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Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

Join in on our annual Beckett School at Laurier Festival, BeckettFest, on April 4 and 5, 2020. This non-competitive festival provides our students the opportunity to perform and receive expert feedback from professional adjudicators.

Looking to compete in an upcoming Kiwanis competition? BeckettFest will give you the advice you need to feel prepared.


April 4, 2020


  • Location: St. Matthews Lutheran Church, 54 Benton Street, Kitchener
  • Adjudicator: Christine Tithecott, Amber Morphy, Joanne Bender
  • Time: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


  • Location: St. Matthews Lutheran Church, 54 Benton Street, Kitchener
  • Adjudicator: Peter Shackleton
  • Time: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.


  • Location: St. Matthews Lutheran Church, 54 Benton Street, Kitchener
  • Adjudicator: Robert Kubica
  • Time: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.


  • Location: Recital Room, 190 Lester Street, Waterloo
  • Adjudicator: Amanda Brunk
  • Time: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

April 5, 2020

Strings (violin, fiddle, cello):

  • Location: Recital Room, 190 Lester Street, Waterloo
  • Adjudicator: Irene Tanburg
  • Time: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.



Friday, March 13, 2020.


  • Solo classes: $20 per student/class.
  • Ensemble classes: $15 per student/class.
  • Non-Beckett School at Laurier students: $50 per entry/class.

Registration Forms and Payment

Registration now open! Your teacher can give you the registration form or you can email to receive a copy.

Please return a printed copy of your registration form and payment to:

The Beckett School at Laurier
75 University Ave. W.
Waterloo, Ontario
N2L 3C5

Current dated cheques payable to Wilfrid Laurier University.


2020 Program

Piano, April 4 with Christine Tithecott

April 4, 2020
St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 54 Benton Street, Kitchener
Adjudicator: Christine Tithecott

Schedule: TBD

Piano, April 4 with Amber Morphy

April 4, 2020
St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 54 Benton Street, Kitchener
Adjudicator: Amber Morphy

Schedule: TBD


Piano, April 4 with Joanne Bender

April 4, 2020
St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 54 Benton Street, Kitchener
Adjudicator: Joanne Bender

Schedule: TBD

Voice, April 4 with Amanda Brunk

April 4, 2020
Recital Room, Beckett School at Laurier, 190 Lester St., Waterloo
Adjudicator: Amanda Brunk

Schedule: TBD

Woodwinds, April 4 with Peter Shackleton

St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 54 Benton Street, Kitchener
April 4, 2020
Adjudicator: Peter Shackleton

Schedule: TBD


Guitar, April 4 with Robert Kubica

St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 54 Benton Street, Kitchener 
April 4, 2020
Adjudicator: Robert Kubica

Schedule: TBD

Strings (Violin, Fiddle, Cello), April 5 with Irene Tanburg

April 5, 2020
Recital Room, Beckett School at Laurier, 190 Lester St., Waterloo
Adjudicator: Irene Tanburg

Schedule: TBD


2020 Guest Adjudicators

Christine Tithecott, Piano

christine-tithecott-beckettfest.jpgChristine Tithecott holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa, as well as a MMus in Performance and a BMus (Honours) in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario. She has worked previously at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. 

In high demand as a clinician and adjudicator, Dr. Tithecott presents master classes for young pianists and workshops on pedagogical topics for piano teachers throughout North America. She has presented lectures at national conferences for the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the Canadian Federation of Music Teacher's Association (CFMTA). Christine is a member of the College of Examiners for the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association (CMFAA), and a clinician for the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA). Additionally, Dr. Tithecott has served as an editor for Conservatory Canada's New Millennium Series. 

An avid performer, Dr. Tithecott has had the opportunity to perform as a solo and collaborative artist throughout Canada, USA, and Europe. Christine has a strong passion for performing and promoting contemporary repertoire, and has performed with numerous new music ensembles including Ensemble 319, and the CNM Ensemble (Iowa City, IA). 

Christine currently resides in London, where she is on faculty at Western University's Don Wright Faculty of Music. She also works as a collaborative artist, and maintains a full studio of private piano students. 

