Concert Organizer


Elizabeth Turnbull

Elizabeth Turnbull has been hailed by the critics as ‘a revelation’, with ‘controlled passion, acute timing and glistening presence’. Her many and varied credits include appearances with major orchestras and opera companies across North America (Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, New York, Florida, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco).


Performers & Speakers


Randy Boissenault, speaker
Member of Parliment, Edmonton Centre

Randy Boissonnault is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre and the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues.

Prior to his election, Randy was a successful entrepreneur, community leader, and philanthropist. He has a strong record of leadership in business, in public service, and in the not-for-profit sector.
Randy discovered his passion for leadership and public service at the University of Alberta, where he served as President of the Students’ Union. Since studying at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, Randy has worked as a lecturer at the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean, and as a journalist and political commentator for CBC Radio-Canada and Les Affaires. Randy also owned and led a consulting business that helped small- and medium-sized businesses overcome their strategy and management challenges.

A proud Rotarian, Randy has a long history of charitable work, both locally in Edmonton and abroad. He founded Literacy Without Borders, an international NGO devoted to promoting literacy for both children and adults in the developing world and in Canada. He has also served as Vice Chair of TEDx Edmonton and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Francophone Economic Council of Alberta, the Francophone Sport Federation of Alberta, and the Canadian Francophone Games. He was one of the 50 founders of Startup Edmonton and was a finisher of the Ironman Canada Triathlon.

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Dirt Road Angels

Energetic country meets edgy rock when the Dirt Road Angels hit the stage! Dahlia Wakefield, Karen Claypool, Danita Lynn and Shila Marie came together in 2013 and have released three albums of originals and covers, laced with intricate harmonies and relatable lyrics since their inception.

Their brand-new album “Extra Dirty” was released on March 10, 2018 and has been received with much positive feedback. DRA is excited to release the long-awaited title track “Extra Dirty”, written by Lynn Tessari and Terez Maureen, to Canadian country radio on August 20, 2018 along with the accompanying music video where the girls get down in the dirt, bringing a sexy and contagious energy to the song that will make you want to listen over and over again. The angels have released a total of six singles to Canadian Country Radio, along with three music videos and two lyric videos. Their first album, a 15-song compilation CD was released in September 2013, and their second, “Paint the Town Red”, was released September 2014.

This upbeat country rock quartet is based in Edmonton, Albertaand has showcased at CCMA week and performed at many other high profile events such as Taste of Edmonton, Boots and Hearts Festival, Porkapalooza, Blueberry Bluegrass Music Festival, Beaumont Blues Festival, Festival Place Patio Series and more. They have enjoyed opening for some top country acts including Kira Isabella, High Valley, Doc Walker, Road Hammers, Aaron Pritchett; even U.S. acts Colin Raye, Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin, Blackjack Billy and many more. The Dirt Road Angels are also honoured to have been nominated for ACMA Group of the Year and Fan’s Choice three years in a row! These talented ladies are down to earth and continually strive to entertain their audiences everywhere they go and always come away with new fans. 

With their brand new album, a brand new single and video just released as well as an upcoming European tour, the Dirt Road Angels are ready to fly!

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Christopher Friesen, composer

Christopher Friesen is an Edmonton based choral composer and recent graduate of the University of Alberta. His recent compositional highlights include the premiere of “Would You Notice” and “You Are Loved” by Accord Ensemble in Spring 2018, the Manitoba premiere of “Lux Aeterna” in the Winnipeg New Music Festival, and the premiere his setting of “O Magnum Mysterium” by the McDougall United Church Choir. Chris’ music has been sung by many of Edmonton’s choirs including the U of A Madrigal Singers, Accord Ensemble, Borealis, and the McDougall United Church Choir.


Michael Frishkopf

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Marnie Giesbrecht-Segger

A passionate and versatile keyboard artist Marnie Giesbrecht performs as soloist and collaborative musician on organ, piano and harpsichord. Performances take her to communities, universities and festivals throughout Canada, the United States, South Africa, Europe and Asia; she commissions, performs and records solo, duo and collaborative keyboard works by Canadian and international composers with Joachim Segger as the unique and innovative keyboard team Duo Majoya. Dr. Giesbrecht is Professor Emerita at the University of Alberta and Adjunct Professor of Music at The King’s University, Edmonton; she is a church musician and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Giesbrecht serves on national and international organ competition juries including the RCCO (Royal Canadian College of Organists), Claude Lavoie (Quebec City) and CIOC (Canadian International Organ Competition) and Longwood Gardens, (Philadelphia, 2019). 


Shannon Hiebert

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Deepak Paramashivan

Dr. Deepak Paramashivan has a PhD in energy and climate engineering with a gold medal. After serving a stint at the University of Alberta as a climate scientist, he switched gears completely and currently he is pursuing a second PhD in Ethnomusicology under Professor Michael Frishkopf and Prof Regula Qureshi. He is a Sarangi exponent, singer and composer. He has performed across the globe both as a soloist and collaborating with world renowned artists such as Ustad Aashish Khan, Grammy winner Pandit Dhruba Ghosh, Pandit Yogesh Samsi, Pandit Birju Maharaj and Hollywood composer Rick Boston.

