Adjudicators for 2024

VOCAL (thank you for being a late replacement for our ill adjudicator)
Chase Winnicky

An internationally toured artist and proud graduate of Randolph College for the Performing Arts, Chase Winnicky is quickly making a name for himself as one of Canadas newest leading men and directors. He has worked on productions across Canada with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Dry Cold Productions, Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg Studio Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Mirvish Productions, Bad Hats Theatre, the National Ballet of Canada and Diversified Theatre. As a vocalist he’s sung with the Toronto Jazz Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Juno award winning singer Stacey Kay and has toured overseas with Oceania Cruises. On screen he’s played supporting roles in 4 Hallmark Channel movies, and has guest starred on both CBC’s SkyMed and the Emmy nominated series The Porter. Chase is thrilled to be here! For more visit www.chasewinnicky.com

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VOCAL (cancelled due to illness will be returning in 2025)
Monica Huisman
Dutch-Canadian Lyric Soprano, Monica Huisman has been hailed as possessing a soprano voice that ’embodies both flawless technique and dramatic impact’ (Opera Canada). Ms. Huisman has delighted audiences from Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to Guatemala City to Rio de Janeiro, with the reputation of her ‘silken’ voice ‘consistently crafting each note into a work of art’ (Winnipeg Free Press). In demand for both her Operatic prowess and her Concert repertoire, Ms. Huisman has performed with every major orchestra across Canada, and abroad, delighting audiences in both opera, the classics, new works ,pops as well as in recital. Mozart, Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Vaughan-Williams, Bizet, Verdi, Puccini, Mahler, Beethoven and Strauss are just a few of the composers whose works she has not only infused with her passionate voice, but also had broadcasted on the CBC and the VARA, in Europe. In demand as a teacher and clinician, Ms. Huisman has been on the voice Faculty at the Desautels Faculty of music at the University of Manitoba since 2002, and has been a guest teacher with every major University across Canada, as well as summer opera training programs, most recently the DEAP for Manitoba Opera, Nuova in Edmonton, and VOSI for Opera Kelowna. Upcoming engagements include the world premiere of Dreams Unseen with Wind Ensemble as part of the Winnipeg New Music Festival and hosting MB Opera’s 50th Anniversary Gala Concert.

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INSTRUMENTAL/PIANO
Jonathan Alexiuk

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Jonathan has been performing professionally since 1996.

In addition to piano, he has performed and recorded on trumpet, trombone, saxophone, percussion, ukulele, vocals, and upright bass.  Besides being a multi-instrumentalist, he is a prolific arranger of vocal and instrumental music; his arrangements have been played by the Ron Paley Big Band, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, the Memory Lane Orchestra, Those Guys, the U of W Downtown Vocal Jazz Choir, the Air Command Band, among many others.  

At various times, he fills the roles of clinician, adjudicator, instructor, accompanist, and album producer.

When not performing locally around Winnipeg and southern Manitoba, Jonathan regularly entertains on both the Holland America and Princess cruise lines, putting his vast musical repertoire to use.

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VISUAL
Tammy Zebruck

Tammy Zebruck is a visual artist who specializes in acrylic painting, drawing and printmaking, she has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the United States and has had her work published in Bluecanvas, International Artist, Art Avenue, and The Area News. She earned her BFA from the University of Manitoba.

Teaching art privately, as community interest courses at Confederation College, and through her employment at The Muse: The Douglas Family Art Centre, Tammy loves engaging the public in art practice and appreciation. She continues to passionately support art and artists through the work of the Muse and her art practice.

Shelby Smith
Shelby Dawn Smith (1994 – ) is an artist who grew up in small town Northwestern Ontario, and currently conducts her art practice in Kenora, Ontario. She graduated with honours from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program with specialization in Painting and Drawing at the University of Ottawa in 2015. It wasn’t until the final years of her BFA that she began exploring abstraction, after discovering the art of prominent abstractionists, like Fiona Rae and Cy Twombly. Shelby’s expressive mixed-media paintings explore the complexities of emotion through visual elements, such as colour and texture, and attempts to find a balance between harmony and tension. Her debut solo show, Different Every Time, took place in the spring of 2016 at Studio Sixty-Six in Ottawa, and showcased her experimental and process-based style. Her artwork is found in private collections around the world.

In the spring of 2019, Shelby was hired as the Programmer for The Muse – Douglas Family Art Centre in Kenora, Ontario. In this role, she has been responsible for developing and presenting arts and cultural programs for all ages, as well as organizing local and national artists to lead workshops and give presentations. Other responsibilities include: fundraising, graphic design, social media management, website management, professional photography, art handling, and managing the Art Centre’s lending library. Beginning in August of 2021, Shelby spent a year as acting Curator, developing and mounting exhibtions, before returning to the role of Programmer in 2022.

