SHEILA VASELENAK, CLARINET LESSONS AND PERFORMANCES
Born and raised in Southern Alberta I have an absolute love, appreciation, and connection to the prairie landscape, horizons, space, simplicity, and the blue-blue prairie sky. During the years I attended the University of Lethbridge, in which I earned my Bachelor of Music (Clarinet Performance) and Bachelor of Music Education degrees, the University was relatively small in size and afforded one many opportunities. My main teacher during this time was Peggy Mezei. While taking a gap-year before pursing my Master of Clarinet Performance, I studied at Mount Royal University with Jocelyn Colquhoun, Assistant Principal Clarinetist at the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
During the summers from 1989-1993 I worked in Ottawa playing clarinet in the Ceremonial Guard Band. The Ceremonial Guard is part of the Canadian Reserve, and was instrumental in the development of self, and learning the importance of discipline, structure, and team-work. Aside from performing the Changing of the Guard Ceremony on Parliament Hill at 10:00 am each morning, the Ceremonial Guard Band was also involved with performing for Heads of State which included the Queen Mother, the Queen, Presidents of countries such as Russia and Iceland, the opening of the Museum of Natural Civilization in Gatineau Quebec, and other duties fitting for a military band. My affinity for Ottawa was cemented at this point in time, although it took many years for me to make Ottawa my home.
After graduation from the University of Lethbridge, I moved to the United States where I obtained my Master of Clarinet Performance at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo proved to be the second most important learning opportunity in my life. While in Michigan I had the opportunity to study and learn from important teachers which included Mr. Bradley Wong, Richard Hawkins, Phyllis Rappaport, and orchestra conductor Eric Shumsky. The musical opportunities in Southern Michigan were endless and I had a thriving private clarinet studio, worked as free-lance musician in Kalamazoo, Southern Michigan, and South Bend, IN, and was involved with assisting High School Band Teachers with their clarinet sections and band programs. My time in Michigan solidified my love for music and firm belief of the importance of Music and the Fine Arts in our schools. It is my goal to to work with band programs in our local schools in Ottawa, as music education is an integral and vital part of students' education.
Upon my return to Canada, my career-path ventured away from music as musical opportunites were not as plentiful in Southern Ontario as those in the United States. The move to Ottawa three years ago has seen a completion of full-circle as I am living in the city which captured me in my youth, and I have re-connected with my love of music and the absolute belief of its' importance. The re-connection to my musical roots has been powerful, and I look forward to teaching clarinet lessons and performing in Ottawa.