Neil Yorke-Slader retired in June 2016 as a Superintendent of Instruction with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He is the former head of Music at Earl of March S.S. and J.S. Woodsworth S.S. and began his teaching career at Meadowlands M.S. Neil has composed over 45 works at various levels for jazz ensemble, available through UNC Jazz Press and Burnihla Music Publishing; several are preserved by the National Library of Canada (Archives). He has written several commissions for elementary and high school jazz ensembles, and was one of the eight contributing composers to the inaugural Canadian "New Sounds of Music Project". He was a contributor to "Jazz Pedagogy, A Canadian Perspective". In 2017, through a grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage's "Canada 150" fund, he was commissioned to write an arrangement of "O Canada" for jazz ensemble.
Neil Yorke-Slader is well known throughout Canada for his dedication to education and the arts. He was named to the MusicFest Canada Hall of Fame in 2016. He received the 2007 Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's Margarie Loughery Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts. In 1995, Neil received the City of Nepean's Distinguished Service Award for Arts and Culture. He has also been awarded the 1998 City of Nepean Distinguished Service Award for Education, and the 1998 Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's "Director's Citation". Neil's reputation extends far beyond the Ottawa area, however. He was the recipient of the 2000 Ottawa International Jazz Festival's "Achievement Award" and in 1991 he received the International Association of Jazz Educators Award for Contribution to Jazz Education.
Neil is the Associate Director of MusicFest Canada and it's Chairman of the Instrumental Jazz Division and is widely sought after as a jazz clinician and adjudicator. He is considered one of the leading Canadian authorities on the teaching of stage band fundamentals and rehearsal techniques. He is the Regional Coordinator of the Capital Region MusicFest.
STEPHEN SZABO is currently a music teacher at John McCrae Secondary School in Nepean, Ontario, Canada. He studied trumpet at the University of Ottawa under the tutelage of Eric Rupp, where he obtained his Bachelor of Music degree. During his studies, he performed with several musical ensembles including the University of Ottawa Wind Ensemble, the University of Ottawa Orchestra, the University of Ottawa Jazz Ensemble, the Calixa Lavalee chamber choir, and the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra.
Since starting his teaching career, Stephen has performed with various ensembles. He competed in the United Stated and Canada as part of Canada's only competitive drum and bugle corps out of Kingston, Ontario. He performed and recorded as part of the fusion duo, Trumped!, he was a member of the Ottawa-based acapella choir, Harmonic Generation, and he was the founding director of the Barrhaven Community Concert Band, a band he conducted until September 2016. Stephen was also the co-director of the O.C.D.S.B Secondary All-Star Jazz Ensemble until 2017.
Now in his twelfth year of teaching, Stephen’s school ensembles have achieved many successes, including being awarded multiple Gold Standards at Musicfest Nationals and being named Best Jazz Band at the 2015 Capital Region Music Festival. His bands have performed with guest artists that include Brian Asselin and Petr Cancura, and they were invited to perform at the Ottawa Jazz Festival in 2016 and 2017. Stephen's ensembles have performed at the National Music Monday Showcase, and were invited to perform a feature concert at Musicfest Nationals in 2017. Stephen has also composed and arranged numerous pieces for his various jazz ensembles.