2020 Adjudicators:
Christina Murray- Choral / School Choirs

Christina Murray is an award-winning conductor and vocal pedagogue based in Kji’puktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia. She approaches her conducting practice through the voice and is widely known for her innovative work as artistic director of Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble and director of choral studies at Dalhousie University. ​

Christina holds an honours undergraduate degree in music (voice/conducting) and philosophy from Mount Allison University, has done graduate work in feminist liturgical practices, and has subsequently studied conducting with Diane Loomer, Jon Washburn, Michael Zaugg, and Elise Bradley. Also an active and accomplished choral singer, as a young person she was selected for two tours with the National Youth Choir of Canada and she now sings with the Canadian Chamber Choir. ​

Christina served as head of choral studies at Kodaikanal International School in South India from 2002-2004 and was resident conductor of the Nova Scotia Youth Choir in 2005 and 2006. She is dedicated to the vibrant future (and present!) of choral music in her province and nation.

Tara Scott – Junior Piano

Tara Scott is one of Atlantic Canada's most renowned collaborative pianists. Her love of teaching and performing has led her to pursue staff accompanist positions at Western, Dalhousie, Acadia, and Mount Allison Universities. She has performed extensively with singers and instrumentalists across Canada and appeared on national television and radio.

Tara is the principal Music Director and Pianist for Maritime Concert Opera, based in Lunenburg NS. With MCO, she has performed fifteen full-length operas and has conducted chamber orchestras for two productions. She co-founded, with Nina Scott-Stoddart, Halifax Summer Opera Workshop, an opera training program with fully staged productions, now in its fourteenth season. She has worked as Music Director for Eastern Front Theatre, Acadia's Singing Theatre and has performed with Opera Nova Scotia and Opera New Brunswick.

Currently on leave from the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, Tara maintains a busy private studio of children and adult students. She has adjudicated extensively for music festivals throughout the Maritimes and has worked as piano examiner for Mount Allison and the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. She is also the accompanist for Dalhousie's Collegium Cantorum, directed by Gary Ewer.

Tara received a Bachelor of Music Degree in piano performance from Mount Allison University, studying with Dr Janet Hammock. She then studied with Dr John Hess at Western University, receiving a Master's degree of literature and performance in collaborative piano. Originally from Grand Bay-Westfield NB, Tara now resides in Dartmouth NS with her husband and three children.

Jennifer King - Senior Piano

Energetic and insightful, Jennifer King is a versatile pianist who is equally at home on the concert stage, and in the classroom. She is also in high demand as an adjudicator, coach, and clinician; she has firmly established herself as a sought-after talent across Atlantic Canada.

Jennifer worked at Acadia University’s School of Music as the staff accompanist, a part-time piano instructor and faculty member from 2003-2016. She currently works as a private piano instructor and coach from her home studio and at the Maritime Conservatory of Music and Performing Arts in Halifax, NS. Jennifer was also the master class pianist the Young Artist Program at the Scotia Festival of Music for seven years. Since moving back from England in 2003 where she was an active musician and teacher, Ms. King has performed in hundreds of recitals and concerts at Acadia University and as a free-lance pianist in many of the Maritime region’s concert series. Jennifer can be heard in concert alongside some of Canada’s most respected singers and musicians and as a soloist. She has performed a number of Canadian premieres recently and loves exploring new music both solo and chamber music, as well as looking to past musical hidden gems.

