Tag Archives: music

Celebrate Unity tickets still available

You have three more days, to and including Friday, February 24, to pick you your early bird price Celebrate Unity tickets at the Unity Credit Union! You don’t want to miss this year’s event, a professional duelling pianos pair from Calgary, Alta.

Brian Burn and Jamie Mahn – Burn ‘N’ Mahn – have been together since 2013 and perform about 150 shows a year, across Canada and on cruise ships. They claim to have driven enough kilometres touring Canada to circle the globe five times!

There are many duelling piano groups out there, as the committee learned in their entertainment search. Burn ‘N’ Mahn are experienced, professional, talented and unique. Not only does the duo travel with two pianos, they also bring, and play, a saxophone, trumpet, flute, recorder, tin whistle, harmonica, accordion, guitar and mandolin.

Of course, you will also get to find out who this year’s exemplary service award winners are. One special group being recognized this year are the hard-working people behind the scenes of the Unity Music Festival, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year.

The annual gala, sponsored and organized by the Unity and District Chamber of Commerce and member businesses, takes place Monday, March 6 at the Unity Community Centre. The evening includes a catered supper as well as the award presentations and professional entertainment.

Celebrate Unity ad

Now, here is a little more information about this year’s entertainers:

Brian Burn has been playing professionally for more than 30 years. He started playing piano at age four and started playing with bands in high school. Brian has toured Canada from one end to the other many times and most of the United States. He has been nominated Canadian Country Music keyboard player of the year four times and has won the backup band of the year award twice. Brian also went to Afganistan in 2004 to play for our troops. Over the years Brian has played with many different artists as well as having his own band.

Jamie Mahn made his debut performance at the age of four singing at an Oktoberfest celebration. His first impromptu piano show took place at age 12 at the Holiday Inn, Niagara, N.Y., where he entertained snowbound guests by playing their many requests. Jamie spent his teenage years playing guitar, keyboard, trumpet, bass and sax, gaining experience with his father’s rock and roll band performing at weddings, charity functions and dances. At 21, he joined Carnival Cruise Lines and performed in the piano bars of 10 different ships for three years. Jamie followed that by spending three years in duelling piano bars in the U.S. He has lived and performed in Holland and Singapore.

Unity Music Festival scholarship and award winners

A number of scholarships and awards were handed out to students who played, sang and recited at the 88th annual music festival in Unity, Saskatchewan, the week of April 7 to 13. Participants were from Unity, Wilkie and Cut Knife.


Primary, 8 and under, Cut Knife CWL, $50 – Molly Orobko; primary, 10 and under, Unity Ladies Legion Auxiliary, $75 – Abby Rutley; elementary, 12 and under, Delta Co-operative Association Ltd., $100 – Zenon Orobko; junior, 14 and under, Unity Baptist Church, $125 – Kyra Huber; intermediate and senior (15 and over), Unity Knights of Columbus, $150 – Katherine Ulrich.

Unity St. Peter’s CWL, first year of instruction, $50 – Hailey-Lynn Aldred; Unity Lutheran Church, promising student up to and including age 12, $50 – Susannah Ulrich; Barbara Surine, duet/trio, $100 – Kyra Huber and Jolene Gruber; North West Terminal Ltd., promising student 12 and under, $50 – Ainsley Orobko; Joyce T. Smith Memorial, promising student 13 and over, $50 – Kabri Rutley.

Unity SK Music FestivalWilkie CWL, recital class 12 and under, $50 – Zenon Orobko; H.N. Wismer Memorial, recital class 13 and over, $50 – Jacelyn Stabbler; Wilkie CWL – test piece 12 and under, $50 – Abby Rutley; Wilkie Kinsmen, contemporary pop, 13 and over, $50 – Jolene Gruber; Saskatchewan Culture Centennial Legacy Scholarship (Sask. composer), $50 – Isaiah Mamer; Dr. M. Ashing Memorial, Canadian Class (12 and under) Award – Zenon Orobko; Wilkie Kinsmen, Canadian Class (13 and over) $50 – Jolene Gruber.

Unity Music Festival Association, Bach/Baroque (12 and under) Award – Owen Keller; Unity Music Festival Association, Bach/Baroque (13 and over) Award – Kyra Huber; Unity Music Festival Association, Sonata/Sonatina (12 and under) Award – Sophia Ulrich; Unity Music Festival Association, Sonata/Sonatina (13 and over) Award – Katherine Ulrich.

Myrtle Cleall Memorial Cup and keeper award, both donated by Battlefords Registered Music Teachers Association, $50 – Tyrell Kuhn; Wilma DeBelser Memorial Scholarship to a promising piano student, $100 – Jolene Gruber; Kathleen Keesey Memorial Scholarship, $100 – Katherine Ulrich; Dr. Fred and Evelyn Weeks Trophy and keeper award – Anthony Witzaney.


Primary, 8 and under, Cut Knife Royal Canadian Legion, $50 – Kaybree Spendelow; primary, 10 and under, Unity Elks Lodge, $75 – Ainsley Orobko; elementary, 12 and under, Cut Knife Elks Lodge, $100 – Rheanne Hofmann; intermediate, 14 and under, Unity Royal Canadian Legion and Unity Ladies Legion Auxiliary, $125 – Kyra Huber; senior, 15 and over, Unity Lions Club, $150 – split between Alison Kuhn and Rachel Mamer.

