Board of Directors and Staff

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Board Executive

Robert George

Robert George

Robert George – VICE CHAIR

A native of southern Alberta, Robert George graduated from W.R. Myers high school in Taber, then studied at the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary. He holds Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Education and Master of Music degrees, and a graduate Diploma of Fine Arts in Wind Band Conducting. Mr. George has also completed course work toward a PhD at the University of Arizona.

Mr. George has been an active professional musician in orchestras, chamber music, church music and jazz for over thirty years. He has performed in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor. He has taught at the University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College as well as public school music programs in Calgary, Lethbridge and Coaldale, and has served as Music Director in various churches for over twenty years. He has also been on the Alberta Band Association Board of Directors; as a member at large, and then as Treasurer.

Robert George has been principal bassoonist for the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra since 1993. He instructs music classes at Lethbridge College, where he also directs the Chinook Community Orchestra, the Lethbridge College Community Winds, and the Lethbridge College Community Choir. He also maintains a private music studio of woodwind, theory and voice students, including some who have gone on to distinguished careers in music. During the past decade, he has become increasingly involved in research regarding musician health and injury prevention.

Kiran Bhachu

Kiran Bhachu

Kiran Bhachu– TREASURER

Kiran Bhachu was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, attending the University of Alberta and starting at a public accounting firm upon graduating.

Kiran has worked with not-for-profits as part of her career at Crowe MacKay and has obtained her CPA designation. During university, she served on the board of (and helped found) a not-for-profit organization that took inspiration from the Harry Potter series to raise funds for charitable organizations and promote civic engagement in the greater Edmonton community.

Kiran has taken an interest in music as a hobby since she was young, taking guitar lessons in high school and electives in music theory in university.

Gavin Kenney

Gavin Kenney

Gavin Kenney – SECRETARY

Born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta, Mr. Kenney completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance at the University of Lethbridge, and a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Tuba Performance from McGill University. After completing his studies, he taught ESL in Saga, Japan as part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET). While in Japan, he performed with various ensembles (Associate Tuba w/Saga Symphony Orchestra, Saga Community Band) and organized a solo recital for the community.

Upon returning to Canada, Mr. Kenney settled in Montreal where he worked in ESL, and music Education while also performing (Principal Tuba, l’Orchestre Symphonique de l’Isle). After returning to school for a diploma in Accounting, he moved back to Alberta in 2014. Since that time he has been working in the Finance department of Bow View Manor and teaching/performing as opportunities arise.

Rolf Bertsch

Rolf Bertsch

Rolf Bertsch – CHAIR

Hailed for his passion and natural musicianship, Rolf Bertsch has quickly become one of Canada’s leading conductors. Appointed Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal by Charles Dutoit in January 2000 and named Conductor in Residence for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 seasons, he has built an impressive reputation as conductor, pianist, communicator, teacher and adjudicator. His career has spanned a wide spectrum of musical experience and styles and has taken him to Europe, the Orient, and throughout North and South America.

Laureate of numerous competitions, Rolf Bertsch served for many years as pianist of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, as well as solo pianist and, subsequently, conductor for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. His career as pianist has included a solo performance with the OSM in New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall.

Rolf Bertsch’s career took an important turn when he was named Resident Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held from 1998-2001. During this highly successful tenure he also served as Music Director of the Calgary Civic Symphony Orchestra and Altius Brass, and worked regularly with Calgary’s chamber music ensemble Rosa Selvetica and at the University of Calgary.

Rolf Bertsch has conducted most of the orchestras in Canada including those of Montreal, Toronto, the National Arts Centre, Calgary, Edmonton, Québec, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Nova Scotia. He has collaborated with many of Canada’s and the world’s finest artists.

In the summer of 2005, he was part of an international faculty at the Canton International Summer Music Academy in Guangzhou, China. In the last year, he worked at the Canada Council for the Arts as the Program Officer for the Professional Orchestra and Opera/Music Theatre programs, overseeing the federal granting process for those communities.

Mr. Bertsch began his musical studies on the violin and went on to study piano, cello, composition, jazz, and conducting. He holds diplomas from a number of prestigious institutions including McGill University, the Mozarteum (Salzburg), the Conservatoire de musique du Québec (Montréal), the Folkwang Hochschule (Essen, Germany), and Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts).

