Mélanie Saucier – Vocal (Soprano) 2008, 2010 (Jr. Star)

Melanie Saucier

Soprano Mélanie Saucier is a dynamic performer who is known for her ability to captivate audiences with her voice and stage presence. Since the tender age of two, she has performed in countless international festivals and has garnered multiple accolades over the course of her career including the First Prize at the New Brunswick Provincial Music Festival in 2008, 2010, and 2013, Second Prize in 2012, First Prize at the New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music in 2008 and 2010 as well as Second Prize in 2012. Ms. Saucier also earned the First Prize at the Victoria County Music Festival in 2006, 2008, and 2010. She was awarded three legislative sentiments from the State of
Maine in recognition of her professional accomplishments.

As a highly sought-after soloist, Ms. Saucier has performed in masterclasses with soprano Lisa Roy, soprano Sally Dibblee, soprano Chantal Dionne, and most recently with American baritone Andrew Garland. She was the featured soloist at the opening mass of the 2014 World Acadian Congress/Congrès Mondiale Acadien in Edmunston New Brunswick. She was invited to perform in recital with soprano Suzanne Nance, and she has performed with pianists George Lopez, Paul Sullivan, Julien LeBlanc, Nhat-Viet Phi,and Pablo Mirò-Cortez. She has appeared in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites and Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, under the baton of Stephen Lord and under the direction of Steven Goldstein and Joshua Major respectively, with the New England Conservatory Graduate Opera Program. She appeared as Rosina in scenes from Rossini’s Il Barbiere diSiviglia with the New England Conservatory Undergraduate Opera Studies Program. She traveled to Sydney, Australia with Boston-based choral ensemble Northern Voices where she made her Sydney Opera House debut. She was also afforded the opportunity to perform in St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and the Sydney Town Hall. She recently appeared as a solo with the Acton Community Singers in their performance of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass under the baton of Mr. Paul Johnson. She is also a member of the New England Conservatory Concert Choir. Ms. Saucier was pleased to present a recital of French and German art song at the New England Conservatory and again in Larnaca, Cyprus with Greek-Cypriot pianist Yiorgos Mannouris. She has also performed the national anthems of France, Canada, and the United States in the Maine State Legislature. She has been featured on various international radio and television programs including appearances on Radio Canada Télé, CJEM Radio, and Radio Canada’s Tout un Samedi, as well as the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s (MPBN) televised Christmas in Maine concert and TV5 Monde (FRA).

Ms. Saucier is an avid performer in theater and musical theater productions as well, and her credentials include portrayals of the role of Christine Daaë in Phantom of the Opera, Cosette in Les Misérables, Amanda Prynn in Noël Coward’s Private Lives,and Rita Boyle in Craig Lucas’ Prelude to a Kiss, to name a few. She was honored to sing the lead role in the new musical interpretation of Hoffman’s The Nutcracker entitled The Nutcracker: A Musical, written by Douglas S. Clapp, and composed by Scott Brickman. She has studied with Leola Dionne, Lisa Roy, and Lisa Saffer. She currently studies with mezzo-soprano MaryAnn McCormick and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in classical vocal performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.


My experiences at the New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music were a highlight of my formative musical years. The festival afforded me the opportunity to meet new friends whose shared passion for music was a wonderful find. The festival was an encouraging and supportive place for me to perform and receive input from incredibly talented artists and educators. The volunteer staff were always so lovely and really made me feel at home at the festival, and I looked forward to seeing familiar faces every year. The musical knowledge and the performance experience that I gained at the New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music has served me well in my musical endeavors, and I will forever cherish my experience there. 


Adrienne Savoie – Vocal (Soprano) 1980, 1981

Adrienne Savoie (2)

Adrienne Savoie holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Moncton and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Laval University. She then perfected her art as a member of the Atelier Lyrique de L’Opéra de Montréal and studied with the renowned American voice teacher, Jane Randolph.

Since 2001 Adrienne Savoie teaches voice at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and is also Head of the Voice Department. She also teaches at the University of Montréal since 1994.

