Heather Bedford-Clooney (Musical Theatre)
Heather Bedford-Clooney has a B. Mus. Ed, an ARCT (voice) and a ATCL and LTCL in Speech and Drama. She has done graduate work at the University of Alberta, Dartmouth College (New Hampshire) and Westminster Choir College (New Jersey).
Mrs. Bedford-Clooney has maintained a voice studio in Edmonton for 47 years. Her students regularly compete in Festivals at the local and provincial levels and, she has had students in the National Music Festival. Many have gone on to be well known performers and teachers of voice. She had adjudicated voice, choirs, musical theatre and speech throughout Canada for 44 years. She has been the Musical Director of several local productions including, among others, ‘Cabaret’, ‘Anne of Green Gables’, ‘The Fantastiks’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Her choirs produce an annual review of Broadway favourites.
She is the Past President of the Choirs Alberta, Choral Canada (ACCC), Music Alberta, Alberta Music Festivals Association (AMFA) and Opera Nuova. Mrs. Bedford Clooney is Executive Director of both the Edmonton Music and Speech Arts Festival (former Edmonton Kiwanis Music Festival), the Shean Piano and String Competition, and is the former Executive Director of the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals.
Mrs. Bedford-Clooney taught high school for 35 years and is as past winner of the Richard Eaton Award for Distinguished Service to Choral Music in Alberta (2008), an Alberta Centennial Medal (2005) and an ACF Con Spiritu Award (2003). In 2015, she was inducted into the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame.
Brian Thorlacius (Band & Instrumental)
Brian Thorlacius taught as a music educator with the Calgary Board of Education for 32 years and retired in the fall of 2011. He also spent 21 years as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserve as the Director of Music for HMCS Tecumseh Band, retiring in the fall of 2010
Brian’s clinic and adjudication work has been extensive throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Montana. He has adjudicated countless Alberta provincial music festivals, the Optimist Jazz festival in Winnipeg, The instrumental Festivals in Regina and Saskatoon for the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association, as well as the Montana District Seven festivals. Brian specializes in concert bands, jazz bands and woodwinds. He has served as a conductor/ clinician at the University of Calgary Summer Band Workshop as well as the Summer Jazz Workshop. He has also been a conductor for Adventures in Summer Music at Red Deer College, and in the summer of 2008, Brian conducted the Intermediate Band at the provincial Musicamp Alberta.
During the spring semester of 2013 Brian was a sessional instructor hired as Conductor for the University of Lethbridge Wind Orchestra. From December 2013 until December 2014, Brian filled a maternity leave position in the Calgary Private school system and taught instrumental music at Rundle College.
As a performer, Brian conducts and plays lead alto in the Wednesday Night Band , which is an 18 piece community Big Band. The ensemble has won numerous awards, and has had the good fortune to play with such fine artists as: Bobby Shew, Jeff Jarvis, Ed Shaughnessy, Rob McConnell, Alan Wise, Mike Tomaro, and P.J. Perry to name a few.
Brian’s professional service includes membership in the Calgary Musician’s Association #547, and the Alberta Band Association as well as, serving on the executive board of Phi Beta Mu- Mu Alpha chapter and the Calgary branch of the Naval Officer’s Association. He has, in past, also served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Stage Band Festival (Southern Region) as Jazz Coordinator.
Throughout his teaching career Brian has been an active committee member in assisting the Calgary Board of Education with the development and revision of the Locally Developed Music Courses.
In 1997, Brian received the Tommy Banks Award for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in recognition of his tireless work with the students in junior and senior high school music programs as well as military cadet ensembles. In the fall of 1999, Brian was inducted in to the Phi Beta Mu International School Bandmaster Fraternity. He was selected by the Canadian Band Directors Association, Alberta chapter, to receive the Elkhorn Award as the Province’s Director of the year for 2003-2004. In the fall of 2005, Brian received the David Peterkin Award from Phi Beta Mu, Alberta (Mu Alpha) chapter, for his years of service and dedication to Band and the proliferation of Band music.
In the fall Of 2009, The Alberta Band Association selected Brian as the recipient of the Vondis Miller Legacy Award. This award recognizes his dedication to students and support of young music educators in the promotion of providing quality musical education experiences.
