Judges/ Accompanists

JUDGES

*Under review*

Mark Sullivan

(Vancouver, BC.) “A force in the world!” says Grammy nominated fiddler, Liz Carroll.  Among his many awards, Mark Sullivan is a 3-time Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion and is widely regarded as one of the finest fiddlers in North America today.  He is in demand as a spirited performer and continues to collaborate with many of the finest names in traditional music today.

Mark holds his Masters in the Science of Education and is a regular instructor at Music Camps throughout the country.  He has numerous recordings available online.  Mark grew up playing for dances and learning from old time fiddlers in Ontario.  Mark has called Vancouver, BC his home for the past 10 years.  Visit: www.marksullivan.ca

Calvin Vollrath

(St. Paul, AB.) Recognized internationally for his performing, teaching, judging and composing abilities, in 1982, Calvin released his 1st album and this year, he has released his 70th album. He has composed over 700 tunes, many of which have become standard contest and dance tunes played across North America and Europe.

Calvin is a driving force behind the revitalization of fiddle music in Canada. Calvin was commissioned to compose 5 fiddle tunes for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies to represent various Canadian Fiddle styles. He is well-sought out to play fiddle on countless recordings of other artists and has shared the stage with the likes of Willie Nelson and Vince Gill. He has been recognized with several honors including induction into the ‘North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame’ and having his name displayed on St. Paul’s ‘Home of’ welcome sign.

He is a proud founding member of the Alberta Old Tyme Fiddler’s Association, Wild Rose Old Tyme Fiddler’s Association and the Alberta Society of Fiddlers.  Immediately following the GNAOTFC, Calvin will celebrate the 14th annual ‘Camp Calvin’ in St. Paul, AB, offering quality instruction in fiddle, piano & guitar.  Calvin is pleased to be judging the Grand North American having been twice crowned champion in 1985 & 1989 before retiring from competitions.  Visit: www.calvinvollrath.com

Patti Kusturok

(Winnipeg, MB.) North American Fiddlers' Hall of Fame member Patti Kusturok's old time fiddle style is characterized by a pulsating, rhythmical lilt that is guaranteed to get you on the dance floor. Often referred to as one the smoothest fiddle players in North America, Patti is known for her effortless delivery of some of the best traditional Canadian fiddle music of all time.

At the age of four, Patti began to learn playing the fiddle, and has a resume that reads like that of an Olympic champion. A few to her credit includes the Canadian Junior Champion (1985), 3-time Champion at the famous Pembroke, ON competition, 6 time Manitoba Champion, 3 time Grand North American Champion, and in 1994, 1995 and again in 1996, Patti won the prestigious Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship in Ottawa, ON. Patti was the first woman in the history of Canada to ever win and was the very first person from Western Canada to attain the crown. Visit: www.pattikusturok.com

Daniel Gervais

(Edmonton, AB.) Daniel has been playing the violin since the age of five. He plays a variety of fiddle styles and classical violin. In 2014, Daniel completed a Master of Music degree in classical violin at the University of Alberta studying with Dr. Guillaume Tardif. During his studies, Daniel was awarded a national-level research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Daniel has had the opportunity to perform at many prestigious events: a fiddle soloist performance with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 2017 and as cultural ambassador of Alberta at the 2012 London Olympics.  In the spring of 2012, he performed for a reception at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City.  Daniel has toured with Zéphyr, a French-Canadian dance group, performing at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., Mondial des cultures in Drummondville, PQ, the Folkmoot USA Festival in North Carolina, and Festival Interfolk in France. Daniel has also had several television and radio appearances. In 2010, he was a guest artist with The Lost Fingers, performing at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, ON.
Daniel is the first Albertan to win the Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Competition. Daniel first competed in the Canadian Grand Masters in 2003 and returned to this competition in 2004 and again in 2008, finishing in the top eleven both times. He then won in 2011 and later in 2016, the year that the competition was hosted in Alberta for the first time.

Daniel’s community awards include the Eugène-C. Trottier award in 2014 from the French-Canadian Association of Alberta (ACFA) for community involvement. Daniel was also awarded the Prix Sylvie Van Brabant-Excellence en création artistique (2010) by the Regroupement artistique francophone de l'Alberta and the City of Edmonton Arts and Culture Award (2007).

Daniel currently teaches as sessional faculty at MacEwan University in the jazz and popular music program. Daniel has had experience teaching a variety of students of different ages and abilities in collaboration with other music organizations such as the National Arts Centre MusicAlive! program, Calvin Vollrath Fiddle Camp and the North Eastern Music Association in St. Paul, AB, the John Arcand Fiddle Fest, Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party and the Pelletier Guitar and Music Camp in Saskatchewan, The Hills are Alive Music and Dance Cultural Fest in Elkwater, AB, Frontier Fiddlers in Manitoba, and the Suzuki Strings and Fiddleheads in Whitehorse, YT. In 2010, Trad'badour in collaboration with Canadian Parents for French completed a school show tour of over 90 presentations in Western Canada.

