Violin adjudicator picked up the instrument at age four

Festival Fanfare

Last week, Marcia McLean, the adjudicator opening the Battlefords Music Festival was introduced. McLean, who hails from Swift Current, will offer her experience for vocal solo, duets, ensembles, and choir entries.

This discipline is currently scheduled to run from Saturday, April 1 to Monday, April 3. The band discipline is currently scheduled Tuesday, April 4 to Thursday, April 6. The adjudicator for these sessions is Wayne Toews who began to study the violin at the age of four.

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Toews sang with the Westmount Boys Choir under Donald Forbes and served as concertmaster of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra. He studied violin and composition with Dr. Murray Adaskin at the University of Saskatchewan where he earned B.A. and B.Ed. degrees. He played for nine seasons in the Saskatoon Symphony, first on violin and later on viola. He performed on double bass and percussion in the U of S concert band under Dwaine Nelson. He holds a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Toews taught music in Saskatoon public schools from 1969 until his retirement from Aden Bowman Collegiate in 2001. From 1983 until 2009, he was director of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra, which won the Canadian Music Educators’ Association’s national performance award for excellence six successive times and held the award from 1993 until 2005.

Since his retirement, he has been active as a clinician and adjudicator across Canada. He was the instructional designer for the University of Saskatchewan's online theory course. After studying conducting at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo in 1983, he edited the English edition of the Saito Conducting Method textbook that was published in Tokyo in 1988.

In 2005, he founded Conductor School and is known internationally for his teaching of the Saito conducting method. In addition to nine annual international workshops in Saskatoon, he has taught conducting at the Universities of Memphis, Saskatchewan, Alaska (Fairbanks) and at Rivers Conservatory (Boston). In 2012, he travelled to Salvador, Brazil to help establish a conducting component for the NEOJIBA orchestral program.

Toews has given presentations at many provincial and national conventions and festivals about conducting and music education. He has been guest conductor of professional orchestras, university ensembles, honour bands and honour orchestras. He conducted the premieres of 15 works by Canadian composers.

Toews has composed more than 50 works for band, orchestra, choir, solo voices, solo instruments and small ensembles. He received the Outstanding Achievement Award from Saskatchewan Music Educators’ Association in 1987, the Golden Wheel Award for Excellence in Arts and Education from the Rotary Clubs of Saskatoon in 1990, the Orchestral Development Award from the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association in 2001, the Saskatchewan Band Association’s Distinguished Band Director Award in 2009 and an honorary life membership in the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association in 2013.

He was made a life member of the Saskatoon Musicians Association, January 2015.

Toews currently lives in Saskatoon with his wife Judy. Their daughter Regan is a professional violist and their son, Adam, is a tubist. Toews serves as national chair of the orchestra division of Musicfest Canada and is secretary of the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association.

Once entries are compiled and the program organized, official dates and times for the various disciplines will be officially set. Meanwhile the tentative discipline schedule is voice/choir April 1-3, band/instruments/ensembles April 4-6, speech arts/musical theatre April 4-6, strings April 7 and piano April 7-9.

With the overlapping schedules, solo participants are asked to email the committee if they are part of an ensemble such as a band or choir, to help with co-ordinating the festival program. It is also helpful if teachers entering ensembles email a list of participants so as to minimize schedule conflicts.

The festival will culminate with a celebratory gala at the Dekker Centre where festival highlights will be showcased and awards distributed. Email with any questions or if you are interested in volunteering.

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”

— Maria von Trapp

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