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DANCE
Matt Agoli
Adjudicator – Hip Hop & Student Choreography
Matt Agoli is the Director and creator of Little Monsters Dance, Board Member of Dance Manitoba and Certified Teacher. His passion for dance led him in creating a hip-hop dance company that specializes in hip-hop and breakdancing for students that are looking to explore the culture of hip-hop dance.

Matt is a certified bilingual teacher, choreographer, and dancer that has been teaching hip-hop and break for the past 12 years. Matt has trained and competed with various dance companies in Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver, such as: Un1ted Dance Company, The Brethren Dance Crew, New Krew, The Underground Dance Studio, Harbour Dance Centre. Matt has taught at multiple studios, schools and companies in Winnipeg which include: Little Monsters Dance, The School of Contemporary Dance, Elmwood High School Dance Program, Expression Film Studio, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Forks, Festivals du Voyageur, DSFM Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine, Louis Riel School Division, and Winnipeg School Division.

’’Join the Movement and never stop.‘’ – Matt Agoli

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Kaylah Drozda
Adjudicator – Ballet, Modern/Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Student Choreography

Kaylah Drozda, originally from Sudbury, Ontario, has studied all forms of dance but found her true passion in ballet. She was accepted into the prestigious professional teacher training program at the RWB (Royal Winnipeg Ballet School). There, she graduated with a teaching diploma as well as completing her Advanced 1, and Associate examination with the Cecchetti Society of Canada. Training in both Cechetti and Vaganova style of ballet has enhanced her training and ability to work with all levels of dancers. Her teaching positions at local studios within the recreational and competitive divisions has enhanced an understanding of how studio dancers are trained and what the end goals are for various levels of dance.

Kaylah has won many awards and attended many competitions as a teacher within Canada and the US. She has also developed ballet, examination, and creative movement programs for a multitude of studios. Kaylah has also created and directed a full-length Nutcracker production.

She has attended intensives in Toronto, New York, Ontario, and Winnipeg as well as, guest teaching and choreographing for studios in Winnipeg and Ontario. Kaylah continues her professional development, taking new certifications and courses to continue to enrich her teaching and understanding of the dance community. Among these certifications is becoming a certified dance adjudicator with Canadian Dance Leadership.


Teaching technique, artistry and the love for dance is a high priority in her teaching and adjudicating. The world of dance is constantly changing and evolving, and Kaylah strives to continue to educate herself in as many ways as possible. She looks forward to continuing to share her love for dance, motivating and instilling positivity in all dancers and educators.

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SPEECH/DRAMA
ROBERT HERRIOT

Canadian stage director Rob Herriot’s career has taken him across North America. He has directed productions of Cosi fan Tutte, Cenerentola, Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Boheme, Carmen, Rigoletto and Don Pasquale (Manitoba Opera), Barber of Seville, Don Pasquale (Livermore Valley Opera) Cosi fan Tutte (Opera Kelowna) Three Decembers, Magic Flute (Little Opera Company) La Traviata, Don Pasquale (Opera Hamilton), Carmen, Don Pasquale (Arizona Opera), Don Pasquale (Connecticut Opera, Utah Opera) New productions of Rigoletto (2019)HMS Pinafore (2018) Hansel and Gretel, and Magic Flute. Other productions for Edmonton include Turandot, Pirates of Penzance, La Fille Du Regiment, HMS Pinafore (Edmonton Opera-winner of a Sterling Award for Outstanding Musical of the Season); Tosca, The Mikado, La Cenerentola, all nominated for the Sterling Award’s Best Musical Production of their year. For Calgary Opera he has directed productions of Tosca and Barber of Seville, both nominated for Betty Mitchell awards for Best Musical of 2009 and 2018 seasons, as well as La Boheme for the 40th anniversary of the company. Other productions for Calgary include The Magic Flute, Pirates of Penzance and Candide, as well as numerous shows for their Emerging Artists program; Beatrice et Benedict, Susannah’s Secret, L’Enfant et les Sortileges, Doctor Miracle, and The First Nowell.

He created a touring production of Don Pasquale for Utah Opera which toured over three seasons and then produced it with the young artists of Tulsa Opera in 2005. He is currently a returning director for Opera Nuova, one of Canada’s young artist summer programs. As a teacher and mentor, he has directed productions of Tuck Everlasting, The Fairy Queen, Tartuffe, Beatrice and Benedict, Don Giovanni, Oklahoma, La Boheme and Patience.

Virtual productions include, I Need Opera and Dance for The Little Opera Company, writer and director for the 3-episode series All Those Arias for Little Opera Company and The Manitoba Opera as well as writer and director for the Manitoba Opera’s 6-part series Opera School. Other productions include Wizard of Oz, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast for Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage.