Amber Morphy, Piano

amber-morphy-beckettfest.jpgAmber has been affiliated with many music organizations such as Kindermusik, Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association, Royal Conservatory of Music and many more. She has travelled extensively throughout Canada and the US working as an examiner, adjudicator and clinician. 

Amber is passionate about teaching as is evident in the many successful students that have completed all levels of exams and many who have gone on to university to pursue a musical career. She was also an accompanist and coach for singers at an integrated arts high school in Kitchener for over a decade.

Amber began her musical training in Ontario completing a Bachelor of Music in voice and piano at Wilfrid Laurier University. She then graduated with a Masters in Music from the University of Western Ontario. She has been a member of the College of Examiners for the Royal Conservatory of Music for 25 years. She examines all levels of piano and voice. She is also an active adjudicator for music festivals and competitions throughout Canada. 

Amber has performed extensively in Ontario with Elora Festival, Gallery Concert Series, Kokoro, K-W Opera, Hamilton Opera, Summer Lyric Opera Theatre, Cambridge Symphony Orchestra and many more. She is an active recitalist and accompanist throughout the Waterloo Region. Amber had the honour of being the first Artist-in-Residence for the City of Cambridge in 2003. This exciting position allowed for monthly concerts, workshops, performances at community events and the creation of her first self titled CD. 

In her spare time, Amber also enjoys teaching yoga, spending time with her daughters and granddaughters. 

Joanne Bender, Piano

joanne-bender-beckettfest.jpgJoanne (Elligsen) Bender has been playing piano since the age of 7. She grew up near Stratford and participated in the Stratford Kiwanis Music Festival. Being part of a musical family gave Joanne plenty of experience performing as a soloist and collaborative artist in school, community and church events. 

At the University of Waterloo from 1969 - 1974, Joanne studies sciences in preparation for a teaching career. During this time she continued piano lessons privately with Erhard Schlenker in Kitchener. She completed her ARCT in Piano Performance as well as her BSc and MSc degrees. She was a frequent award winner at the KW Kiwanis Festival, a well-known pianist at the University of Waterloo, and appeared as a soloist with the KW Junior Symphony conducted by Raffi Armenian. In 1974 she studied piano privately in Vienna, Austria with Dieter Weber, a teacher in the Vienna Academy. This was a life-changing experience for Joanne. Vienna, the city of music, became an inspiration to pursue a musical career. 

Following her marriage to John Bender, and while raising their four children, Joanne expanded her piano teaching studio. In order to strengthen her musical education, she did a BMus degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and completed her MMus at the University of Toronto in composition. Her teachers included Glenn Buhr, Peter Hatch, Christos Hatzis, Gary Kulesha and Chan Ka Nin. 

Joanne is passionate about music. She is a full-time private teacher of piano, rudiments and composition in her Waterloo studio, with many talented students from beginners to advanced. Her students are frequent award winners at local and provincial competitions. She is involved in KW Kiwanis Music Festival, KW Symphony Love of Music Marathon, and KW ORMTA. She performs as a chamber musician in local concerts, and is a volunteer church musician. Her compositions for piano appear in the RCM piano Odyssey series and CNCM Northern Lights series. She has also composed children's musicals, a chamber opera, a cantata and several piano trios. For her work in the KW music scene, Joanne received an award from the Community Music Program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Joanne is a winner of the NUMUS composition competition, the John Weinzweig composition scholarship and the CFMTA Call for Compositions 2010, and 2017. 

Amanda Brunk, Voice

amanda-brunk-beckettfest.jpgAmanda Brunk is a cross-over voice teacher with a special interest in vocal health and rehabilitation. Her curiosity of the mechanics of singing and speech has taken her to study the fields of voice pedagogy, voice therapy and speech internationally. Amanda adjudicates regularly for classical, choral, pop and musical theatre categories from coast to coast. She is an executive board member of the Ontario chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and is a published author for the NATS Journal of Singing. 

Amanda teaches Contemporary Voice at Wilfrid Laurier University and maintains a successful crossover studio in Waterloo. Her voice students have gone on to perform throughout Canada, on North American tours and in Broadway shows. As conductor of the Grand Philharmonic Youth Choir for eight years, Amanda led the choir to win competitions nationally and internationally, and to perform with Grammy-winning recording artists and rock groups. 

