David Ferguson has been a pivotal name in the Calgary Choral Community for more than four decades. During that time, his choirs won numerous awards locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. More importantly, David has fostered a love of the art of choral music making in thousands of students, and choristers. These choristers have gone on to weave their own choral magic across the world, including here in Alberta. David also played a foundational/structural role in the city's choral community through his work at the Mount Royal Conservatory.
Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff
Shirley is a music, arts & education graduate from Colleges and Universities in Chicago and Toronto. She also completed business & arts administration courses at the Banff School of Fine Arts and at York University. Her successful career includes performing, teaching, directing and producing at all levels from Elementary through University. She has produced for television and has worked with a broad range of both professional and amateur performing arts companies. She founded Youth Singers of Calgary in 1985, a highly successful performing arts youth organization. Starting with a small group of 26 students, she never dreamed it would grow to its present size.
Shirley has been awarded “Woman of Distinction” by the YWCA for her contribution to the Performing Arts in Calgary, named a “Paul Harris Fellow” by Rotary International, received a 2005 Alberta Centennial Outstanding Citizen Award, a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and in 2016 became a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence for her work in promoting the Arts in Calgary and for her outstanding contribution to the community, province and Canada. Shirley was also named “Woman of Inspiration 2019” as an Innovative Leader by the Universal Women’s Network. Her philosophy is shaped by her lifetime involvement and passion for the performing arts. Her goal is to assist young people in building their self-esteem and encouraging their talents and imaginations while challenging each individual to pursue their hopes and dreams.
Past Richard S. Eaton Award of Distinction recipients
Catherine Glaser-Climie, Anne McIntyre, Adele Armstrong, Heather Bedford-Clooney, Paul Bourret, Debra Cairns, Anne Campbell, Robert de Frece, Malcolm Edwards, Lloyd Erickson, George Evelyn, Laurier Fagnan, David Ferguson, Michel Marc Gervais, Gordon Hafso, Marilyn Kerley, William Lauterbach, Scott Leithead, Madge McCready, Douglas Parnham, John Pauls, Marilyn Perkins, Elaine Pitt, Soeur Thérèse Potvin, Leonard Ratzlaff, Ardelle Ries, Elaine Quilichini, Timothy Shantz, Garth Worthington, John Wiebe, Trent Worthington
Until June of 2021, Marni Strome worked with the Calgary Children’s Choir as conductor beginning in 1988, and as Artistic Director since 1993. The program consists of five choirs, ages 4-adult, and continues to flourish under new directorship today. Marni's choirs have performed in local, provincial, and international festivals, and worked with internationally recognized conductors such as Henry Leck, Dr. David Flood, Dr. Will Kesling, and David Ferguson.
For 32 years, Marni worked as a public school music educator with the Calgary Board of Education, in a variety of settings from K- grade 12. Marni enjoyed volunteer teaching in South Africa for many summers – returning to a small impoverished school to teach music, and to learn the culture and music of the region.Marni has also worked as a summer sessional instructor at University of Calgary, the Silverwinds Hutterite colony in Manitoba, and University of Alberta, teaching Musicianship, Conducting, and Choir to music teachers in Kodaly summer programs.
Marni completed her Masters of Music degree at Holy Names University in Oakland, CA, with an emphasis in Kodaly inspired music education. She is currently teaching music in a K-8 private Catholic school in San Francisco. She is a sessional instructor at Holy Names University and continues to work as a clinician, guest conductor, adjudicator, and conference presenter where time allows.
Marni is grateful for so many colleagues and mentors – too many to mention all – but they include her mother, Marian Smith, Rosemarie Sherban (founder of the Calgary Children’s Choir), David Ferguson, Maree Hennessy, and Janos Horvath.
Past Patricia Cook Memorial Awards recipients
Jean Czaja, Colleen Whidden, Alberta Music Festival Association, Violet Archer, Bob Baker, Raymond Baril, Calgary Association for the Development of Music Education, Jean Czaja, Malcolm Edwards, Richard Ferguson, William Edward Hamm, Garth Hobden, Russ Mann, Madge McCready, George Nikel, Save Our Fine Arts (SOFA), Phyllis Schafer, Shared Song - Cantaré Children's Choir and the Calgary Separate School District, Carolyn Steeves, University of Alberta Graduate Program in Choral Conducting
ANNE GRAY & NICOLE HOUNJET
Anne Gray began her post secondary studies at the University of North Texas, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Calgary. Her experience includes ten years teaching elementary school music, thirteen years as choir teacher at Central Memorial High School, past director of the Westwinds Music Society’s Green Choir and Women’s Choir and current director of its Choral Ensemble, and current Artistic Director of the Savridi Singers of Calgary. She is presently the music specialist at W.O. Mitchell Elementary School. Anne also works as a guest clinician, conductor and adjudicator with school and community choirs.
Recently, Anne was presented with a 2021 Con Spirito Award by Choir Alberta. “Presented annually, the Con Spirito Awards recognize the spirit and dedication of individuals and their commitment to choral music in their local communities.”
Anne’s passion as a choir director and music educator is to help choirs discover a path to improving vocal technique, musical literacy, performance expression and appreciation of music’s rich offerings.
Nicole Hounjet has been a music director with the CBE and Foothills School Divisions for the past 18 years. During her teaching career she has built, developed, and grown programs based on community, culture, and artistry. Ms Hounjet also conducts with the Westwinds Music Society - an organization focused on adult music education. Ms Hounjet completed her music degree at the University of Alberta and education degree at the University of Calgary. She has studied with choral leaders including James Jordan, James Whitbourn, Gregory Boers, Richard Nace, and Rodney Eichenberger. As an educator and conductor, Ms Hounjet empowers her musicians to fully engage in the music by building a community of mutual trust, respect and empathy within the ensemble. She believes that by setting high expectations and providing the tools to ensure success, musicians of any age can find their voice.
Past Con Spirito Award recipients
Ken Rogers, Cheryl Balay, Jean-Louis Bleau, Elizabeth DiMarino, Carolyn Olson, Margaret (Peg) Matheson, Heather Johnson, Carol Anderson, Norma Jean Atkinson, Monica Baczuk, Heather Bedford-Clooney, Dr. Joy Berg, Eva Bostrand, Brian Bowman Dave Bray, Sandra Brunelle, Linda Burwell, Donald Buryn, Bruce Cable, Mary Carr, Joanne Collier, Cathy de Frece, Robert de Frece, Monica Dear, Leslie Dittman, Lee Dowan, Malcolm Edwards, George Evelyn, Richard Ferguson, Lisa Fielder, Lynne Frances, David Garber, Catherine Glaser-Climie, Val Gondek, John Goulart, Marc Hafso, Brian Haliburton, Glen Harder, John and Virginia Hoopfer, Janos Horvath, Karen Hudson, Norine Inkster, Scott Leithead, Elizabeth Lesoway Anderson, Laurier Levasseur, Dr. Mary MacDonald, John Mahon, Mike Mailone, Brian McAuley, Anne McIntyre, Leslie Ann McClosky, Moira Milne, Lorraine Muise, John Murray, Mary Noyes, Elaine Pitt, Elaine Quilichini, Leonard Ratzlaff, Flora Rizzuto, Ken Rogers, Barbara Sadler Wells, Alex and Marion Shand, Timothy Shantz, Helen Snortland, Thomas Spila, Jeremy Spurgeon, Paul Sweet, Jordan Van Biert, Jeannie Vansynsberghe Pernal, Barb Walker, Trevor Waters, James Whittle, David Wilson
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