Colleen is a passionate and versatile performer who adores any chance to facilitate the growth and development of emerging creatives at all phases of their training. As a veteran of BC’s competition and festival circuit, she has performed on stages across the province, including on six occasions at the BC Performing Arts Provincials where she twice placed as a Top Three competitor.
Colleen grew up in Kamloops BC, training intensively in all dance styles, and began training as a teacher and choreographer under the guidance of her own local mentors at the age of thirteen. She has been fortunate to work with children ages 2-19 in a variety of styles including tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet, and musical theatre amongst others for over a decade in Kamloops, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.
Colleen holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Contemporary Dance from The University of Winnipeg and The School of Contemporary Dancers. She also graduated from the UBC Master of Physical Therapy program in 2023 and is currently working in Vancouver as a paediatric physical therapist with a special interest in developmental disabilities, life-limiting illnesses, dancers and youth athletes.
As a performer, Colleen has had the privilege of working with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, MascallDance (Vancouver), Theatre Skam (Victoria), New Blue Festival (Toronto), and was a featured performer Bits and Pieces|Transfer/form presented by the Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität in Vienna, Austria. On camera, Colleen has been featured in Raksha, a digital series proof of concept, and will be featured in an upcoming music video for an emerging LA-based vocal artist.
Colleen strives to provide a collaborative learning environment, which empowers young artists to take ownership of their training and creative process. She enjoys integrating her physical therapy knowledge into her teaching and mentorship, and advocates for safe and effective training, an anatomically aware approach to technique, training that encourages balance and longevity, and preservation of physically and psychologically healthy young dancers. Colleen is also known for her creativity, passion, and purpose-focused approach and the creation of compelling and meaningful stories.
Colleen is currently training in acting and dance for film, motion capture, voiceover, and stunting. She is constantly pursuing learning opportunities as a performer, teacher, and adjudicator and believes that the best teachers and mentors are the ones who never stop pursuing their own growth.
Sarah is a master teacher with a career spanning the continent as well as a time period of over 40 years. She is also a dancer, choreographer, adjudicator and personal movement expert. Sarah is a proud mother, a podcaster and workshop creator/leader on the importance of Injury Prevention through Health Maintenance and Anatomical Basics.
Sarah’s performing career began at the Munich Ballet in Germany over 30 years ago and included dancing with the Northwest Florida Ballet, Banff Festival Ballet and the Vancouver Opera. Her independent performing career encompasses most of her professional life and allowed her the privilege of working with such luminaries as Crystal Pite, David Earle, Wen Wei Wang, Cori Caulfield, Amber Funk Barton, Sylvain Senez and Gioconda Barbuto to name a few. She choreographs for both amateur and professional dancers and loves the explorative process of creating with artists. Sarah has also had the pleasure of adjudicating dance festivals all over Western Canada, including three Provincial festivals in B.C.
As a teacher, Sarah’s passion lies in creating space and potential for each and every dancer to discover their own path to movement clarity, both in physical health and in technical individuality. Her methods involve an emphasis on anatomical knowledge, personal expression and love of self-discovery. She is renowned for creating a “safe space” for dancers to discover their own artistic voice and physical expression of technical movement.
Sarah is highly respected for her extensive anatomical knowledge and creation of workshops that assist in maintaining dancer’s physical and mental health. She is also the creator of “Sarah’s Space,” a podcast that addresses a plethora of subjects from the art world to social unrest and everything in between. Sarah’s deepest motivation is to help everyone that she works with find the best way they can dance forward in life.
Though he finds it hard to believe, JAMIE SYER is marking more than 50 years as a professional pianist, having debuted at Calgary’s Pleiades Theatre in 1971. Dr. Syer completed his graduate degrees at the Yale University School of Music as a student of Claude Frank and Ward Davenny. He has taught at universities and colleges in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and New Brunswick. Jamie maintains a website jamiesyer.ca where he shares what he knows—and what he’s still learning—about teaching and playing piano.
Jamie Syer was Dean of the Victoria Conservatory of Music until 2012. He also served as Head of the Conservatory’s Keyboard Department, and taught at the School of Music, University of Victoria. As a lecturer for UVic’s Faculty of Continuing Education, he led two arts related travel tours to France. Jamie is the founder of the Victoria Conservatory’s Young Artists Collegium program, which offers an enriched curriculum for talented young singers, pianists and instrumentalists. He has performed many times in Europe: in Scotland, Ireland, Hungary, France, and England; as well as closer to home in recital venues across Canada.
Dr. Syer is known for his imaginative recital programming, and his artistic, energetic playing in both the solo and chamber music repertoire. He is a popular adjudicator and workshop clinician, who enjoys working with teachers’ groups and with students of all ages. He teaches every year at the University of Victoria’s summer piano immersion program.
Jamie is a keen aficionado of musical theatre. His has been Music Director for productions of Anne of Green Gables, Matilda, and many others; and he has composed an original musical, Camp Spartan, which premiered in February 2023. Beyond music Jamie was Manager of his local public library for six years, and he enjoys the art and craft of letterpress printing.