In the Spring 2001, Ms Savoie sang a series of concerts in Japan where she performed for Royalty. She has also recorded under ATMA label. In the last several years, Adrienne Savoie has performed extensively throughout Canada for several Orchestras and Opera houses.


“I had the privilege of being part of the Saint John Music Festival for many years. The Festival gives an opportunity to young musicians to perform and receive feedback and encouragement. Being Star of the Festival was one of the most memorable moments in my performing life!  Thank you so much for your continuing support and encouragement toward young performers”.

Benjamin Marmen – Cello 2010

Benjamin MarmenMooring in Halifax in 2010 to enroll at Dalhousie University, Benjamin Marmen and his cello have since sought to become dynamic contributors to the city’s musical life.

A small-town boy out of Grand Bay-Westfield, NB, Benjamin began cello lessons at age seven with Sonja Adams in Saint John. Throughout high school he performed with Symphony New Brunswick as a substitute, with the Early Music Studio in SJ, and also with provincial and national youth orchestras.

In summer programs such as Le Domaine Forget, Scotia Festival, and the National Arts Centre’s prestigious Young Artist Program, Benjamin has received instruction from acclaimed cellists such as Lynn Harrell, Philippe Muller, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Denise Djokic, Paul Marleyn, Blair Lofgren, and Thomas Wiebe. However, his most cherished mentorship has come from Shimon Walt, under whom Benjamin recently completed his Bachelor of Music.

During his studies, Benjamin produced himself on stage with various ensembles –Scotia Festival’s “Chamber Players,” his sixteen-stringed clique known as Quartet LaCorde, and Symphony Nova Scotia, recently awarded the position of section cello. He also performed as a soloist with two of the local orchestras, Chebucto Symphony Orchestra and Nova Sinfonia, and was programmed as a soloist with SNS as one of the winners of the NS Youth Orchestra’s 2014 Concerto Competition. Benjamin has performed throughout Nova Scotia, notably as a guest artist in Mahone Bay’s Music at Three Churches, in Tatamagouche in Bonnyman House Tearoom’s concert series, as well as in New Brunswick as part of the Musique à l’église historique de Barachois.

Away from the classical stage, Benjamin has taken part in a variety of musical ventures, such as taking to the stage with Natalie MacMaster and her band at the 2013 ECMAs, as well as performing and recording with various local artists, such as guitarist Maxim Cormier, winner of a 2013 NS Music Award, and the popular singer-songwriter Mo Kenney. He has played on film soundtracks by local composers Blain Morris and Josh Cruddas, as well as in a short film by Halifax director Dillon Garland.

Through his interest in new music and improvisation, and thanks to suddenly LISTEN and Upstream Music Association, he was involved in improvised concerts by Montreal’s Musique Actuelle, played in workshops with composers and improvisers such as Danielle Palardy Roger, Jean Derome, and Joëlle Léandre, and has also appeared as a soloist in Halifax’ Open Waters Festival.

Benjamin plays a German violoncello made by Jacobus Staininger in 1779, which has graciously been loaned to him by Katharina Kieser and her family.


Participating in the festival every year for about eleven years directly helped in preparing me to enter and complete a music degree, and the benefits of those years surely continue to play a part of my every day now, playing in a professional orchestra.

The festival provided me with an incentive every year to choose, learn, and refine new repertoire, due in part to my teachers always being keen on my participation (probably because they soon discovered my competitive side and realized it was a useful tool to get me to practice). It was in these times that I began to learn how to practice effectively, sometimes out of my own motivation, but, admittedly, mostly out of my parents’ urging.

By participating in the festival, not only was the foundation laid for the practicing and learning skills on which I now rely for my work, but I was given the irreplaceable opportunity to get up and perform for a real-life, appreciative, yet also expectant, audience. Nerves and stage fright can long remain a debilitating problem for musicians, even for some professionals, so I’m thankful for the ample opportunities I had to perform at the festival, which both helped me learn to be less nervous, and gave me experience in coping with the array of problems that can come when you’re nervous about something.

