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Provincial band festival

Event info

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


festival adjudicators

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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 

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Andrew Mast

Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music & Director of Bands

Lawrence University

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.

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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

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Sandi Chasson

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.

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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.

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Dr. Mark Hopkins

Professor, School of Music, Acadia University

Wolfville, NS

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 (


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.

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