Dan Horner

Dan Horner began his music studies in Scarborough where he took trumpet lessons from trumpet player and composer, Vince Gassi.  Further studies at Queen’s university gave him experiences as a research assistant, an assistant conductor for the Queen’s Symphony Orchestra, and part time work with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. 

Since graduating, he has worked 25 years as a music teacher in Ontario and is the current Head of Music at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora.  He is the co-founder of the York Music Camp and has adjudicated at the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival, Music Alive, at the Musicfest National Finals in Ottawa.   He has also served for over 10 years as the conductor of the Toronto Youth Symphonic Winds.

During his summers, Dan is the assistant director of SHAD-Carleton, in Ottawa.  He also likes to golf and has spent many years failing to learn Korean as an attempt to justify his many hours spent on Korean dramas and Kpop.

Megan Benjafield is a passionate educator whose teaching career spans 25 years across three school boards. She has taught in the TLDSB, the TDSB and the HWDSB covering courses in strings, band, voice, music theatre and contemporary music studies. Most notably, Megan spent a decade on faculty at Etobicoke School of the Arts, and more recently, was lead teacher for the HWDSB Secondary Strings program, as well as holding positions in two key arts programs within the HWDSB; the ABPA program and ArtSMART.

Megan Benjafield

Beyond the classroom, Megan has provided professional development across Ontario to peers, colleagues, and future music teachers as a regular presenter for OMEA and invited presenter at UWOMESA, the Waterloo Region DSB and for Long and McQuade. As a member of the first-draft curriculum revision writing team for the current Ontario Secondary Music Curriculum, Megan collaborated to help shape the future direction of music education in Ontario. She was also a member of the board of directors for the Ontario Strings Association from 2016-2023. Currently, Megan is a sessional faculty professor at McMaster University, teaching strings methods.

As a professional performer, Megan held a first violin chair in the Niagara Symphony Orchestra for over a decade and has been a substitute player for many professional orchestras across Southern Ontario. As an interdisciplinary artist, Megan has been a sought-after incidental music composer for various theatre companies, and wrote, directed and music-directed her own original musical Breadwinner at the Toronto Fringe Festival. She has further performed as a singer and songwriter in several groups, including as lead singer of the funk band HipBone.


Megan is currently working as Music Education Manager for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and is the General Manager for the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Pat Collins was raised in Qualicum Beach, B.C. He attended Malaspina College in Nanaimo, B.C., and in 1986 received a grant from the Canada Council to attend the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, Ma., where he studied for two years. In 1988, Pat moved to Toronto, where he has been very active on the Canadian jazz scene, performing with great musicians such as Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Herb Ellis, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Cobb, Ed Bickert, Rob McConnell, Moe Koffman, Oliver Jones, Peter Appleyard, Diana Krall, Don Thompson, and many others. He has appeared as a sideman on approximately fifty recordings. In addition to his busy performing schedule, Pat is also in demand as an educator and clinician. Pat joined the full time music faculty of Mohawk College, in Hamilton, Ontario in September 2005, and is also very active as a clinician and adjudicator across Canada. He has also taught at the Kincardine Summer Music Festival, the Humber College Summer Jazz Workshop, and at “The” Jazz Camp, in Parry Sound.

Pat Collins

In January, 2005, Pat released his first CD as a leader, on Cornerstone Records, entitled “In The Moment” featuring some of Canada’s premier jazz musicians, Mike Murley, Reg Schwager and Barry Elmes. The CD has received rave reviews, including “In The Moment is a CD that’s very easy to like”, (Richard Bourcier,, and “This is a classy contribution to the jazz canon”, (Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star). The Pat Collins Quartet was nominated for a 2005 National Jazz Award as “Acoustic Group of the Year”, “Album of the Year” in 2006, and Pat was nominated as “Acoustic Bassist of the Year” in 2005 and 2006.

Cheryl Ferguson

Cheryl Ferguson received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance (French horn) and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND).  She has also done graduate work at Southern Oregon University, and has earned a Master in Curriculum Studies (Music Education) at Acadia University (Nova Scotia). 