I also benefitted from getting to listen to my peers perform from year to year and being inspired by their abilities and maturation. It’s one thing to get inspired by a world-class performance by, say, Lynn Harrell, go home and practice lots, realize that you still don’t sound anything like what you just heard, and gradually let the ambition fade. It’s another thing to hear Johnny from your class play with a particular sparkle or finesse, go home and practice lots, and say, “Hey, I think I’m starting to achieve what I was hearing!” then be motivated to keep practicing. Always being reminded not to compare myself to others too seriously, I think the festival helped provide the inspiration to reach the next level, as well as realistic measurements of improvement from year to year.

Of course, the feedback from the adjudicators and the reward of prizes at the end of the festival was a healthy way to keep progressing musically. The constructive comments and suggestions from the adjudicators would always open my eyes to new ways of approaching something, or it would simply raise my standard and make me say, “Wow, there’s a whole new depth of playing this instrument and learning this music that I didn’t even know about. I want to explore more and work harder at this.” There were definitely times when I would take comments the wrong way, and I would feel like I wasn’t doing anything right, and I have to credit my parents and teachers for helping work through the disappointment or discouragement and find motivation instead.

Aude Urbancic – Piano 2013

Aude UrbancicSince the Founders Night Concert, I graduated from Mount Allison University with a Bachelor of Music degree. I have moved to Ottawa where I am currently working on my Master’s in Performance, studying under Professor David Jalbert. In July, I represented New Brunswick at the CFMTA National Piano Competition in Vancouver. Attending the piano competition and the pedagogy conference was both a rewarding and an enriching experience.. In Ottawa, I am busy with classes, practicing and various performances. I am enjoying being the pianist for the Calixa-Lavallée choir at the University of Ottawa. I am also the rehearsal pianist for the Ewashko singers and am rehearsing Vivaldi’s Gloria and Bach Canata 131 with them. Apart from my first master’s recital, I am giving a recital with a soprano and am looking forward to an upcoming four hand piano recital in the fall. After finishing my masters, I plan to go to Europe to study collaborative piano but for now, I look forward to another year of making music in Ottawa.


Being part of the New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music was one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate degree. Not only did it give me the encouragement that I am starting to find my place as a musician, but it was so much more. Playing in Founders Night Concert is the opportunity to share the stage with a group of musicians that share a common love for music. It is an honour being part of a long tradition of exceptional music performance. One only needs to take one look at the trophy to know that New Brunswick has raised many musicians who have made their mark on classical music in Canada. Receiving the Star of the Festival award inspires me to keep striving for excellence and gives me confidence as I work towards a career in music.

Emily Kennedy – Cello 2012

Emily KEmily Kennedyennedy is an emerging young artist living in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a recent graduate of the Performance program at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she had the pleasure of studying with Paul Pulford and members of the prestigious Penderecki String Quartet. Presently, Emily is completing her masters in cello performance at the University of Ottawa, studying with renowned cellist Paul Marleyn, and in her spare time gives recitals in the area. She has performed on concert stages across Eastern Canada, and has taken part and performed in festivals such as the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax, Tuckamore Music Festival in St. John’s, the Orford Arts Centre and Domaine Forget in Quebec, WLU’s Quartetfest, and the ACE Workshop in Ottawa, Ontario. She has performed for some of the leading cellists in today’s music world, including Lynn Harrell, Steven Doane, Michel Strauss, Philippe Muller, Richard Aaron, Matt Haimovitz, Denise Djokic, Blair Lofgren, and Elinor Frey, along with members of the Cecilia, Lafayette, and JACK Quartets.


Participating in the New Brunswick Festival of Music gave me the much needed experience of performing from a young age.  Having the opportunity to present music that you have been spending countless hours working on is incredibly valuable, and being able to share it with others is even more important! As a young cellist, being able to participate in the festival served as a great motivator for me to continue working hard, knowing that I would eventually perform my pieces for my family and teachers.  The ability to play for an adjudicator was a chance to gain valuable feedback from someone with a fresh perspective on your playing – all in all, a great learning experience.