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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.

We are so excited to announce that Beckettfest will be held this Spring, 2022!

Beckettfest is an annual non-competitive performance event where students perform prepared repertoire in small groups with peers at a similar music level and instrument-specific area for an adjudicator, who then gives brief comments and performance suggestions to each student. This is a celebration of learning and musical growth event and is a positive, fun experience and a great opportunity to perform for a small, supportive group.

To ensure the safety of our students, classes will be kept very small and the festival will be spread out over three different days to provide as many different small group classes as possible. The schedule is as follows:

Date Instruments Location
March 26, 2022 piano; voice; winds; brass 54 Benton Street, Kitchener
April 9, 2022 piano; guitar 190 Lester Street, Waterloo
April 10, 2022 strings (violin, viola, cello) 190 Lester Street, Waterloo

Registration Information:

First, speak with your teacher to find out how many classes you will register for.

Next, register all students in your family by clicking on your instrument below. You will be taken to the online registration form. Not sure what repertoire you’ll be playing yet? No problem! Just insert your instrument and grade level; we’ll place you in the right class.

Registration fees are detailed on each of the registration forms. There is a $10 processing fee for any student not registered with the BSL

Registration fees are non-refundable. In the event that Beckettfest cannot be held in-person, all events will be moved to virtual formats. We thank you for your support. 

Registration Links:


Strings (includes guitar)


Winds and Brass

Adjudicator Information

We have a fantastic group of seasoned adjudicators joining us this year. Adjudicator biographies are listed below. More biographies will be added as they become available. 

Joanne Bender

Headshot for Joanne Bender

Joanne (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 soloist and collaborative artist in school, community and church events.

At University of Waterloo from 1969-74, Joanne studied science 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 B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees.  She was a frequent award winner at the KW Kiwanis Festival, a well-known pianist at U. of Waterloo, and appeared as 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 B. Mus. degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and completed her M. Mus. at U. 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 Celebration books and CNCM Northern Lights series. She has also composed children’s musicals, a chamber opera, a cantata and several piano trios. Joanne is a winner of the NUMUS composition competition, the John Weinzweig composition scholarship and the CFMTA Call for Compositions 2010. She has adjudicated piano and composition competitions locally and nationally.

Guy Few

Photo of Dave Wiffen by Roslyn Witter

Guy Few’s instrumental versatility and fearless interpretations have been noted by the international press, “outrageous…simply phenomenal” (Le Devoir, Montreal) and “sheer brilliance” (L.A. Times). He has performed with many Canadian and US symphonies as a trumpet, piano and vocal soloist, remains a committed chamber artist in ensembles Bellows and Brass, Few and Fewer, Project Aria and the Few Mara duo, and has been a guest at many summer festivals including Festival of the Sound, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Elora Festival, Tanglewood, Oregon Bach Festival and Sweetwater.

A prolific recording artist, Guy has released CDs on numerous labels including Arsis Classics, CBC SM5000, Naxos, MSR Classics and Hänssler Classics. Recording and performance awards include a Grammy (CREDO, OBF principal trumpet/ Rilling/Hänssler), Best Classical Orchestral Album, Just Plain Folks (Bacchanale/TCO/ Kevin Mallon/MSR), a JUNO nomination (CCP Vol 1/g27/Paetkau/MSR) and CAPACOA Touring Artist of the Year. Guy has appeared on CBC-TV, CTV, BRAVO, TV5 and European television broadcasts and is heard regularly on CBC Radio and NPR. Guy has adjudicated for festivals in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and PEI, judging piano, brass/woodwinds, bands and music theatre. His enthusiastic perspective has been enjoyed at local, provincial and national levels. “Share the joy” is his motto. Festivals should be fun!

Guy is a sessional lecturer at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, where he coaches chamber music, teaches trumpet and facilitates the Laurier Brass Ensemble.

Guy is a Yamaha Artist.

Irene Tandberg

Headshot for Irene Tandberg

Violinist, Irene 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 & domestic schools & 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 students’ experience by creating the Young Artists Pre-College Academy. YAPCA’s diverse programming cultivates motivated high school & 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 Master classes 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, master class 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.

Christine Tithecott

Headshot for Christine Tithecott

Christine 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 an adjudicator, Dr. Tithecott has worked with young pianists across Asia and North America.  As a clinician, she has presented workshops on pedagogical topics both nationally and internationally at notable conferences including the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations (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 en 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 Canadian repertoire, and has performed with numerous new music ensembles including Ensemble 319, and The CNM Ensemble (Iowa City, IA).   
Christine currently resides in London, Ontario and is an Assistant Professor at Western University’s Don Wright Faculty of Music, where she teaches Piano Pedagogy and Accompanying for Credit. She is the Past President of London ORMTA, and she also works as a collaborative artist, and maintains a full studio of private piano students.

Dave Wiffen

Photo of Dave Wiffen by Roslyn Witter

Shortly after graduating from the Eastman School of Music with a Masters degree in jazz performance, Dave Wiffen spent a year touring the U.S. and Japan with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Since then he has performed in a wide variety of musical styles with many different groups including the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Orchestra London, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Manteca, The Peter Appleyard Jazz Orchestra, The Spitfire Band, and The New Berlin Chamber Ensemble.

He has also had the pleasure of backing up such diverse artists as Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Steve Allen, Bob Newhart, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Rich Little, Dudley Moore, Dinah Shore, Marvin Hamlisch, Martin Short, Audra McDonald, Jane Krakowski, Wayne Newton, Regis Philbin, Michael Bolton, Lucky Peterson, Michael Brecker, Gerry Mulligan, Rob McConnell, Dave Leibman, Richie Beirach, Lew Soloff, Rufus Reid, Suzanna McCorkle, The Temptations and Jeff Healey, among many others.

Dave has been a member of a number of pit orchestras including several seasons in the Stratford Festival, the Jubilee Theatre in Summerside PE, the Grand Theatre in London ON and the Toronto productions of The Full Monty, The Producers and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance.

Dave was a member of Mel Brown and the Homewreckers for around ten years and appears on several CD’s, including Homewreckin’ Done Live, released in 2001.

Since 2001, he has been performing regularly across Canada and the United States with The Piano Men, a show featuring the music of Elton John and Billy Joel, starring Jim Witter, in which he plays saxophone, flute, piccolo, keyboards, guitar, percussion and background vocals. He has also performed with this group in The Netherlands, Mexico and Dubai. He appears on a CD entitled The Piano Men with this group.

Since 2015, he been travelling across the U.S. and Canada, performing with Tapestry, the Carole King Songbook, a tribute to Carole King, playing saxophone, flute, keyboards and background vocals. He appears on a CD entitled Tapestry, the Carole King Songbook with this group.

In addition to his performing schedule, Dave is the saxophone instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University, a position he has held since 2000. He also held the same position at the University of Western Ontario for six years.

Originally from Toronto, Dave currently resides in Waterloo with his wife and son.


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