Whether performing, recording, teaching, working as an artistic director or serving as an executive for organizations that further music programs and culture, Gerry Hébert has always been a strong advocate for the live music scene in Alberta and beyond.
Throughout his impressive list of accomplishments the same message continually percolates to the surface: Hébert is dedicated to bringing out the musical best in everyone. This dedication is evidenced in producing concerts and recordings in which all participants are challenged and engaged creatively and expressively. At these moments, Hébert’s music takes flight and inspires the listener to explore creative and emotional possibilities. The same applies in classrooms and clinics where Hébert works with students and professionals who are invited to excel and learn to love the process.
Ask anyone about music in Calgary and Hébert's name is likely to come up. When Calgary Inc. featured him in its annual Top 40 under 40 award, the magazine said, “He has helped raise Calgary's profile in the national and international jazz community by making the city a destination for musicians.” His reputation and propensity for undertaking large-scale projects has been a large part of this success.
He studied music in Paris, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Grande Prairie Regional College and the University of Calgary, where he received his bachelor of music with a major in secondary education in 1990. Hébert was the artistic director of destination central for jazz in Calgary, the Beat Niq Jazz & Social Club, for 12 years. He has served 2 terms as president of the Calgary Musicians Association and served onthe board of JazzYYC, Calgary’s Jazz Collaborative (www.jazzyyc.com) for 8 years. Starting in September 2022, he started a contract with JazzYYC as the Operations Manager.
Born and raised in Alberta, Hébert has worked as a professional musician for more than 30 years and has enjoyed a busy playing career that included being a founding member of The Swinging Bovines, a professional touring saxophone quartet that played over 500 concerts internationally. His performance credits include many appearances with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, multiple professional theatre productions, the Calgary Jazz Orchestra and his own Gerry Hébert Quartet which has released 3 CD recordings. Overall he has appeared on over 25 CD recordings and numerous television and radio broadcasts. Among the most recent praises sung for his recordings by such luminaries as Canadian band leader Hugh Fraser and international jazz master Kenny Werner, who said "Gerry has created an environment and it's what makes jazz more interesting than a series of solos. . . "
Mezzo Soprano Maura Sharkey Pryma has enjoyed teaching voice and performance artistry to young and mature singers for over 20 years. After 15 years of teaching at MacEwan’s University’s Conservatory of Music, she now holds a position as sessional instructor at MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts Program, and teaches privately in-person and online from Edmonton, Canada. With a cross-training studio that combines traditional pedagogy with 21st century musical theatre singing pedagogy, Maura strives to remove fear by taking risks and making noises, and cultivating greater awareness of physical sensations. She trains and mentors students in musical theatre, classical, contemporary commercial music, song interpretation, breathing and vocal techniques, basic physiology, aspects of voice and speech, and acting training. Besides teaching privately, she instructs a class called Learn English Through Singing (LETS), an in-person and online 10-week course with a focus of learning English as an additional language through contemporary songs.
Maura Sharkey-Pryma began voice study at the University of Alberta, receiving a Bachelors of Music (1997) and a Masters of Music (1999). She continued her operatic training at the Salzburg Mozarteum Sommerakademie (1997 & 1999) and with Canadian opera training intensives, Opera NUOVA (1999 & 2000) and The Opera Project (2001 & 2003). In 2019, she earned certification of completion of the Vocal Pedagogy Professional Workshop Course at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In 2021, Maura successfully completed Level 3 Somatic Voicework™ training with The LoVetri Institute through Baldwin Wallace University.To that end, Maura still studies voice regularly, attends workshops, maintains a physical practice, and works on her own performance in order to best serve her students.
Shee, a native of Malaysia, began his piano studies and received his LRSM (London) in piano performance. After finishing his piano studies he switched to violin at the age of 14 under the tutelage of Ho Boon Thiam in Singapore. Upon graduating from high school, he moved to United States and continued his violin studies with Dr. Tony Brandolino and Phyllis Skoldberg and later received his B.Mus, and M.Mus in violin performance. While in Arizona State University, he served as teaching assistant to Dr. Skoldberg and in University of Iowa to Katie Wolfe. He was awarded an outstanding senior performer in his undergraduate study and also the National Scholars Honor Society award. He was also a well sought out accompanist when working on his studies in United States.
He received further training from attending Great Mountain Music Festival in South Korea (GMMF) and Domaine Forgét International Music Festival in Canada with variety of teachers from Julliard, Paris Conservatory and Indiana University.
As a music educator, Shee has taught at Lucky Music School, Schumann Music Center, SRJK(C) Foon Yew No.4 elementary school in Malaysia. In Canada, he has taught violin and viola in the Academy String Program at the Medicine Hat College Conservatory and the “Bring Back the Music” program in public schools in Medicine Hat. During the summers he has also taught at the Turtle Mountain Music Camp in Crowsnest Past, AB. Shee is also a well sought after adjudicator in Alberta and Southern Saskatchewan.
Shee also an accomplished orchestral player, having played in many orchestras in the United States and Canada such as Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra (Sub) and TMF Orchestra (Sub), Lethbridge Symphony, Symphony of the Kootenay and Kamloops Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he performed in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge alongside many of his established colleagues including: Gabe Kastelic, Airdrie Robinson, John-Paul Kasiazek, Christine Bootland, Benjamin Thacher, Dr. Brian Buckstead, Elaine-Dobek Shandro, Shauna Kolhs Walters, and Robert Bardston.
Mary Elizabeth is the owner of Communications Archer. She has been working with not-for-profits and primarily arts and culture organizations through her business for more than ten years doing everything. She has over 25 years of experience in marketing, public relations, event management, fund development, media and volunteer management.
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.