Ms. King holds a Masters of Music degree in solo piano performance from McGill University, a Bachelor of Music from Acadia University and has completed postgraduate diplomas at the University of Reading in the UK as well as the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London, England. She was a scholarship holder at the Kneisal Hall Chamber Music School, “the cradle of chamber music teaching in America” in Blue Hill, Maine, and of a grant for contemporary music studies at the Britten Pears School of Advanced Musical Studies in the UK. Her accolades include two scholarships from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and an Award of Appreciation from the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia in recognition of her contributions to musical life in the province. In 2016 Jennifer performed outside for 6 hours on the Halifax waterfront with artist Holly Carr for Nocturne Art at Night Festival. Jennifer is a strong believer in community, and reaches out to the next generation of artists, and educators. She was one of the founders of the Prince Edward Island Registered Music Teachers’ Association when she was 22 years old. She was on Provincial Council for NSRMTA where she has also been the Vice President, Registrar, Second Delegate and ran the NSRMTA Provincial Scholarship Competition for 2016 and 2017. She served on the NSYO board and is a member of Canadian Federation of Adjudicators Association and Atlantic Federation of Musicians. She is married to a veterinarian and has two busy teen-aged children.

Jennifer released her first solo album of night-inspired piano music O Mistress Moon in January 2018 as part of Cecilia Concerts Series in Halifax. Since then, the album has been featured on a number of radio stations, including CBC, and she has toured throughout Nova Scotia and P.E.I. with the program. The CD can be found digitally on Leaf Music, Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and Google Play. The album is nominated for an ECMA 2019 award for Classical Recording of the Year.

Jennifer is also a Pop-Up Artist for the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust. She will be performing a number of short recitals throughout the province in 2019 to promote this important scholarship granting organization for emerging talent of all artistic disciplines. Since January 2019 Jennifer has performed at the Open Water Festival, Dartmouth Community Concert Series, Province House for the opening of Black Heritage Month, UPEI Recital Series and a Cookie Concert for Musique Royale Series.

Christianne Rushton - Voice

Mezzo-soprano CHRISTIANNE RUSHTON has delighted audiences with her engaging presence and versatility on both the operatic and concert stages. Dr. Rushton is a first prize winner of the Canadian National Music Festival, a prize winner at the prestigious Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, a two-time grant recipient from the Canada Council for the Performing Arts, and a winner of the Canada Council’s Bernard Diamant Prize in Voice. In recital, she has been a guest artist for the Royal Society of Canada, toured with Debut Atlantic, performed at the Indian River Festival, recorded with the Canadian Chamber Choir, sung with Baltimore Musicales and debuted at New York’s Alice Tully Hall.

Christianne is Associate Professor at Acadia University where she is head of vocal studies and Director of the School of Music. Christianne is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center at The Juilliard School and completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from SUNY Stony Brook. She recently received an Emerging Leader Award, from the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) for her innovation and success teaching voice. Dr. Rushton is President of two arts organizations on the East Coast; President of the Canadian Atlantic Provinces chapter of NATS, and the President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Provincial Music Festivals. Christianne is founder and President of “Discover Your Dynamic Voice”, a company that offers coaching to women in leadership to unleash, in order to unlock the power of their own unique voice.

As well as being active as an adjudicator, pedagogue, workshop clinician and performer across the country, she is a proud mom to two very busy boys, ten and seven.

Andrew Alcorn - Band & Instrumental

Andrew Alcorn is a native of Antigonish NS. After completing a Diploma in Jazz Studies in 1982, he finished his BA Mus. at St. F.X. in 1983 and earned his Nova Scotia teacher certificate. He spent some time in Toronto where he was a member of The Royal Canadian Artillery Band the Silverthorne Brass band and free-lanced in the Toronto area. After returning to Nova Scotia, Andrew started a teaching career that spanned 30 years in the New Glasgow area. He had the good fortune to work alongside his wife Janice (vocalist, choir director) for most of these years building a well-rounded and reputable program. He taught all levels of bands from elementary to high school, including concert bands, jazz bands and a variety of instrumental ensembles. His bands were often top award winners at local, provincial and national festivals. Many of Andrew’s former students are successful professional teachers and performing musicians throughout Canada and beyond. He has also performed in or directed more than 50 Broadway style musical productions during his career.