Nelson vocalist Laura Landsberg brings her expertise and fresh perspective to the Kootenay Festival of the Arts. Laura has been performing and recording her unique blend of Jazz, Gospel, and R&B throughout the Pacific Northwest and internationally for over 40 years. Her teaching career has spanned many decades, where she has taught voice in her private studio and recently retired from her position as voice faculty in the Selkirk College Contemporary Music Program. Laura has dedicated the last 20 years to the study of functional voice science. She is certified in the LoVetri Method, a senior member of the Evolve vocal coach program for advanced voice teachers, and is currently training to be Canada’s first practitioner of the MDH breathing coordination method. Laura has guided thousands of voice students to a greater level of performance and vocal freedom.
In her career, Laura has decades of experience performing and leading in groups such as LL & The Get Down, The Kootenay Divas, Desafinado, The Mighty Popo, Bobby Mcferrin, Chucho Valdez, Chris Brubeck, The Everyone Orchestra, Donnie Clark, Allison Girvan, among other musical greats. Festival highlights include: The Havana Jazz Festival, Kaslo Jazz Etc, The Festival at Sandpoint, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival to name a few.
Laura has two critically acclaimed recordings under her own name, “Naturally” and “A Simple Twist.”
“Laura Landsberg is a rare vocalist, one who can cross almost any genre with a range of expression and emotion that draws you into anything she decides to sing. She is widely known as a wonderful Jazz and R&B singer. On her latest recording, A Simple Twist, she stretches out and explores new territory, all with her trade mark virtuosity. She uses her musical curiosity to combine elements of Jazz, Country and even some Rock to deliver a song in a way that’s all her own. The recording is a beautiful mix of stellar musicianship, great song choices and Laura’s fantastic delivery. She is simply a joy to listen to.” ~ Craig Korth, Director, Nimble Fingers Music Festival, Sorento, BC
“A remarkably fresh and unpretentious singer.” Spokesman Review.
“With so many singers trying to sound like someone else, it’s a treat to hear Laura Landsberg’s fresh and original voice….. she’s a natural.” ~ Paul Grant (CBC Hot Air)
Cellist Beth Root Sandvoss is known for her intensely committed performances and interpretations. She has a notably varied career as a recitalist, chamber musician and pedagogue.
Beth lives in Bragg Creek, Alberta, and enjoys an active performance career in Canada and abroad. She has recorded for WERN Madison public radio, RTHK Radio Hong Kong, and CBC Radio. Beth has recorded ten commercial CDs and has premiered more than 125 new works for solo cello, cello/piano and chamber ensemble. Beth has an intense interest in new music and is a founding member of the acclaimed Juno-nominated Land’s End Ensemble. Beth is also a member of the UCalgary String Quartet in residence at the University of Calgary. Nominated as Instrumental Group of the Year, the UCalgary String Quartet has completed live recordings of all the Beethoven String Quartets and the CD Far Behind I left My Country featuring Klezmer and East European Folk Music. Beth has the great pleasure and privilege to perform on an award – winning cello made by her husband, Luthier, Christopher Sandvoss.
Along with her performance career, Beth is a very dedicated pedagogue. Her students have won numerous competitions in Canada and are regularly invited to summer festivals around the world. Beth’s students have continued on as scholarship students to major universities and conservatories such as The Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, The Glenn Gould School and the Juilliard School. She is a faculty member at Mount Royal University as well as the University of Calgary and spends her summers teaching and performing at music festivals throughout Canada and the United States.
Winds: Keith Todd
Keith Todd has been playing trombone since he was 11 years old. With an early start in life playing the piano (which he still plays and composes on), he gravitated to the trombone in his elementary Band program and later studied with trombone greats Robert Bricker and Thomas Eadie.
After completing Bachelor of Music and Education degrees at UVic, he performed and subbed with the Okanagan and Victoria Symphony Orchestras and is currently principal trombone with the Symphony of the Kootenays, based in Cranbrook, B.C.
Keith has performed and recorded with other musical greats such as Gary Guthman, Donnie Clark, Louise Rose, Melody Diachun, Bob Hamilton, Doug Stephenson, Tony Ferraro, Claire Ness, Lonnie Powell, and many others. He has played with Major Funk, The Problematic Orchestra, Claire Ness and the Swingsets, Hornography, Funkometry, Paris Pick and the Pricks, What It Is, Rick Lingard’s Chicago Tribute Band, Bessie and the Back Eddies with Bessie Wapp and Clinton Swanson, to name a few. Keith currently directs the Playmor Junction Big Band, based in South Slocan, BC. He has performed in countless jazz and show groups on stages and in festivals at Victoria, the Okanagan, Vancouver, Terrace, Whitehorse, and Nelson, BC.
Keith has written and arranged for concert, jazz band, and horn sections for the various horn bands he’s played in. He recently retired from 36 years of teaching elementary and secondary music in Terrace, Nelson, Whitehorse, and Castlegar. Keith resides in Nelson, BC, where he actively performs, composes, and directs musical groups.