Board of Directors and Staff

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Do you believe in Music Education? Do you know someone who believes in Music Education?

Nominate yourself or someone else for our Board of Directors. We are currently looking for enthusiastic Board members.

Board Executive

Christine Bootland

Christine Bootland

Christine Bootland | CHAIR

Calgary native Christine Bootland began her love affair of cello with her first teacher, Fay Johnson who instilled in her a love of all music. She later moved to John Kadz at Mount Royal College (now University) Academy of Music and completed a Bachelor of Music Performance degree at the University of British Columbia with Eric Wilson and participated in the Masters Program at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Shauna Rolston.

Christine has been an active performer in various chamber ensembles and orchestras across Canada and was first prize winner in the CIBC National Chamber Music Festival Competition with the JEB Quartet. She is currently an active extra performer with the Lethbridge and Red Deer Symphonies as well as the Symphony of the Kootenays and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Her passion is to share her love of music through performing and teaching and doing educational outreach performance programs within the community. Christine's philosophy is to help create future generations of music lovers of all styles whether they be professionals, amateurs, or concert goers; each student is unique and her goal is to help them develop their own individuality and personality in their playing.

Christine has been on the faculty at Medicine Hat College Conservatory as cello instructor, ensemble coach, Academy Instructor and conductor and program coordinator for both the Community and Junior Orchestras since 2001 and the Bring Back the Music Program for public schools since 2013. In 2010 she was pleased to be invited to be a cello instructor at the University of Lethrbridge Conservatory of Music and is currently the String Academy Director of chamber music.

Michael Shi

Michael Shi

Michael Shi | TREASURER

Once an accountant, always an accountant. Like a musician, Michael uses a keyboard to balance the debit and credit; Unlike a musician, he enjoys reading numbers than notes from sheets. He recently started his musical journey by taking his daughter, Mina, to piano and cello lessons.

Michael is a CPA, CGA and ACCA (UK), working as a controller for both private and public companies. He is currently working towards his business valuation designation, CBV. Born and raised in China, he is a natural bilingualist (English/Mandarin).

Aside from adding things up, he likes to read non-fiction books. He is also training for half-marathon, hopefully a full marathon in the future. More importantly, under his wife’s influence, he is a mandatory supporter of his daughter’s musical education.

Joel Warren

Joel Warren

Joel Warren – SECRETARY

Joel Warren is one of Calgary’s up-and-coming trumpet players. Native to Calgary, he has been playing guitar since the age of 4, trumpet since the age of 12, and composing since the age of 16. Joel has had the opportunity to study with trumpet greats such as Jim Murray, Al Muirhead, and André Wickenheiser. He is currently working towards completing a Bachelor of Music in jazz performance at Ambrose University.

Joel is known for his unique blend of range, tonality, and soloing ability in his playing. His achievements of being the lead trumpet in the JazzYYC lab band, his advanced solos with the KASCI Jazz Combo, teaching music at New West Music Studio, and playing in theatre pit orchestras attest to his skill and talent as both a musician and teacher.

Joel has also had the opportunity to play with performers such as Jens Lindemann, Pat Belliveau, Jeff Antoniuk, Tyler Hornby, and Keith O’Rourke.

Rolf Bertsch

Rolf Bertsch

Rolf Bertsch – PAST CHAIR

Hailed for his passion and natural musicianship, Rolf Bertsch has quickly become one of Canada’s leading conductors. Appointed Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal by Charles Dutoit in January 2000 and named Conductor in Residence for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 seasons, he has built an impressive reputation as conductor, pianist, communicator, teacher and adjudicator. His career has spanned a wide spectrum of musical experience and styles and has taken him to Europe, the Orient, and throughout North and South America.

Laureate of numerous competitions, Rolf Bertsch served for many years as pianist of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, as well as solo pianist and subsequently, conductor for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. His career as pianist has included a solo performance with the OSM in New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall.

Rolf Bertsch’s career took an important turn when he was named Resident Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held from 1998-2001. During this highly successful tenure he also served as Music Director of the Calgary Civic Symphony Orchestra and Altius Brass, and worked regularly with Calgary’s chamber music ensemble Rosa Selvetica and at the University of Calgary.

Rolf Bertsch has conducted most of the orchestras in Canada including those of Montreal, Toronto, the National Arts Centre, Calgary, Edmonton, Québec, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Nova Scotia. He has collaborated with many of Canada’s and the world’s finest artists.

In the summer of 2005, he was part of an international faculty at the Canton International Summer Music Academy in Guangzhou, China. In the last year, he worked at the Canada Council for the Arts as the Program Officer for the Professional Orchestra and Opera/Music Theatre programs, overseeing the federal granting process for those communities.

Mr. Bertsch began his musical studies on the violin and went on to study piano, cello, composition, jazz, and conducting. He holds diplomas from a number of prestigious institutions including McGill University, the Mozarteum (Salzburg), the Conservatoire de musique du Québec (Montréal), the Folkwang Hochschule (Essen, Germany), and Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts).

In addition to his duties as Music Director and Conductor of the Calgary Civic Symphony, he currently teaches piano and coaches Academy program students at the Mount Royal University Conservatory and works as a freelance conductor, pianist and arts consultant.


Brigida Battistessa

Brigida Battistessa | CALGARY

A graduate of the University of Calgary, Music Educator and Flautist Brigida Battistessa has been teaching bands and choirs for 25 years with the Calgary Catholic School District. She has studied both wind conducting, choral conducting and is a tireless advocate for the importance of music education in schools. She has served as a member of the Alberta Band Association’s Board of Directors, the Calgary Area Regional Fine Arts Council, and is now serving as a board member for the Alberta Music Education Foundation.

She completed her M.Ed with a focus on The Implications of the Performing Arts in Schools.