Cheryl has taught music at every level, including K-6 general music classes, ten years running junior high band programs, and has been in her current position as Director of Bands at Fort Richmond Collegiate since 2006.  Cheryl has also been the Director of Concert Band at Canadian Mennonite University for the past 8 years.

Cheryl has completed the Canadian Wind Conductor’s Development Program Levels I and II.  She is active as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor, including conducting the 2010 Manitoba Junior Provincial Honour Band,  the 2017 Manitoba Intermediate Honour Band, and many regional Honour Bands across the Prairies.  She has adjudicated at band and chamber music festivals across the Prairie Provinces and in North Dakota.  She has also been a guest conductor for the Red Deer College Adult Concert Band, the Alberta Youth Wind Symphony, the Regina Catholic Schools Honour Band, and for the Prairielands Jazz Camp.


The Fort Richmond Collegiate band program, under Cheryl’s direction, was awarded the Don Green Award at the 2011 Optimist Band Festival in Winnipeg.

In 2013, Cheryl received the Manitoba Band Association Award of Distinction recognizing an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to music education in Manitoba.  In 2014, she received the I. Keith Mann Outstanding Band Director Award, national recognition given to one band director in Canada per year.  Cheryl was also awarded the Community Hero Award from the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 2018.

Cheryl serves as French horn instructor at Canadian Mennonite University, and maintains a private studio of private French horn students.  She continues to perform with the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble and the Ferguson Family Brass Quartet. She has conducted the Adult Advanced Band at International Music Camp for several years. 

Cheryl serves the band community in Manitoba through significant service to the Manitoba Band Association, including being the Concert Band Festival Chairperson,  the Manitoba Honour Band Administrator, Co-chair of the MBA Solo Challenge, and a Regional Representative on the MBA Board.

In 2016, Cheryl was invited to record a TED Talk on Motivating People toward Excellence.   The talk is available on YouTube and in the link below:

Dr. Sommer Forrester

Dr. Sommer Forrester serves as an Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She teaches undergraduate music education courses in instrumental music and conducting, advises undergraduate music majors, conducts the UMass Boston Orchestra, and oversees all aspects of the Music Teacher Licensure Program. A former classroom teacher, Forrester taught instrumental music for eight years in three different countries: Kuwait, Palestine, Israel, and Canada. 

Dr. Forrester’s research explores teacher education, teacher knowledge, curriculum, and conducting pedagogy. Forrester is published in prominent peer-reviewed research journals and practitioner journals in the United States and Canada. Forrester is an award-winning educator and highly sought after guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. 

Dr. Forrester earned her PhD in Music Education from the University of Michigan with a cognate in Wind Conducting; a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Michigan; a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto; and an Honors Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Western Ontario.

Mary Ann Fratia

Mary Ann Fratia earned her B.Mus.Ed. and B.Ed degrees from the University of Toronto and her M.Sc in Mus.Ed. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She has studied trumpet with Stephen Chenette, Ronald Romm, Fred Mills of the Canadian Brass, and Mel Broiles, Metropolitan Opera as well as conducting with Dr. Harry Begian.

Mary Ann has served as Head of Music and taught instrumental (concert band, strings, percussion, guitar), choral, instrumental and vocal jazz courses, served as the Arts/Music Coordinator for the Peel DSB and has taught and authored many music education (P/J, J/I and I/S) , assessment and integrated arts courses for pre-service educators at York University, OISE/UT (Masters of Teaching program), Toronto Metropolitan University and Ontario Tech University over the last 11 years.

She has worked as a TVO Kids Music Education Consultant and has taught numerous Music AQ/ABQ courses at York U, OISE/UT and more recently, at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Oscar Peterson School). She has been the recipient of numerous awards: OMEA Honorary Life Membership Award, Outstanding Teaching/Conducting Awards (OBA), Awards of Excellence (PDSB), Teacher Recognition Award (OSSTF), Outstanding Contribution to Jazz Education Award (IAJE) and has been a nominee for the Undergraduate Teaching Award (York U). She has conducted numerous award-winning instrumental, choral and jazz ensembles, served as an adjudicator at many music festivals, as well as been a regular contributor to many provincial and national music education journals while also serving on many committees such as numerous OMEA Conference committees, Canadian Band Association: Time to Share and the Coalition for Music for Music Education in Canada.