A passionate advocate for the education and inspiration of young artists, she developed the concept for the Music Theatre Academy at Laurier, an intensive three week performance program for pre-professional emerging artists, where she teaches contemporary voice techniques to classical singers and sits as the Artistic Director. Amanda is also the Founder and Artistic Director of The Singer's Theatre, a summer music theatre training program that attracts singers from North America. She has also served as vocal director for various cruise lines. 

Peter Shackleton, Woodwinds

peter-shackelton-beckettfest.jpgPeter Shackleton is principal clarinetist of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and a member of Music in Common and INNERchamber. He has served as principal clarinetist of Orchestra London, Canada and has performed with Tafelmusik (on historical clarinet) and Les Violons du Roy, as well as with the Milwaukee Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Stratford Festival Orchestras. Peter is currently on the faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University. Awarded first prize at the 27th CBC Radio Competition, CBC Radio Orchestra (Vancouver), Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and Tafelmusik. Peter received his Honours Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University and a certificate in Chamber Music Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Robert Kubica, Guitar

robert-kubica-beckettfest.jpgRobert Kubica holds a Bachelor of Music (Honours Performance) from the University of Western Ontario, and a Master of Music (Performance) from the University of Toronto. He has participated in masterclasses with many leading guitarists including David Russell, Adam Holtzman, Sergio and Odair Assad, and Stepan Rak. 

Robert has been on the faculty at Western University since 1999, and currently teaches in the Music Performance and Music Education departments. Robert has recorded three CDs of guitar duets together with his wife, Wilma van Berkel, and has performed throughout Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. He has released two solo recordings: To the Greenwood Gone, featuring his own arrangements of traditional Celtic tunes and music from the English Renaissance, and Step Inside, which features his own compositions for steel-string and classical guitar. Robert is on the faculty of the National Music Camp of Canada, he teaches music at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School in London, and works regularly as an adjudicator for music festivals. 

Irene Tandberg, Strings

Irene-Tandberg-beckettfest.jpgIrene Tandberg's career as performer and pedagogue spans four decades. She has established vibrant private and university studios where her students have been honoured with many prestigious scholarships and awards, obtained positions at notable international and domestic schools and orchestras, and pursued distinguished solo careers. 

Irene's long tenure as Co-Director of Forest City School for Talent Education, FCTE, inspired her to further enrich student's experience by creating the Young Artists Pre-College Academy. YAPCA's diverse programming cultivates motivated high school and university students who are inspired to explore a high level of technical finesse and artistry through chamber music in a collegial, non-competitive environment. Weekly performance, chamber and masterclasses offer students the opportunity to master their skills and expand their musical knowledge under the tutelage of a dynamic faculty and guest artists. YAPCA is actively engaged in collaborative projects throughout the community and is partnered with Western in Community Engaged Learning. 

Irene was born in Denmark. Her first teacher was her grandfather, Wolf Notkin (a member of the Royal Danish National Symphony Orchestra), who is to be credited with nurturing her deep love of music and inspiring a life long journey of discovery through sound. In later years, her principal teachers were Gwen Thompson, and Dana Mazurkevich at the University of Western Ontario. Irene then went on to follow her passion and vocation for performance and teaching with acclaimed pedagogues, while concurrently pursuing Suzuki teacher training. 

Past recordings and performances reflect an eclectic range of engagements on Modern and Baroque violin. She has had the privilege to perform in core, principal and solo positions with many fine orchestras and chamber groups including L'Harmonie Universelle, Nota Bene and Arcady. In 1989 she founded the string quartet, Octo Mani. 

Irene is a vastly experienced and fervent pedagogue who has both written and given invited talks on performance, teaching and practice strategies. She is in high demand as a festival adjudicator, masterclass teacher and workshop clinician in music programs and teaching institutions across Canada. In addition to running her private studio, acting as the Coordinator for Western 360, and directing YAPCA, she is a very active faculty member in the Performance Department at Western and recipient of the student council "Award of Excellence" in teaching. 

Contact Us:

Beckett School at Laurier

T: 519.578.3640

Laurier location: 190 Lester St., Waterloo

South Kitchener location: 68 Biehn Dr., Kitchener


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