Edmonton-based freelance trumpeter and music educator with 25-years of experience, Joel Gray has shared the stage with some of the world's finest artists, including Tommy Banks, PJ Perry, Slide Hampton, Diana Krall, Nikki Yanovsky, Lew Tebackin, Allen Vizzutti, Gino Vannelli, Kent Sangster, Hugh Fraser, Jens Lindemann, and commercial talents Frank Sinatra Jr., the Temptations, Gino Vannelli, Wayne Newton, and Rollanda Lee, to name a few.
Known for his versatility, Joel is in high demand in both jazz and classical genres. He is a regular performer with many local artists and diverse musical ensembles, including the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, The Edmonton Jazz Orchestra, The Edmonton Jazz Collective, Edmonton Opera, Pro Coro Canada, the Don Berner Sextet, the Prime Time Big Band, the Retrofitz, the Polyjesters, the Tommy Banks Big Band, The New Orleans Connection, and Capital Brass, to name only a few.
Joel is also a veteran in the orchestra pit, having performed many professional musical theatre productions, including the National Broadway Tours of Book of Mormon, Wicked, Marry Poppins, A Chorus Line, Billy Elliot, Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, as well as many local professional productions presented at the Citadel Theatre. He has recorded on over 30 CDs and performed numerous times for CBC radio, and played assistant principal trumpet with the ESO in Carnegie Hall in May of 2012, and was a featured soloist with the ESO in January of 2018 doing a "Tribute to Louis Armstrong."
As a music educator, Joel has been teaching since 1995, and teaches trumpet at MacEwan University and has taught at Augustana University and Keyano College. He is an instructor at MusiCamp Alberta and has adjudicated for the Cantando Music Festival, the Rocky Mountain Music Festival, the Foothills Jazz Festival, and the Kiwanis Music Festival. Since 2004, he has been the director of the award-winning “Littlebirds” big band.
Brian Thurgood obtained a Masters of Music Education in Jazz Studies from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Alberta. He has developed both a successful teaching and a varied performance career.
He was the Percussion/Drumset department head at MacEwan University from 1980 to 2020 where he designed, developed and implemented a successful program curriculum. Many of his students have continued to have careers in music either as educators or performers including drummers for such acts as Social Code, Nickleback, Jann Arden, Kathleen Edwards, Gord Bamford, Whale and the Wolf and K-OS.
Brian has performed as both a classical/pop percussionist and as a drum set artist. He has performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Opera, Alberta and Winnipeg Ballet Companies, Tommy Banks, Frank Sinatra Jr., Ian Tyson, Ashley MacIssac, Bela Fleck and Stewart Copeland. He has performed over 60 musicals including those at the Citadel Theatre as well as traveling musicals including Ain’t Too Proud, Mary Poppins, Phantom of the Opera, Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond.
Brian has also had several articles published in Downbeat and MusicCom magazines. He is also co-writer of “Percussion Clinic” published by First Stroke Publishing. In 2022, Brian purchased Brandenburg Music, an exclusively percussion store and in January 2024 aquired Handbells Etc..
Dr. Scott MacLennan is an active adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor who frequently works with ensembles, schools, honour groups, and festivals across Canada. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia and has been the Music Director of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Wind Ensemble and the Music Director at the Byng Arts Academy in the Performing and Visual Arts in Vancouver, B.C. For more than 30 years, he has taught bands and orchestras at all levels from elementary to post-secondary and performed extensively on bassoon. He has conducted his award-winning ensembles in various locations throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, China, the United States, and Canada. His ensembles have performed in such notable venues as Carnegie Hall, New York, USA, and Santa Maria della Pieta (Vivaldi’s Church) in Venice, Italy. In March 2011, with Johan de Meji’s endorsement, Dr. MacLennan conducted the Canadian premiere of his composition At Kitty O’Shea’s.
He holds a Bachelor of Music (1988) and a Bachelor of Education (1990) from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Music (2010) in Conducting (Wind Band) from Sam Houston State University, Texas, and a Ph.D. (2015) from the University of British Columbia. He studied conducting with Ken Hsieh, Morihiro Okabe, and Wayne Toews and participated in numerous conducting master classes given by Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Anthony Maiello, Ralph Hultgren, and Robert Ponto.
As an active music educator, he has worked for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to edit and draft curriculum for their VSO Connects (Secondary) program, chaired the BC Music Educator’s Association’s Conference Pulse 2006, and currently sits as a board member of the Chamber Music in the Schools Society, and the BC Band Association. He is a recipient of the BC Music Educators’ Association’s Outstanding Professional Music Educator’s Award in recognition of exemplary commitment, talent, and leadership for music education in British Columbia.
Pratik Gandhi (he/him/his) is a conductor, percussionist, clinician, and researcher based in Toronto. He currently serves as music director of the Rouge River Winds and sessional instructor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, where he directs the Wind Symphony. He was the founding music director of Soup Can Theatre and previously served as resident conductor for the Toy Piano Composers. Pratik is a doctoral student at York University, where his research, supported by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, investigates issues of equity and representation among wind band composers in Canada.
Pratik has recently been selected as a finalist for music director positions with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, the Oakville Symphony, the Northdale Concert Band, and the Wellington Wind Symphony. He also served as assistant conductor of Symphony on the Bay (now the Burlington Symphony Orchestra) for five years, and as associate conductor with the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra for three years.
In frequent demand as a guest conductor and adjudicator across Canada, Pratik serves as adjudicator and Vice-Chair for the concert band division of MusicFest Canada, as well as syllabus coordinator for the OBA Provincial Band Festival. He adjudicated concert bands at the 2017 Alberta International Band Festival in Calgary and is delighted to return to AIBF in Edmonton for 2024. Pratik regularly presents workshops on conducting techniques, wind repertoire, and percussion pedagogy.
Pratik received a B.Mus. in music education and an M.Mus. in conducting from the University of Western Ontario, where he studied conducting with Dr. Colleen Richardson, Jerome Summers and James McKay, and percussion with Dr. Jill Ball. For more information, please visit www.pratikgandhi.ca
Ken Rogers retired in 2018 from Lethbridge Collegiate Institute high school after a 32 year career of music teaching from grade 5 through university level. He currently conducts the choir at McKillop United Church in Lethbridge and is very happily busy adjudicating band festivals and conducting clinics, workshops, and honour bands across the province. He has conducted and played in many Lethbridge area musical groups including the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra, Lethbridge Community Band, Lethbridge Big Band, and various musical theatre groups, most recently conducting the Broadway musical, The Secret Garden. Ken is a past president of the Alberta Band Association as well as the recipient of several awards including an Honourary Lifetime Membership in the ABA, the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s “Legion of Honor Laureate”, the “David J. Peterkin Memorial Award” for outstanding service to band music in Alberta, the ABA’s “Elkhorn Award” for band teacher of the year, and the Choir Alberta “Con Spirito Award”.