A proponent of lifelong learning, she attended the prestigious Resnick School at Carnegie Hall in NYC 2018 where she was part of an International Summer Music Educator workshop at the Weill Institute. She is currently music director at St. Francis High School in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Robert George

Robert George | CALGARY

A native of southern Alberta, Robert George graduated from W.R. Myers high school in Taber, then studied at the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary. He holds Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Education and Master of Music degrees, and a graduate Diploma of Fine Arts in Wind Band Conducting. Mr. George has also completed course work toward a PhD at the University of Arizona.

Mr. George has been an active professional musician in orchestras, chamber music, church music and jazz for over thirty years. He has performed in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor. He has taught at the University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College as well as public school music programs in Calgary, Lethbridge and Coaldale, and has served as Music Director in various churches for over twenty years. He has also been on the Alberta Band Association Board of Directors; as a member at large, and then as Treasurer.

Robert George has been principal bassoonist for the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra since 1993. He instructs music classes at Lethbridge College, where he also directs the Chinook Community Orchestra, the Lethbridge College Community Winds, and the Lethbridge College Community Choir. He also maintains a private music studio of woodwind, theory and voice students, including some who have gone on to distinguished careers in music. During the past decade, he has become increasingly involved in research regarding musician health and injury prevention.

Jeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown | CALGARY

Jeremy Brown is a conductor, saxophonist, woodwind artist, author and Professor of Music and former Head of the Music Department at the University of Calgary. He has been both an artist-in-residence and lecturer at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Born in Seattle, Washington, he attended universities in New York, Ohio and Washington where he earned degrees in Music Education and Woodwind Performance.

His University of Calgary wind and jazz bands have been recognized for original programming and performing excellence; the U of C Jazz Orchestra won the Outstanding Ensemble Award at the 2013 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (Idaho) and 10 outstanding soloist awards at the 2014 Elmhurst Jazz Festival (Chicago).

Dr. Brown was the conductor of the 2017 National Youth Band of Canada. He is the artistic director and conductor of the Calgary Wind Symphony, considered among Canada’s premier wind bands. Founded in 1947, the CWS has performed under his direction at European festivals and conferences in 2004, 2011, and at the 2016 Music Conference Alberta as a featured ensemble.

Trudy Fossey

Trudy Fossey

Trudy is from Regina, participating in the Regina Lions Marching Band, teaching private and group lessons at the Conservatory and earned her Bachelor of Music Education at the University of Regina. Her teaching career began immediately in Regina and continued in Calgary. Trudy performed with the Regina Symphony Orchestra and now performs with the Calgary Civic Orchestra and many other community groups. Trudy started teaching in Calgary at Mount Royal Conservatory and had a studio of over 20 students for a few years. Following this, she took a school teaching position as a Band Teacher at John Ware Junior High School and taught there for 17 years. The band program grew to include Concert Band, Jazz Band, Music Arranging and Small Ensemble skills, Band Trips and Camps, Leadership/Followership skills, performing for Musicals and Talent Shows. She also taught Guitar and Drama and organized the Remembrance Day Ceremonies.

Trudy is the bugler for Century Downs Horse Races and the Peace Keepers Veterans.

Trudy is on the Board for the Foothills Brass Quintet, CADME and the CRCBA (Canadian Research Centre for Building Adaptibility) as well as the AMEF.

In her spare time, Trudy loves to spend some time with her family, working with kids in karate classes, teaching Self Defense, and training in strength and karate skills.

Trudy’s wish is to give music students engaging opportunities which will spark their performance levels, help them learn to work together as a team, and to be a good leader and follower!

Executive Director

Crystal Krips
Crystal Krips


Crystal Krips has spent the majority of her life balancing a career in both music and business. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she started her musical career by taking piano lessons, followed quickly by flute lessons and band.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan, attained simultaneously. Following her formal education, Crystal attained her Certified Management Accountant designation and ARCT diploma. Crystal has worked for Syncrude Canada Limited, Keyano College, Cantando Festivals, and most recently, St. Albert & District Further Education Association, where she was the Executive Director.

She is in demand as a flute clinician, and she maintains a successful private studio of flute and piano students. Crystal plays piccolo and flute in the New Edmonton Wind Sinfonia. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to AMEF and is excited to combine her two passions. When not working or practicing, Crystal enjoys taking Pilates classes, walking her dog, and spending time with her family.

Program Assistant

Maura Sharkey-Pryma
Maura Sharkey-Pryma


Mezzo Soprano Maura Sharkey-Pryma has enjoyed teaching voice and performance artistry to young and mature singers  for over 20 years, and instructs from both her private home studio and studio at the MacEwan Alberta College Conservatory of Music in Edmonton. She trains students in classical, musical theatre, contemporary commercial music, song interpretation, extensive breathing and vocal techniques. In addition to teaching, she serves as a provincial music festival vocal adjudicator.

Maura Sharkey-Pryma began voice study at the University of Alberta, continuing her training at the Salzburg Mozarteum Sommerakademie and with various Canadian opera training intensives. She has enjoyed a professional operatic career within Canada as well as the international stage. She is the 1998 winner of the Western Canadian Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, a two-time award winner of the Johann Strauss Scholarship (1997, 1999), and recipient of the Anne Burrows Foundation Scholarship (2001). She also was proud to represent Canada at the Queen Elizabeth Music Competition in Belgium in 2004.

In addition to her work as a freelance vocalist, Maura proudly served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Music Education Foundation (2011-2016). She has also co-authored a book with her husband Raymond entitled The Essential Music Recital Planner, a step-by-step customizable planner to assist music teachers and students in developing a successful recital. She is a proud member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Alberta Registered Music Teachers' Association and the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association.

Program Coordinators




  • Program Consultant:
    Mathias Silveira