Allan Gaumond

Allan Gaumond is a graduate of the University of Toronto Jazz Performance program, where he studied saxophone with Mike Murley and Kirk MacDonald, before earning his Bachelor of Education from OISE/UT.  

A veteran music educator of over 20 years, Allanhas extensive experience in brass, woodwind, and percussion instruction.  Additionally, his ensemble leadership has resulted in countless accolades for his school and community jazz and wind ensembles, including Gold standards at Musicfest Canada and Worldstrides Heritage Festivals.  

Allan’s most prominent work has been with the Hamilton All Star Jazz organization, a group geared towards providing jazz enrichment opportunities for the community’s youth.  As the conductor for the Rising Stars Jazz Band, he was instrumental in establishing the organization’s Artist In Residence program, which has seen such Canadian jazz greats as Chase Sanborn, Kevin Turcotte, Alex Dean, and Al Kay work in collaboration with the ensembles’ young musicians.  Allan is currently the Artistic Director of the Hamilton All Star Jazz organization and the conductor of the Hamilton All Star Jazz Band.

Ron Palangio

Ron was born and raised in North Bay Ontario where he began studying guitar at the age of twelve. During high school he was an active member of the music program and began performing in local rock bands. In 1978 he moved to Hamilton Ontario to study Jazz and Classical guitar at Mohawk College’s Applied Music Program.  After graduating he performed as a freelance guitarist around the Toronto-Hamilton area. Ron continued his studies at McMaster University where he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Music (Summa Cum Laude) followed by a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. His versatility along with his skills in sight reading and improvisation made Ron an in demand guitarist in and around the area performing for professional theatre productions, big bands, dance, pop and classic rock groups.  

 Ron continues to perform regularly in clubs, restaurants and private venues in and around the Hamilton area. As a music educator was a high school music teacher for 29 years in Hamilton and directed several award winning Concert and Jazz Band ensembles. He founded the Golden Horseshoe Musicfest in 2006 and served as regional co-ordinator for the Festival until 2014. Besides teaching Band, Choir and Vocal music Ron initiated taught and designed the curriculum for the guitar programs offered at his schools. He taught adult guitar classes at Mohawk College and for the Hamilton Wentworth CDSB and maintained a busy private guitar teaching schedule throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. Ron has retired from secondary teaching but continues to teach guitar and theory privately at his home studio.

Joseph Resendes

Joseph Resendes is a Lecturer at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario where he conducts the Concert Band, Orchestra, and teaches courses in conducting and woodwind methods. Previously, he worked as a Lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Music and has specialized in teaching areas pertaining to musicianship, composition, history, and music education. Joseph has an active and diverse professional career that has earned him a reputation as a leading conductor and educator through his experience conducting student, community, and professional wind ensembles and orchestras. As an adjudicator and clinician, Joseph has worked with many Canadian band festivals at the local and provincial levels, while giving clinics and workshops to elementary and secondary schools across Canada.

His advocacy of new music and Canadian composers extends beyond his own composition contributions. In 2017, Joseph was involved in commissioning and premiering two original works for wind band by Canadian composers Gary Kulesha (Dance Suite), and Paul Suchan (Scenes of Plains Peoples). Further to his extensive credits as a conductor of traditional and contemporary instrumental ensembles, Joseph has worked with many notable professional artists on stage, and in the studio. This includes the Tenors (formerly the Canadian Tenors), multi Grammy award winning producer Steve Thompson, International tours with ‘Musica em Viagem’ (Azores Musical Journey) wind ensemble, in addition to conducting many highly acclaimed ensembles such as the University of North Texas Wind Symphony, and the University of Saskatchewan Wind Orchestra.

