A native of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Sean Rice has performed extensively throughout North America and around the world. His broadcasts include recitals with CBC National Radio, performances for Swiss Radio DRS, and Newfoundland’s weekly music program,Musicraft. At an early age, Mr. Rice was invited to perform a matinee concert with the National Arts Centre Orchestra during their 2002 Atlantic Tour and since then he has appeared as soloist with Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Axiom, The New Juilliard Ensemble, Symphony Nova Scotia, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Memorial University Chamber Orchestra.
Gaining recognition as an exciting performer of contemporary music, The New York Times recently described Mr. Rice as a “technically precise, exuberant protagonist,” for his performance of Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Quintet. Mr. Rice has performed at Pierre Boulez’s Lucerne Festival Academy (2008-2010), New York City’s Museum of Modern Art Summergarden Series (2007-2009), The Juilliard School’s 2007 Chamberfest, The Juilliard School’s Focus! Festival, the National Arts Centre Young Artist Program (2005-2006), Banff Music Festival, and Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival. In addition, Mr. Rice has performed numerous chamber music recitals as a guest of Memorial University’s Faculty Recital Series.
Following his 2007 Montreal debut at Jeunesses Musicales, La Presse wrote: “…clarinettiste canadien Sean Rice y révéla une technique impeccable, une authentique musicalité, une sonorité tour à tour éclatante et chaleureuse, et un vrai talent de chambriste.” Mr. Rice continued the 2007/08 season in his first national tour with pianist Jean-Philippe Sylvestre for Jeunesses Musicales touring series. In addition to performances throughout Canada, Mr. Rice has performed in major cities in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Malaysia, Brazil, and most recently Japan where he presented recitals for the 2009 & 2010 Kyoto International Music Festivals.
Sean Rice is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland where he received his Bachelor of Music while studying with Paul Bendzsa. Continuing his studies under the tutelage of Charles Neidich, Mr. Rice graduated with a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and has maintained his studies there as a Doctorate of Musical Arts candidate. As a student at music festivals, Mr. Rice has had the fortune of studying with prominent clarinetists Kimball Sykes, Alain Damiens, Alain Billard, and Fan Lei. The recipient of numerous awards, Mr. Rice received first prize at the 2006 Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec Canadian Concerto Competition.
Samantha Whelan Kotkas is a professional trumpet player, teaching artist, storyteller and award-winning children’s book producer with over 20 years working in the Alberta, Canada and International Arts communities. She performs regularly with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Rosa Barocca, the Red Deer Symphony, Altius Brass and has authored several works which she has performed with Symphony Orchestras and Canada’s top jazz musicians.
Samantha is currently working on an immersive outdoor musical storytelling experience with original live and recorded music, story and dance called 'Wandering with Wonder'. This project will premiere at the Leighton Art Centre in the fall of 2020.
In conjunction with her active career as a performer, Samantha is the education advisor for Calgary Pro Musica and a teaching artist for the National Arts Centre of Canada (NAC) where she finds the cross-cultural work she does with Walter MacDonald White Bear, as part of the Music Alive Program, very meaningful. She has written outreach and music teaching guides for the NAC, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She is also the brass instructor at Central Memorial High School in Calgary, Alberta Canada. For more information about Samantha please visit her website at www.samanthawhelankotkas.com
Sherryl Sewepagaham is of Cree-Dene ancestry from the Little Red River Cree Nation in northern Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Music Therapy (Capilano University) and a Bachelor of Education (University of Alberta). Having taught elementary music for 14 years, Sherryl is an experienced elementary Music Educator focusing on Indigenous Music Education and First Nations songs for the classroom. Now as a Music Therapist, she works with Indigenous patients in the areas of Geriatric and Palliative Care at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, AB, but still continues to provide education workshops in schools on Fridays.
Sherryl is also a 22-year member of the 2005 Juno-nominated, Edmonton-based trio Asani and composes drum songs in the Cree language. Asani received a 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award, a 2010 Indian Summer Music Award, a 2005 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award, and many other music awards nominations. Asani toured extensively around the world performing at Carnegie Hall in New York, The Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C., and the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver BC.
Sherryl is also a composer of traditional and contemporary First Nations drum songs. Her 2014 debut solo album, Splashing the Water Loudly, received a 2015 Indigenous Music Award nomination and is featured in APTN’s Chaos and Courage series. Sherryl wrote the music and lyrics for the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program (MAP) song, “Music Alive”, which has been shared with elementary schools across Canada. Sherryl also created and co-created three teacher resources for the MAP program and continues to develop cultural programs for music teachers.
Walter MacDonald White Bear is a Cree singer-songwriter, educator, and motivational speaker originally from the First Nation of Moose Factory, Ontario. Walter has been performing acoustic and flute music for many years. His music is a reflection of his personal journey as a First Nations person in Canada. Performance highlights include The Edmonton Folk Music Festival, The Chiefs Summit with Tom Jackson, The Dream Speakers Festival, The Mountain Song Native Theater, and the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education. Walter has shared his cultural knowledge with various audiences from correctional services to principals, teachers and students. He has been invited to give keynote speeches on a range of topics, including social services, justice, education, wellness and the environment.