She received the Master of Music in conducting from University of Toronto, and Bachelor of Music and Education degrees from Acadia University. Twice awarded major grants from the Social Science Humanities and Research Council in Canada, her research explores techniques of non-verbal leadership, and orchestral and wind ensemble repertoire by traditionally underrepresented composers.
Dr. Leah McGray
Director of Instrumental Studies, Conductor of Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra
State University of New York at Geneseo
Chasson’s popularity as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and educator has captured the attention of instrumental ensembles, schools, and music festivals across Canada and the United States. Sandi is best known as the Music and Artistic Director of the multi-award winning St. Andrew’s College Wind Ensemble. In 2012, this ensemble was selected to represent Canada and perform at the London Olympics. Under Chasson’s pink baton, this group has developed a reputation nationwide as one of the leading performance ensembles in the country.
Over her 45-year teaching career, Chasson has inspired youth to love and embrace music as a performing art. She began her career teaching in the inner city of Toronto, where her devotion and dedication to her young students resulted in the creation of the award winning Inner-City Band, which was featured on the stage of Roy Thomson Hall at the Toronto District School Board Spring Festival.
Leaving the inner city, Sandi developed the Instrumental Program at the prestigious, independent girls school, Havergal College, before leaving to become the Director of Music at St. Andrew’s College. A passionate advocate of music education, Sandi is the Coordinator of the Conference of Independent Schools Music Festival, bringing together 44 schools and 1,500 students to perform annually at Roy Thomson Hall.
Chasson is a much sought-after guest clinician who has lectured extensively in both Canada and US. A popular speaker with a great sense of humour, she often presents at OMEA, CBA, and the NASSPE, York University, the University of Toronto, and McMaster University. Sandi is best known for her conducting. She has been awarded the OBA Conductor Award and was nominated for the John Philip Sousa Award in the United States. She is presently conducting the Richmond Hill Concert Band. A lecturer and clinician, adjudicator, performer, and conductor, Chasson has established herself as a prominent voice in music education and has dedicated her career to inspiring her students.
Dr. Shelley Axelson
Interim Director of Bands
Radford University, Virginia
Dr. Shelley Axelson is the newly-appointed interim Director of Bands at Radford University in Virginia. She was previously an Assistant Professor of Music Education and Assistant Director of Bands at Montclair State University in New Jersey for 12 years. Her duties included conducting the Symphonic Band and teaching courses in conducting, instrumental methods, and music education. She also served as an academic advisor, faculty advisor for Sigma Alpha Iota, and created a Campus Band and Pep Band so students majoring in a subject other than music would have an opportunity to continue their musical education and experiences.
Dr. Axelson earned her undergraduate degree in music education from the University of South Florida, where she studied conducting with Jerry Junkin, Michael Votta, and Mallory Thompson. She continued her training by earning a Master of Music degree in Conducting at the University
of Michigan, where her principal teacher was H. Robert Reynolds. After graduating from Michigan, she taught at Pasco Middle School in Dade City, Florida (where she co-authored the Secondary Music Curriculum), and Richardson Junior High in Richardson, Texas.
After earning her Doctorate in Conducting with Mallory Thompson at Northwestern University, Dr. Axelson was appointed Director of Bands at Central College in Pella, Iowa, where she was responsible for running all aspects of the band program. After three years in Iowa, she relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana to become the Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Indianapolis. In 2009, she joined the faculty of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
Dr. Axelson is a highly sought-after conductor, clinician, presenter, and adjudicator for professional development events, band festivals, honour bands, and conferences throughout the United States and Canada. She recently presented at the National Association for Music Education Regional Conference in Atlantic City and the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.
Dr. Axelson is a proud member of the College Music Society, College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, and Sigma Alpha Iota.
Dr. Mark Hopkins
Professor, School of Music, Acadia University
Dr. Mark Hopkins is a Professor in the School of Music at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. In addition to leading the Wind Ensemble, Dr. Hopkins teaches undergraduate and graduate Conducting, Instrumental Music Education courses, SoundPainting, and chamber music courses.
Dr. Hopkins is in demand as a guest conductor and music education consultant. Since 2003, he has collaborated with Dr. Gillian MacKay as Artistic Co-Director of the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, which selects players through annual national auditions. He is Artistic Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Wind Ensemble (2008-2011, 2013-present), and is Past-President of the Nova Scotia Band Association. In May 2019, Dr. Hopkins received the National Band Award from the Canadian Band Association, recognizing his contributions “…to the promotion, growth, and development of the musical, educational, and cultural values of band throughout Canada”. In November 2016, Dr. Hopkins received an Established Artist Award from Arts Nova Scotia for his leadership as a conductor of new music projects, including “Shattering the Silence”, an innovative new music festival (www.shatteringthesilence.ca).
His work as a conductor has been recorded on LIVE WIRED (2015) and In Sonorous Falling Tones (2017, nominated for a 2018 East Coast Music Award). Abroad, he has led collegiate and professional performances in the United States, Bermuda, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, and Romania.
A native of Toronto, Dr. Hopkins graduated from the University of Toronto (B.Mus. Ed.), the University of Western Ontario (B. Ed.), the University of Calgary (M.Mus. Conducting), and the New England Conservatory (D.M.A. Wind Conducting). While attending NEC, he served as Assistant to Frank L. Battisti and was awarded the Gunther Schuller Medal at graduation. Prior to his appointment at Acadia University, Dr. Hopkins led ensembles and taught at the University of Calgary and Hanover College in Indiana (1999-2005). Dr. Hopkins taught music in high schools for twelve years, including seven years of service as Chair of the Music Department at Upper Canada College in Toronto. His professional work as a Conductor spans the full range of ensembles and genres.