In July 2010 Brian was selected for induction into the Bandworld / John Phillip Sousa Foundation Legion of Honour. In December of 2010, at the Midwest Conference in Chicago, he was recognized as a Laureate in the Foundation for his significant contribution and dedication to Bands and Band music.
Clark Schaufele (Junior Piano)
Alberta-born pianist Clark Schaufele received his Doctorate in Music (Piano Performance) degree at the Université de Montréal under the guidance of Canadian pianist and educator, Paul Stewart. As the Head of Piano and Accompaniment at the Regina Conservatory of Performing Arts, Clark enjoys a multi-faceted career, spanning genres beyond classical piano - on both the keyboards and the double bass, he has been involved in many performances, tours, and studio recordings, ranging from classical and jazz to country and folk. At present, his solo folk/pop project, Clark&Marcy, has brought his unique combination of voice and double bass to a wide audience in Montreal, Regina and elsewhere. A dedicated performer and educator, Clark has been involved in various musical theatre productions, including performances such as Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, Monty Python's Spamalot, the broadway hit, Grease, Matilda, and Into the Woods. Over the past several years, he has also enjoyed working as a teacher and accompanist at the Banff Summer Strings Program and Regina Summer Strings. Dedicated to his local communities, he regularly performs across the prairies in series such as Gustin House, Ranva House, Regina Musical Club, and the Hands Across series. Between academic seasons, he has also performed at the Stratford Music Festival, Regina Chamber Music Festival, Banff Centre, and the Orlando Festival in the Netherlands. Clark has benefited greatly from the musical guidance of Paul Stewart, Henk Guitart, Marc Durand, and Jean Saulnier.
Elizabeth Raycroft (Classical Voice)
Elizabeth Raycroft, soprano, trained in Edmonton, Houston and in Vienna. She has performed with Edmonton Opera and many local symphony orchestras. She has worked with world renowned conductors and directors. For three years, she performed the role of Mother with “edmonton coOPERAtive’ during their Christmas performances of Amahl and the Night Visitors. In 2014, Ms. Raycroft performed in the Edmonton Fringe megahit “Propylene Glycol, Maltodextrin, Retinol Palmitate and Other Words I don't Understand Like Love”, which also toured throughout Alberta in June and July 2015 and in 2019 performed the role of Signora Naccarelli in Walterdale Theatre’s “The Light in the Piazza”. She is an avid performer of new music and recently performed the World Premiere of “Four Songs, Op.15” by Joseph Lai. She regularly shares her experience and knowledge in masterclasses, workshops and through adjudicating festivals throughout Western Canada. Her students consistently excel at local, provincial and national festivals. Many of her students have performed with the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, have performed in local, provincial and national musical theatre productions, with the Edmonton Opera, and in international opera houses. She maintains an active and full studio at MacEwan’s Alberta College Conservatory of Music and is also on the faculty of The King's University College where she teaches voice, diction and vocal pedagogy.
Jamie Syer (Senior Piano)
Though he finds it hard to believe, JAMIE SYER is marking 50 years as a professional pianist, having debuted at Calgary’s Pleiades Theatre in 1971. Dr. Syer completed his graduate degrees at the Yale University School of Music as a student of Claude Frank and Ward Davenny. Earlier, he studied piano in Calgary with Linhart Walker, and harpsichord with John Searchfield. He has taught at universities and colleges in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and New Brunswick. Recently, Jamie has launched a new website jamiesyer.ca where he shares what he knows — and what he’s still learning — about teaching and playing piano.
Jamie Syer was Dean of the Victoria Conservatory of Music until 2012. He also served as Head of the Conservatory’s Keyboard Department, and taught at the School of Music, University of Victoria. As a lecturer for UVic’s Faculty of Continuing Education, he led two arts related travel tours to France. Jamie is the founder of the Victoria Conservatory’s Young Artists Collegium program, which continues to offer an enriched curriculum for talented young singers, pianists and other instrumentalists. He has performed many times in Europe: in Scotland, Ireland, Hungary, France, and England; as well as closer to home in recital venues across Canada. In 2019, he was a featured concerto soloist with the Sidney Classical Orchestra.
Dr. Syer is known for his imaginative recital programming, and his artistic, energetic playing. He is a popular adjudicator and workshop clinician, who enjoys working with teachers’ groups and with students of all ages. In 2020, Jamie was Musical Director for a production of Matilda. Beyond music he was Manager of his local public library for six years, and he enjoys the craft of letterpress printing.