Celebrating Outstanding
Youth Performing Arts Ensembles

2023 International Ensembles

Martin Orchestra and Chorale

from Arlington Texas

Kay Owens Director of Choirs
Jamie Ovalle Director of Orchestras

Calgary March Concerts 2023

Wednesday, March 15

In the Heart of Downtown

Martin Orchestra & Chorale
from Texas

Noon Hour Performance

Knox United Church

A free one hour uplifting performance of inspiring music in one of Calgary’s most beautiful historic churches!

Thursday, March 16

International Gala at the Bella

Martin Orchestra & Chorale
from Texas

7:30 pm at The Taylor Centre
for the Performing Arts

Featuring The Conservatory Sinfonia
and the Bishop Carroll Chamber Choir

with Guest Conductor Dr. Mark Sirett

International Gala at the Bella
2023 Calgary Ensembles

Bishop Carroll
Chamber Choir

Bishop Carroll High School Chamber Choir is one of six choral ensembles, including two award winning vocal jazz ensembles, concert choir, touring choir, and ladies choir, all under the leadership of director, Andrea Ciona. Choristers work with many world class clinicians and conductors, through an ongoing partnership with Mount Royal University. John Morgan, director of the Mount Royal Kantorei Choir, has been the choral accompanist at Bishop Carroll for the past ten years, and also regularly coaches the groups as a choral clinician.

Bishop Carroll Choral Ensembles have received local, national and international recognition, including First Place at the Beijing International Music Festival, a first place, and “Best In Class” award at Festival Disney, in Orlando, and Gold Seals at the Calgary Performing Arts Festival.  Featured performances have included joint performances with the Calgary Civic Symphony, the Kenyan Boys Choir, the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede, the Kantorei Choir, the Mount Royal University Artio Choir, and a special Easter Sunday concert with the choir of Basilica di Sant’Alessio, in Rome.

Andrea Ciona, Choral Director

Mount Royal University Conservatory Sinfonia

The Conservatory Sinfonia is for advanced string and wind players ages 12 to 18. This orchestra performs music from professional repertoire and a high degree of commitment is expected. In addition to weekly rehearsals , players participate in an annual workshop with a guest conductor, the Conservatory’s annual Winter Fantasia concert and other performance opportunities as they may arise during the term. As the former Conservatory Strings, they produced two CDs and have been recorded by the CBC.

Chris Sandvoss, Artistic Director/Conductor

Past Participants

2019 international Guests

The 2019 invited guests were the internationally recognized,
‘Iolani School Orchestra from Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

2018 international Guests

The 2018 invited guests were the GRAMMY™ award winning,
Mira Costa Chamber Strings from Manhattan Beach, CA, USA.

Calgary Suzuki Strings Association

The Calgary Suzuki Strings Association is an organization formed to promote string teaching, training and education of teachers, parents, students and the community.  The organization is made up of independent Suzuki-method trained teachers, students and families.  CSSA encourages the highest standards of excellence in teaching and playing.  We strive to facilitate communication between teachers, students and to foster good relations and exchange of information in the string community and the general public. CSSA sponsors several events throughout the academic year to enhance student learning and performance: Heritage Park Play-in, Winter Workshop with various local clinicians teaching enrichment classes, and Non-Competitive String Festival with guest adjudicators from US & Canada including an Ensemble Workshop. In addition, the CSSA has sponsored a Suzuki String Institute and teacher training events such as Music Mind Games by Michiko Yurko.

Board: Mandy Loban-Jordan, Steve Komar, Katrina Lybbert, Cindy Lau, Andrea Hudson, Damian Jordan

Amici String Program

The Amici String Program was founded in 2007 by Fiona Carnie and Theresa Plotnick. Their goal was to provide a setting for young string players to grow in a positive and nurturing environment, providing opportunities for students to excel, both musically and personally. High standards of playing are expected and all students have access to fine teaching from local, national and international artists.  Amici also runs two popular summer programs:  Amici String Camp for younger players and Calgary Stringfest – an intensive chamber music camp for advanced players. Details are available on their website.

Fiona Carnie, Artistic Director

Lakeview Chamber Players

Lakeview Chamber Players is a small chamber ensemble formed to give Suzuki students (who learn core repertoire by ear and perform from memory) an opportunity to develop and practice their music reading and orchestral skills. In keeping with the Suzuki concept of encouraging all ages and levels of students to play together and learn from one another, we are an intergenerational, multi-age and multi-level ensemble, with members ranging in age from 7-80 and in playing level from beginner through intermediate. We are open to string students, parents, grandparents, and friends of all ages.