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Leonard Ratzlaff

Leonard Ratzlaff has been professor of choral music at University of Alberta since 1981. His duties include supervising the Department of Music’s graduate programs in choral conducting, and directing the Madrigal Singers, one of Canada’s pre-eminent university choirs, who have garnered national and international awards for their performances and recordings. He is also artistic director of the Richard Eaton Singers, Edmonton’s symphonic chorus, who in addition to their own series of concerts, are frequent guests of the Edmonton Symphony, Alberta Baroque Ensemble and Edmonton Youth Orchestra. His research interests span the entire gamut of choral music, but his focus on Canadian music has resulted in premieres of works by Archer, Bevan, Estacio, Fisher, Forsyth, Hatzis, Krapf, Henderson, Martin, Raminsh, Rolfe and Sirett. Honours include induction into the Alberta Order of Excellence, Order of Canada, and Royal Society of Canada. Most recently Ratzlaff received the University of Alberta’s Graduate Teaching Award, as well as Choral Canada’s Distinguished Service Award at its Podium 2018 conference in St. John’s NL.

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University of Alberta Madrigal Singers

The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers , under the direction of Leonard Ratzlaff, is an auditioned choir of around 35 singers that has distinguished itself over three decades as one of Canada’s finest university choirs.  The choir’s membership is comprised of mainly music students but is open to singers from across campus through auditions each September. The Madrigal Singers perform in Convocation Hall on campus, and at other venues in Edmonton, including Winspear Centre and various churches.  They have sung frequently as guests of the Edmonton Symphony, Alberta Baroque Ensemble and Pro Coro Canada. 

Beyond Edmonton, the choir frequently tours western Canada, and in recent years has participated in University Voices, a festival of Canadian university choirs held in Toronto.  They have performed at the national conventions of Choral Canada and the American Choral Directors Association, as well as the Alberta Music Conference. Winners in the Canadian Competition for Amateur Choirs on four occasions, their international successes have included First Prizes at competitions in Germany and Ireland. The Madrigal Singers have released five recordings, two of which (Balulalow and The Passing of the Year) won the National Choral Award from Choral Canada for best Canadian recording.


Sherry Steele

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Varijashree Venugopal

Varijashree Venugopal has performed extensively in and around the country including the USA, UK, Australia, Malaysia, Italy, Kuwait, etc.  She was invited as a speaker for the World Vocal Congress 'LA VOCE ARTISTICA' at Italy, to share thoughts on Indian vocal music.  Varijashree has also been performing as a flautist, by accompanying her father, H S Venugopal in his flute concerts and playing solo flute concerts.  She is part of the popular South Asian contemporary cross-genre quartet 'Chakrafonics', along with Sri Praveen D Rao, Sri Ajay Warriar and Sri Pramath Kiran.

Varijashree is popular for her rare ability to scat Jazz compositions using Indian Sargam system (solfege), which she calls ‘Carnatic Scat Singing’. This has gained her a lot of appreciation from music lovers from all over the world.

Having trained in one of the strongest classical forms of music – Carnatic, Varijashree finds her own space and unique language by beautifully fusing different genres of music, yet retaining the authencity of her music. These cross cultural experiments have led to her latest music singles ‘Devamanohari’, ‘Cloud 11’, and ‘Javali & Shayri’ which have been greatly appreciated by music lovers.

She has been featured as a guest performer on records like ‘The Bridge’ by Mr Christian Galvez also featuring Fareed Haque; and, ‘Trypnotyx’ by 5 time Grammy winner Mr Victor Wooten also featuring Mr Dennis Chambers and Mr Bob Franceschini.  Varijashree has collaborated, recorded and performed with veteran musicians like Mr Praveen D Rao, Mr Siva Mani, Mr Hariharan, Mr Riccardo Nova, Mr Christian Galvez, Mr Victor Wooten, Mr Louiz Banks, Mr Sandeep Chowta, Mr Ricky Kej, Mr Rajesh Vaidya, Mr Lesle Lewis, etc,.


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WAJJO African Drummers

Formed in 1990, WAJJO African Drummers introduce African music to a Western audience and creating, through collaboration with musicians from other ethnic backgrounds, an indigenous musical tradition that is a reflection of Canada’s rich cultural diversity. Recently Wajjo performed in Toronto for Grey Cup on November 24,
2007 at Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and opened at Edmonton popular Heritage Festival for one of Canada’s top female Artist Natalie MacMaster on August 3, 2008. Wajjo also performed in Victoria, BC on December 2009 and in Quebec City on October 2011.


Shelley Younge


University of Alberta Opera Workshop


Thank you to University of Alberta: Office of the Dean of Students and Information Services & Technology for their continued support and encouragement.

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Territory on which this concert is being held, a welcoming place for peoples from around the world. We would like to acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous peoples whose footsteps have marked this territory for centuries such as: Cree, Saulteaux, Niisitapi (Blackfoot), Métis, Nakota Sioux.


Concert Poster
Available Here

Concert Program
Available Here