Alcorn was president of the Nova Scotia Band Association from 2001-05. In 2003 he completed a master’s degree in Jazz Education. Andrew was a director with Nova Scotia Honour Jazz for over 20 years and taught at Acadia Summer music camps for many years as well. He has done workshops with the Nova Scotia Youth Wind Ensemble and Junior Wind Ensemble on many occasions and has been a presenter at the Nova Scotia Music Educators Conference several times. Alcorn is a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award and a Lifetime Achievement award from the NSMEA as well. When he is not teaching, Andrew can be found performing or recording with any one of many top Nova Scotia ensembles including the Stadacona Band, The Back Alley Big Band, Latin Groove, Nova Brass, Ellavation and many others. His three daughters are all enjoying a life in the music industry as well. Andrew retired from teaching at North Nova Education Centre in 2016 and looks forward to many years of performing, conducting, adjudicating, biking, Friday hockey and quality time with his family.

Paula Rockwell – Musical Theatre & Jazz/Blues

Since returning to Nova Scotia, after completing her graduate studies at University of Toronto, Paula Rockwell has been steeped in musical projects, performances and music festivals in her home province, Canada and the United States. She teaches Applied Voice, Diction for Singers, Scene Studies and the Singing Actor at her alma mater Acadia University and has created productions for Acadia’s Singing Theatre Ensemble. She has been featured on several recordings and co-produced her debut CD entitled Fleeting Melodies, a collection of 20th century art songs and arias.

Paula has taken on several operatic roles since graduating from University of Toronto working with the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto’s Opera in Concert, Vancouver Opera, Tidal Opera, Orchestre Baroque de Montreal, Opera Nova Scotia and Maritime Concert Opera. She has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia, Chorus of Westerly, RI, North York Philharmonic, ON, Symphony New Brunswick, Peterborough Singers, ON, The Music Room Chamber Series in Halifax as well as for many fundraisers, including Music for Haiti, Women Only at Pier 21 and the annual Opera Nova Scotia’s Opera Valentine. Paula is heard every summer giving masterclasses, vocal warm-up sessions and a recital in Lyman, New Hampshire at The Ogontz Choral Symposium.

She adjudicates music festivals on the Provincial and National level and gives clinics/masterclasses on the topic of vocal pedagogy, interpretation and stage craft. Paula will be working on new projects including a recording of original works Unwrapped, due for release in September 2018, and a one woman show entitled Letters from Home, based on letters from her great grandmother to her maternal grandmother (circa 1941-1961).

Recent projects include directing and creating Scenes from Street Scenes by Kurt Weill, an opera excerpt show entitled The B Boys of Opera and a musical theatre excerpt program entitled The Games People Play in Musicals: Chess & The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and in 2016 directed Grease – the musical for Acadia’s Singing Theatre Ensemble. She was soloist with Acadia University’s Choral production of Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. She also was the vocal coach for Halifax Summer Opera Workshop productions of Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She sang the alto solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Symphony New Brunswick in May 2014 and performed it again in Fredericton, NB in April 2016. She has performed with the Halifax based contemporary music group, Musikon at the Saint Mary’s Art Gallery as well as a recent Garden Room Concert Series recital entitled Sing the Trumpet at Acadia University with trumpeter Curtis Dietz and collaborative pianist Jennifer King. This concert was performed again in September 2016 at the Indian Brook Concert Series in Cape Breton. In May 2016, Paula sang the mezzo-soprano solo in Verdi’s Requiem with the Chorus of Westerly, RI with Maestro David Hill at the podium and in August, performed a recital in New London and Lyman, NH with American collaborative pianist, Geoffrey Wieting. In May 2017, Paula sang the lead role in Opera Nova Scotia’s production of Gustav Holst’s opera Savitri. This past April she was the director of the Canadian musical Pélagie, written by Allen Cole, which was performed at Acadia’s Denton Auditorium and performed an Alumni Concert July 7 with collaborative pianist Jennifer King and David Parker, French horn, in the Garden Room at Acadia University. She has just finished performing the role of the Beggar Woman in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with Side-By-Side Productions and The Wolfville Theatre Collective at the Al Whittle Theatre, Wolfville, NS.