Suzuki Talent Education Society, Calgary

Founded as a non-for-profit organization in 1972, Suzuki Talent Education Society, Calgary is more than a music school. We work together in unison with the student, parent and teacher to enhance lives and develop compassionate listeners. Our roots are firmly planted in the Suzuki method of education, offering an alternative learning approach. Students train from a very early age by learning how to listen carefully and then learning to play. This powerful learning through listening approach impacts all areas of our lives. Our non-competitive positive environment fosters communication through the medium of music. Listening and nurturing unconsciously expands into other areas of life, creating citizens that are thoughtful, kind, inclusive and supportive. What we do is provide a framework so we can give our children the lifelong gift of music.”

Wan Tsai Chen, Artistic Director


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Dr. Sirett Bio

Conductor, composer, pianist and organist, Mark Sirett (b. 1952) is the Founding Artistic Director of the award-winning Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  He holds both masters and doctoral degrees in choral conducting from the University of Iowa.  Dr. Sirett has taught at the University of Alberta, Western University and Queen’s University.

Dr. Sirett has won two international awards in conducting: the Jury Prize for Imaginative Programming and Artistry at the 2002 Cork International Choral Festival, and Outstanding Conductor at the 2004 Young Prague Festival.  In 2009, he was the recipient of the President’s Leadership Award from Choirs Ontario. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton and recipient of The Mayor’s Award for the Arts-Creator, City of Kingston, 2019.  In 2020 he became the curator of a new series of Canadian choral music for low voices with Cypress Music, Profondo: The Mark Sirett Series.

Dr. Sirett is an award-winning composer whose works have been performed, recorded and broadcast by leading ensembles worldwide, including Chanticleer, VocalEssence and Elora Singers.  Two of his works have been awarded Outstanding Choral Composition from Choral Canada:  “The Stars Point the Way” 2010 and “Words, Stories, Truth–A Trilogy in Honour of Canada’s Indigenous People” 2018.  He is recipient of the inaugural Ruth Watson Henderson Composition Prize from Choirs Ontario for Songs of Innocence written for the Toronto Children’s Chorus. Commissions have included works for the National Youth Choir of Canada, Canadian Men’s Chorus,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Association of Music in International Schools, University of Iowa, International Voices of Luxembourg, Amabile Youth Choir, and Richard Eaton Singers, Edmonton to name a few. His published works are found in the catalogues of Boosey & Hawkes, Oxford University Press, Hal Leonard, Cypress, ECS Publishing, Walton, , Hinshaw, Alliance, Santa Barbara, Carus Verlag, Augsburg/Fortress, Alfred, Canadian International and GIA Publications.

Mark is frequently in demand as a guest conductor and clinician. He has directed the APAC Festival Choir in South Korea, AMIS European High School Women’s Honours Choir, Luxembourg and twice, Unisong in Ottawa on Canada Day.  He has conducted the Ontario Youth Choir, Alberta Honours Children’s Chorus, Manitoba Provincial Honours Children’s Choir, Saskatchewan Treble Choir Project, Waterloo District High School Festival, Meet the Composer Festival (Des Moines IA), MoZaik Festival in Ottawa, the Peel School Board Honours Chamber Choir and the adult and children’s camps for the Nova Scotia Choral Federation. As a clinician, he has presented for Choral Canada, Choirs Ontario, Nova Scotia Music Educators, Nova Scotia Choral Federation, Manitoba Choral Association, Ontario Vocals Festival, the Royal Canadian College of Organists and the Royal School of Church Music.

As an adjudicator Dr. Sirett served on the Jury of the Cork International Choral Festival in 2009; he has frequently adjudicated choral festivals in Canada including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.  He has been clinician/adjudicator for SingONtario, SaskSings, ChorFest Alberta and ChorFest Manitoba.

He is former Organist and Music Director of St. George’s Cathedral, Kingston.  Under his direction the Girl Choristers won first prize in the CBC Competition for Amateur Choirs in the Church Choir division. Since founding the Cantabile Choirs in the fall of 1996, the choirs have received numerous distinctions at the regional, national and international levels. Recognized for creative programming, the choirs were awarded ‘Outstanding Choral Event 2010’ by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities for ‘Brown Eagle, Black Raven’, a concert that honoured aboriginal cultures of the world.

From Dr. Sirett’s website: www.MarkSirett.ca