North West Terminal Ltd., first year of instruction, $50 – Jorja Gumpinger; Butch and Judy Boskill, musical theatre, 12 and under, $50 – Megan Bazley; Unity Order of the Royal Purple, musical theatre, 13 and over, $50 – Alison Kuhn; Cut Knife Elks Lodge, duet/trio, 12 and under, $100 – Ainsley Orobko and Rheanne Hofmann; Barbara Surine, duet/trio, 13 and over, $100 – Alison Kuhn and Rachel Mamer; Unity United Church Choir, sacred solo, $50 – Brooklyn Gray.

Glassford’s Funeral Home, recital class $50, Rachel Mamer; Unity Queen Esther OES No. 31, Canadian, $50 – Iza Belle Lucenio; Saskatchewan Culture Centennial Legacy Scholarship (Sask. composer), $50 – Megan Bloder; Barry and Chris DeRoo-Davisson, promising student, $50 – Molly Orobko; Unity Music Festival Association, folk song/ballad (12 and under) Award – Jenifer Deuchar; Unity Kilwinning Lodge, folk song/ballad (13 and over) – Katherine Ulrich; Wilma DeBelser Memorial  Scholarship to a promising vocal student, $100 – Rachel Mamer.


Division I

Don and Marilyn Wildeman Award and Unity Order of the Royal Purple, $50 – Unity Public School Grade 2

Division II

Louis and Grace Sloboda Award and Unity Lutheran Church, $50 – Unity Public School Choir; North West Terminal Ltd., choral speech, $50 – Unity Composite High School Grade 7; Len and Audrey Boxell Memorial Trophy and Scholarship, best school chorus, $100 – St. Peter’s School Choir; Vivienne Cantelon Memorial, deserving children’s chorus, $100 – ‘In Harmony’ Choir; Joyce M. Demerchant Memorial Children’s Choir Award and North West Terminal Ltd., $50 – St. James Junior Choir.


Unity Lions Club, open, $50 – St. Peter’s School Band, Grades 5 and 6; Unity Arts Council, open, $50 – Tyrell Kuhn (trumpet).


Wilkie CWL, $50 –Kyle Parker, piano; Wilkie Knights of Columbus, $50 – Anthony Witzaney, piano; Cut Knife Royal Purple, $25 – Adam Stifter, piano; Cut Knife Royal Purple, $25 – Wesley Shanner, piano; Cut Knife CWL, $50 – Shevaun Feser, vocal; Unity St. Peter’s CWL, $50 – Madison Gilbert, vocal; Wilkie United Church, $25 – Rachel Cey, vocal; Unity Kilwinning Lodge, $25 – Danielle Irons, vocal; Unity Queen Ester OES No. 31, $25 – Owen Keller, piano; Unity Queen Esther OES No. 31, $25 – Sophia Ulrich, piano; Unity Eureka Rebekah Lodge No. 58, $25 – Kaybree Spendelow, piano.

Unity Music Festival Association, Most Outstanding Performer of Festival trophy and keeper – Alison Kuhn.

Unity Music Festival Volunteer of the Year – Irene Thiessen-Campbell

From Red Deer to Serbia to Unity

Music teachers from throughout Saskatchewan will be in Unity Oct. 18 and 19, when the Battleford branch of the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association (SMRTA) hosts this year’s annual general meeting, convention and workshops.

playing the piano

Along with the Friday evening Keys and Chorales concert open to the public, the Satruday workshops specifically designed for music teachers are open to non-SRMTA members. Registration forms for the workshops are available online at the SRMTA website or call Diane Neil at 306-228-3782 or 306-228-8517.

The concert

The concert starts at 7 p.m., Oct. 18, at the Unity Baptist Church.

The Kamala Youth Choir, the most senior of the Battlefords’ children’s choirs, will be performing. Kamala has been awarded first place in the choral competition of the Saskatchewan Provincial Music Festival numerous times. In 2005 they won the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association Centennial Scholarship for choral singing. They have sung at the Saskatchewan Legislature, the Olympic torch relay ceremony and various festivals in Canada and Europe.

Also performing will be the piano duo of Dianne Gryba and Bonnie Nicholson.

Gryba is co-director of the Kamala Youth Choir along with Joanne Kasper, as well as being a recognized musician in her own right. For more on Gryba, please scroll down to “The afternoon workshops”.

Nicholson holds a number of music degrees and is a pianist, teacher and chamber musician from Prince Albert. She has been an adjudicator for the national tour of the Canadian music competitions. In June last year, she fulfilled a lifelong dream, touring and teaching in China, visiting universities in five major Chinese cities.

The morning workshops

Dale Wheeler, of Red Deer, Alta., an internationally recognized recitalist, accompanist, adjudicator and workshop clinician, will teach the morning workshops, Do You Hear What I Hear (teaching students to listen), and Proactive or Reactive (what kind of teacher are you?).

As well as having worked throughout Canada and the United States, he recently made a presentation at the European Piano Teachers Association Conference in Serbia. He is a senior examiner and clinician for the Royal Conservatory of Music.

The afternoon workshops

Gryba will present the afternoon sessions on working with vocal students: Engaging the Technical Singer and Engaging the Expressive Singer – realizing vocal potential for soloists and choristers.

As well as conducting the Kamala Youth Choir, Dianne Gryba works with other groups in the Battlefords, including other children’s choirs and the Gallery Singers. She teaches a large studio of private voice and piano students, and adjudicates festivals and facilitates workshops.