Born in Canada to parents of Portuguese heritage, he received his musical training at York University (B.FA – Woodwind performance, MA – Composition), and is working towards the completion of his PhD in musicology focused in wind studies. His studies in conducting include mentorship from many notable professionals including Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Dennis Fisher, Colleen Richardson, Bill Thomas, Gillian MacKay, while attending many symposia featuring clinicians Mark Scatterday, Craig Kirchhoff, Tim Reynish, Jack Stamp, and Glen Price. As a conductor, Joseph receives regular invitations to conduct or guest conduct orchestras, chamber ensembles, and wind ensembles locally and abroad. Joseph’s research interests investigates the dissemination of Canadian Wind Bands and its history, while exploring research interests associated with gesture, communication, and conducting pedagogy.

Dr. Jane Saunders

Dr. Jane Saunders is retired from her role as Arts Chair and music teacher for Lakehead Public Schools, where she taught in the elementary and secondary schools of Thunder Bay for 28 years. Most recently, Jane taught band and strings at Hammarskjold High School. Over her career, Jane taught thousands of students to play, sing, and celebrate the role of music in their lives. She currently instructs and supervises music teacher students at Lakehead University and is a board member of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association.

Jane was a 2010 nominee for MusiCounts Canadian Music Teacher of the Year. From 2000 to 2012, she conducted the Thunder Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra, and she now conducts the Thunder Bay Community Band (a 60-piece adult recreational group). Although the focus of her classroom teaching was band and strings, Jane enjoyed a great variety of music-making and teaching/learning with her classes, including guitar, choir, musicals, jazz, music festivals and performance tours.

Jane is the Editor of The Recorder, the journal of the Ontario Music Educators Association, and is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association. In both roles, she works with music teachers and students, and delivers workshops and professional development sessions. She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario – H.B. Music Education (1988), the University of Windsor – B. Ed. (1989), the University of Minnesota – Master of Arts (1994) and Lakehead University – Ph.D in Educational Studies (2004).

As an adjudicator, Jane has collaborated with instrumentalists and bands from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and a number of Ontario festivals over the past 13 years. Her lifelong love of band music began as a young child, watching the local brass band at Remembrance Day ceremonies in Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay).

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan Wong (he/him) is a Toronto-based conductor, performer, and educator. His wide-ranging work in concert, opera, musical theatre, and educational contexts is unified by a love for music’s communicative power and its ability to build communities in an inimitable way.

As a conductor, he is Music Director and Conductor of the Strings Attached Orchestra and Conductor of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra. He also serves as Instructor of conducting at Tyndale University. Previously he was Artistic Director of Ruckus: The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Alumni & Community Choir, Artistic Director of the Serenata Singers (Scarborough, ON), and Choral Director of the Northumberland Orchestra and Choir. He was twice a conducting fellow with Drs. Mark Hopkins and Gillian MacKay and the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, Apprentice Conductor with Orchestra Toronto, and a recipient of the College Band Directors National Association Mike Moss Conducting Study Grant. In opera, Jonathan was a 2020-21 RBC Future Launch Emerging Artist Fellow with the Association for Opera in Canada and was previously Artistic Director and Assistant Conductor of the Toronto Lyric Opera Centre. His principal conducting teachers have been Dr. Gillian MacKay and Ivars Taurins.


Jonathan’s experience as an award-winning clarinettist covers the gamut of solo, chamber, orchestral, and wind band playing. Career highlights include performing at Carnegie Hall as concertmaster of the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra and a concerto performance with the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble as a winner of the University of Toronto Winds Concerto Competition. A longtime band geek, Jonathan was the Manager of Education, Outreach and Technology with the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra. He was also Producer and Editor of The Band Room Podcast, connecting guests and listeners around the world.

Jonathan’s keyboard playing covers both modern and historical keyboards. He works regularly as a solo and collaborative keyboardist and continuo player. He has studied harpsichord and organ with Charlotte Nediger, Kevin Komisaruk, and Olivier Fortin.

Jonathan is fiercely committed to education in community, classroom, and private settings. In addition to teaching at Tyndale University, he teaches and coaches clarinet, piano, and voice, and he can be found leading sectionals, clinics, and masterclasses across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.

Jonathan holds an Advanced Certificate in Performance, Early Music (Harpsichord) and Bachelor of Music with Honours (Music Education, Clarinet) from the University of Toronto. He received the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award alongside multiple scholarships throughout his studies.