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KDFA Kafe
Alex Call

Alex is from the San Francisco area of Northern California. His career in music began in his teen years with his country – rock band, Clover, whose other members included Huey Lewis and John McFee (now of the Doobie Bros). Clover made four major label albums and was the band on Elvis Costello’s acclaimed first album, My Aim Is True.

Following Clover, Alex wrote the hit songs 867-5309/Jenny by Tommy Tutone, Little Too late for Pat Benatar, Perfect World for Huey Lewis & The News, and was part of Huey Lewis’s big number one song from the movie series Back to the Future, Power of Love. Alex made a solo album for Arista Records, which spun off the single Just another Saturday Night in 1983.

Alex has had many other songs covered and his songs are a fixture on radio, TV, movies, and even now in the Huey Lewis Broadway Musical The Heart of Rock and Roll.

A fifteen-year sojourn in Nashville, writing and performing with many of the top country and Americana writers expanded Alex’s musical field.
” I learned a lot from my Nashville friends. Beyond how to better create a musical story, one of the biggest lessons I learned was to always be true to my own vision and not be swayed by the music industry.”

Alex now lives in Kenora, Ontario with his wife, dogs, rabbit, and many animal friends. He is currently engaged in a long-distance music collaboration he calls The Peace & Happiness Project, which is bringing together his old and new music friends to create music videos of songs of his that have a positive message.

“I’m an idealist. I see music as a universal language, one that can make a difference in this often-troubled world. That’s what I’m all about.”

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2023 Adjudicator Comments

It was a pleasure to not only observe the performative talent of the youth of Kenora but to be given the opportunity to hone it. The Kenora District Festival of the Arts is a chance for people of all ages to sharpen their artistic skills in front of an audience. I’m happy to have been raised performing in it and to now have the chance to participate as an adjudicator.
Matt Kennedy, Speech and Dramatic Arts Adjudicator

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It was a privilege to adjudicate the Visual Arts entries for the Festival of the Arts this year. It was a pleasure to host this exhibition at the Art Centre. I was impressed by the quality and quantity of entries. We are fortunate to have such talented artists in our community. Thank you to the teachers who encourage and guide our youth to express themselves through art! There are many burgeoning artists that we will be certain to watch over the coming years. Keep up the great work everyone! I look forward to see what masterpieces next year will bring!
Sophie Lavoie, Visual Arts Adjudicator

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“What I enjoyed most about the adjudicating experience is working with the dancers in the studio afterwards. Dancers get opportunity to work on their feedback that was given to them and dive into some new choreography. “

“By participating in the festival, dancers gain the ability to take constructive feedback/ criticism as inspiration, to fuel them to work harder and perform better. The festival allows dancers to take all the steps they have been working on and tell a compelling story through the choreography. The festival provides a safe space for dancers to explore dance in its truest form.”
Matt Agoli, Hip Hop Dance Adjudicator

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Participating as an adjudicator was both a privilege and an honour for me. It was wonderful to see so many young people participating wholeheartedly in the arts, both from an educational and performance perspective. As an adjudicator, my task was to give some insight to the students from my experience in the field. It was wonderful to see how these insights were adopted and understood by the solo and ensemble performers. I would also like to thank the teachers, who work on a daily basis with these wonderful young people. Kenora has unique and excellent support for the arts which translates as an investment into the lifeblood of the community at large both at the present time and well into the future. Bravo to the KDFA team for a great opportunity to participate and be part of the Kenora community!
Norman Reintamm, Instrumental and Piano Adjudicator

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I really enjoyed being part of the 2023 KDFA. Spending a day with singers, whether young or older is always a pleasure, and the 2023 Vocal Festival was no exception. From age 7 to 70, the singers that trooped through the Festival all impressed me with their commitment and energy. There were plenty of highlights, and I was particularly thrilled to see all the Elementary and Highschool students involved. Covid restrictions really put a damper on things for the last few years, but thanks to inspiring teachers and willing young people like those in the Kenora area, the next generation of music-makers is back on track.
 
When we share in music-making, all of our lives, including that of the audience, are made better. It’s clear that there is a lot of vocal talent in Kenora, but it’s more than just the talent that moved me. I was taken by the generosity with which all the singers connected to their audiences. Singers are storytellers, and when they connect with the audience, magic happens. We all felt that at the KDFA.
 
As a singer and life-long educator, I also relished the opportunity to work with all of the singers. They were so responsive, such a delight to connect with. Long may you sing!
 
Kudos to the Festival organizers and to all the singers, pianists, and teachers that made the Vocal Festival so memorable, and all the best moving forward. You have much to build on!
Mel Braun, Vocal Adjudicator


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