In addition to his duties as Music Director and Conductor of the Calgary Civic Symphony, he currently teaches piano and coaches Academy program students at the Mount Royal University Conservatory and works as a freelance conductor, pianist and arts consultant.


Mike Malone

Mike Malone | EDMONTON

Mike Malone’s music studies include the University of Alberta where he studied a double major in Tuba and Composition. Later studies include private composition and arranging studies with Manus Sasonkin, Roger Deegan, Tom Banks and Mike Becker (locally) and Dell Hake and others state-side (Los Angeles).

Mike has been an assistant composer on TV shows such as The Simpsons, Star Trek Voyager, and King of the Hill. Currently he performs with various ensembles and musicals on tuba and bass (upright and electric) and owns and runs his recording studio, recording and streaming both audio and video.

Mike has also studied finance. He is a Certified Bookkeeper with training in financial planning, having completed the CFP (Certified Financial Planning) courses. Mike has also worked for the Servus Credit Union and London Life as a senior investment/insurance consultant. 

Christine Bootland

Christine Bootland | MEDICINE HAT

Calgary native Christine Bootland began her love affair of cello with her first teacher, Fay Johnson who instilled in her a love of all music. She later moved to John Kadz at Mount Royal College (now University) Academy of Music and completed a Bachelor of Music Performance degree at the University of British Columbia with Eric Wilson and participated in the Masters Program at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Shauna Rolston.

Christine has been an active performer in various chamber ensembles and orchestras across Canada and was first prize winner in the CIBC National Chamber Music Festival Competition with the JEB Quartet. She is currently an active extra performer with the Lethbridge and Red Deer Symphonies as well as the Symphony of the Kootenays and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Her passion is to share her love of music through performing and teaching and doing educational outreach performance programs within the community. Christine's philosophy is to help create future generations of music lovers of all styles whether they be professionals, amateurs, or concert goers; each student is unique and her goal is to help them develop their own individuality and personality in their playing.

Christine has been on the faculty at Medicine Hat College Conservatory as cello instructor, ensemble coach, Academy Instructor and conductor and program coordinator for both the Community and Junior Orchestras since 2001 and the Bring Back the Music Program for public schools since 2013. In 2010 she was pleased to be invited to be a cello instructor at the University of Lethrbridge Conservatory of Music and is currently the String Academy Director of chamber music.

Executive Director

Crystal Krips
Crystal Krips


Crystal Krips has spent the majority of her life balancing a career in both music and business. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she started her musical career by taking piano lessons, followed quickly by flute lessons and band.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan, attained simultaneously. Following her formal education, Crystal attained her Certified Management Accountant designation and ARCT diploma. Crystal has worked for Syncrude Canada Limited, Keyano College, Cantando Festivals, and most recently, St. Albert & District Further Education Association, where she was the Executive Director.

She is in demand as a flute clinician, and she maintains a successful private studio of flute and piano students. Crystal plays piccolo and flute in the New Edmonton Wind Sinfonia. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to AMEF and is excited to combine her two passions. When not working or practicing, Crystal enjoys taking Pilates classes, walking her dog, and spending time with her family.

Program Assistant

Maura Sharkey-Pryma
Maura Sharkey-Pryma


Mezzo Soprano Maura Sharkey-Pryma has enjoyed teaching voice and performance artistry to young and mature singers  for over 20 years, and instructs from both her private home studio and studio at the MacEwan Alberta College Conservatory of Music in Edmonton. She trains students in classical, musical theatre, contemporary commercial music, song interpretation, extensive breathing and vocal techniques. In addition to teaching, she serves as a provincial music festival vocal adjudicator.

Maura Sharkey-Pryma began voice study at the University of Alberta, continuing her training at the Salzburg Mozarteum Sommerakademie and with various Canadian opera training intensives. She has enjoyed a professional operatic career within Canada as well as the international stage. She is the 1998 winner of the Western Canadian Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, a two-time award winner of the Johann Strauss Scholarship (1997, 1999), and recipient of the Anne Burrows Foundation Scholarship (2001). She also was proud to represent Canada at the Queen Elizabeth Music Competition in Belgium in 2004.

In addition to her work as a freelance vocalist, Maura proudly served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Music Education Foundation (2011-2016). She has also co-authored a book with her husband, Raymond, entitled, The Essential Music Recital Planner, a step-by-step customizable planner to assist music teachers and students in developing a successful recital.  She is a proud member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association and the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association.

Program Coordinators




  • Program Consultant:
    Mathias Silveira