2019 Winner of the Iris Evans Scholarship for the Performing Arts

Astrid Deibert is the winner of the 2019 Iris Evans Scholarship for the Performing Arts.  From an early age, she gravitated towards the performing arts. Initially, she was drawn into the art of storytelling. In Astrid’s words “for storytelling, I firmly believe art is created when someone has a story in need of telling. The medium of narration will differ, as will the stories themselves, but the principle stays the same: an artist has something he or she needs to say. In the case of musical theatre, the story consists of a marriage between music, acting, and movement. There comes a time when mere words can no longer sufficiently convey the creator’s meaning, and it is music that provides the bridge to expand further.” Astrid was fascinated by this concept and began to immerse herself in the performing arts. She has studied violin, classical voice, and of course, musical theatre.

At the age of 5, she participated in the competitive classes at the annual Sherwood Park Music Festival. Over the years, she has been awarded by the festival with various small scholarships for her performances in both musical theatre and classical voice, as well as violin. In 2018, she had the privilege of representing the festival at the provincial competition for the Alberta Musical Festival Association. Astrid was a competitor in the “Musical Theatre Uptempo – Senior” class, and received her highest mark in competitive musical theatre yet.

In addition to her experiences with the Sherwood Park Music Festival, her time at Clover Bar Junior High School and Bev Facey Community High School further cultivated her love for the performing arts. Astrid performed in a variety of full-fledged school productions, including ​Legally Blonde: The Musical, Godspell, Jr. ​ and Thoroughly Modern Millie. In her final year at Bev Facey Community High, she was recognized as the student with the highest grade in the “Musical Theatre 35” program.

In December 2018, she joined the cast of the Festival Players for their production of “Singin’ in the Rain”. Ultimately, it is the culmination of these experiences that inspired her decision to pursue musical theatre with greater focus and a more structured education and she has auditioned for the​ ​MacEwan University Theatre Arts program, set to begin in September 2019.

Astrid’s future goals include to study abroad and learn from the guidance of international artists. Of course, ultimately, appearing on Broadway.

2018 Winner of the Iris Evans Scholarship for the Performing Arts

Catriona Brazell (Kat Zel) received the 2018 Iris Evans Scholarship for the Performing Arts on April 23, 2018.  Following Kat’s graduation from High School in June she is planning to further her career at Grant Macewan Community College in the area of Musical Theatre.  Kat has been performing since the age of 9 and has consistently followed her musical passion through her school years.  She is the recipient of several awards including:

2017 Semi-finals Vocals:  ATB Home Grown Talent at Canmore Music Festival
2017 RBC Blues Fest:  Finalist Top 10 female vocalist in Canada, “Shes the One”
2017 Bev Facey High School Best Song Award: theatrical performance “Legally Blonde”

Kat is passionate about story tell and songwriting and musical theatre has provided many opportunities to home her skills.  Kat’s eventual goal is act/sing on stage in musical production both in Canada and in the West End stages in London, UK.

2017 Winner of the Iris Evans Scholarship for the Performing Arts

Aimee Moore received the 2017 Iris Evans Scholarship for the Performing Arts on April 24, 2017.  In her application, Aimee wrote:

“Music has always been a part of my life.  My mother is a pianist and it was her melodies that introduced me to what music was and felt like.  My first experience with performing was a community theatre group when I was eight.  Our director created a small musical review, which we performed.  I learned about the process, the time, focus and energy needed to learn a song and routine and then perform it.

I furthered my endeavors in musical theatre by participating in drama and musical theatre classes in my junior and senior high school.  I also audtioned for, and was accepted into, the Theatre Arts Diploma offered at MacEwan University.  During these eight years of dancing, choreographing and line memorizing, I also took private voice lessons in classical music.  The heritage of the songs I sang brought greater meaning to my vocal career.  I felt a deeper connection to these songs that have withstood the test of time and have been performed by many amazing vocalists.

Broadway was exciting but I began to realize everything I had learned about storytelling and character work from my musical theatre experiences could be applied to any classical song; whether it was from opera or not.

Following my graduation from MacEwan University, I applied for school again and was accepted into Concordia University to study classical voice.  I find the stories portrayed in classical music are more grounded and full compared to musical theatre songs.  My singing was no longer about the emotions my character was feeling but how the notes of the melody and accompaniment created the mood for me.  I love the relationship between the melody and the accompaniment and how they intertwine to create a bigger story.  This spark within me has fueled my excitement for my senior recital in April (2017).

Another aspect of my singing journey has been the yearly entry into the Sherwood Park Music Festival.  For the last twelve years I have entered my own songs and those of my students and have learned so much from each adjudicator.  in 2015, I was awarded the Best Overall Performance Senior Vocal.  Through my years in music festival, I have experienced and witnessed how one person, in ten minutes of instruction, can find and ignite the spark of passion inside a young musician.  This has inspired me to become an adjudicator.  I want to be that person in someone’s life who has inspired them to continue in the arts, when so many voices in the world say the arts are irrelevant and a waste of time.  Another goal I have is to receive my ARCT for vocal performance after I graduate this spring, which this scholarship would help fund.  I want to be the best singer and performer I can be, and I know that by working towards this certificate will help my talent grow and make me a better musician.  I also want to keep on performing and sharing my talent with those around me.  I love being on stage and connecting with the audience, whether through words or music.”

2016 Winner of the Iris Evans Scholarship for the Performing Arts

My name is Julia Zalkovic, I am fifteen years old, and I have been playing the violin since I was six and a half years old. At the age of five I had already heard and seen the violin played a couple of times, and absolutely adored the sounds that the instrument was able to produce.

During the nine years that I have been playing the violin I have had many amazing opportunities to perform at numerous music festivals and competitions and to share my love for music with others.I received my first scholarship from the Edmonton Kiwanis Music Festival in 2010. Later on in 2012, I was accepted to play in the Edmonton Youth Orchestra as first violin. In 2013, I began competing at the Sherwood Park Music Festival and went on to receive the “Senior Strings Most Promising Competitor” in 2014, as well as the “Intermediate Strings Best Overall Performance” award for my performance of Fritz Kreisler’s “Praeludium and Allegro” in 2015. I also entered the Alexandra M. Munn Scholarship and John & Andrea Wallin Award in 2015 and was given a scholarship of $2000 for my performance of three pieces in front of a panel of judges.

I In September 2015, I was hired for my first job as a violin teacher at the Sherwood Park School of Music. I am very fond of my students and proud of how far they have come within the last five months under my guidance. This job has opened my eyes as to how my skills as a violinist can inspire the next generation; I have never felt so alive and happy as I am today due to being able to share my knowledge.

I love performing in front of audiences so that I can share my passion with other people. Receiving scholarships can support my future career as a violinist and are a huge help. I have decided that I want to be involved with violin for the rest of my life; be it performing or teaching others to play.

I cannot visualize my life without listening to, or making music. I learn something new every day, thanks to violin.

Under the guidance of my current teacher, Martina Smazal, I am discovering ways that I , an work towards my goal. I am mastering so many new skills and techniques, and enjoying very bit of it. Violin has taught me life skills, and a new international language – music.

As of now, I live in a one income household, and the money saved from there, combined with the money from my job, still do not begin to cover lesson costs and violin equipment. This is the reason why I seek financial aid. I cannot see myself doing anything other than practicing on and performing with the violin. Both talent and practicing are a big part of playing an instrument, but equipment and lessons create the base for a musician’s abilities. This scholarship money would be used solely for those purposes.