Daniel has eight albums to his credit, including three solo albums, Flying Fiddle (2003) and Endless Possibilities (2005) and Old Red Barn (2013), Looking Back, 25 Years (2016) and Mostly Original (2019).  In 2006, he was nominated for “Young Performer of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Daniel is a founding member of Trad’badour, a French-Canadian duo, with Roger Dallaire and Hot Club Edmonton with guitarist Clinton Pelletier.  Hot Club Edmonton was awarded "Instrumental Album of the Year" at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2010. Visit: www.danielgervais.ca

MC FOR CHAMPIONSHIP

Randy Jones

(High River, AB.) Randy was born and raised in Tofield, Alberta.  He began playing the violin/fiddle at the age of nine. Randy’s dad taught him to read music, and, with a repertoire of tunes, Randy was soon playing for dances and competing in fiddle contests.

Randy has been an instructor at music camps and workshops in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.  Instructing  at  music  camps  and workshops, playing for many old tyme dances, judging contests and participating and organizing fiddle jamborees have afforded Randy many opportunities to play the musical style he loves so well.

As well as being a judge at the Grand North American Fiddle Championship numerous times, Randy has coached with the Bow Valley Fiddlers and been the Music Director of the Prairie Mountain Fiddlers.  As president of the Alberta Society of Fiddlers, he has been directly involved in promoting the love of fiddle music to young and old alike.

MC FOR JUNIOR SHOWCASE

Melanie Smith-Doderai

(Fort Saskatchewan, AB.) Melanie Smith-Doderai holds a B.A, B.Ed and M.Ed.  Melanie is an active member of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association, holds an Advanced Specialist Certification from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada and has published ten theory books for string instruments through Mel Bay Publications. Melanie has been awarded the 2009 Excellence in Music Teaching Award as well as the CMFTA Award for Recognition of Professional Achievement from 2010 to present.

Currently, Melanie performs with the Divertimento Baroque Ensemble, with Vivace Strings and Keys and as Canada's first aerial silk violinist. Melanie believes that a well-rounded music program in the hands of a skilled and dedicated teacher will foster an enduring love of music in all students. Her goal is to inspire students to love music and to promote musicality and a commitment to lifelong learning in all of her students. You can check her out at www.silkandstrings.ca

ACCOMPANISTS

Blaine Lutwick

(Lacombe, AB.) After a year and a half of music lessons, Blaine Lutwick was told by his music teacher that he would never get anywhere playing by ear! At age 7, his father sat him down and taught him three chords on the piano in the key of C (C, F, G), and he was on his way.

Blaine has been part of many bands. The Sole Shakers - for thirteen years he and Randy Jones played a lot of different venues and travelled a lot of miles.  Bow Fever - for five years, Blaine was director and accompanist for this young, energetic, and dynamic fiddle group.

Once Blaine started jamming with Randy, he learned what fiddle contests and jamborees were all about. "I have to say... my greatest music rush is sitting behind fiddle players and backing them up at fiddle contests and jamborees." Blaine, a very accomplished musician and teacher at fiddle camps, is no stranger to the contest scene. His infectious smile and love of old-tyme music exemplify the true spirit of this event. He also freelances with fiddlers across the province on numerous occasions. Blaine has been house accompanist for the Grand North American Old Time Fiddle Championships for many years.

Marlee Heesing

(Okotoks AB.) As part of the Gates Family Band, Marlee grew up promoting fiddle music throughout Alberta by playing for jamborees, festivals, and her favourite: old time dances! Along with learning the fiddle by ear, Marlee has her ARCT Diploma in Classical Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music.  Marlee currently lives in Okotoks with her husband and daughter and enjoys serenading them both with new songs on the ukulele!

SOUND TECHNICIAN

Dennis Thompson

From Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, is a self-taught guitar player who has always enjoyed live music. Dennis has been able to hone his craft by being a sound engineer for events such as Josephburg Presents, Fort Saskatchewan Legacy Park Family Festival and numerous other shows.

Dennis then decided to take his passion to the next level and started Fort Sight & Sound five years ago to help promote local musicians. During this time, he has enjoyed meeting many musicians of all genres. Fort Sight & Sound is able to accommodate indoor and outdoor venues from a single person to a full band. Contact Fort Sight & Sound at dennis@fortsightandsound.com.

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