Wye String Ensemble

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Promoting Culture in the Community 
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The Wye String Ensemble


September 7 - 10, 2023, Van Es Camp and Conference Centre (stay tuned for more information)












Click here for String Music Camp 2023 Brochure and Registration Form (to be filled out by hand and emailed or posted)

Click here for Online String Music Camp 2023 Registration form

Click here for String Music Camp 2023 Schedule









































Look forward to a great start to the season, for Camp 2023 is sure to be another huge success! Sponsored by the Wye String Ensemble of Sherwood Park, Alberta, this year's Strathcona County String Music Camp will be held September 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, 2023. Join us to celebrate our twelfth year of this wonderful string music camp.


The camp is designed for string players 14 years of age and up. Whether you play the violin, viola, cello or double bass, you are sure to learn, connect with new people, and have fun while enjoying a rewarding musical experience. There are opportunities for playing both in orchestra and in chamber groups.


Held in a beautiful country setting at the Van Es Camp and Conference Center in Strathcona County, the camp provides opportunities for those at all playing levels and instruction from coaches who are highly skilled professional musicians. Participants will hear the coaches perform in concert as well as fellow campers in their chamber groups. Past attendees can attest to the incredible benefits of this unique camp.


The camp will run: Thursday, September 7, 6:15 pm - 9:00 pm at Camp Van Es

Friday, September 8, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm at Camp Van Es (See below for directions to Camp Van Es.)

Saturday, September 9, 7:30 am - 8:00 pm at Camp Van Es

Sunday, September 10, 7:30 am - 6:00 pm at Camp Van Es

Sunday, September 11, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Concert at Camp Van Es



A Note about the Music for Camp

Please note - The information for the music for String Camp 2023 has been posted and camp registrants are given instructions about how to download parts for the 2023 string camp repertoire upon registration. It includes the following with a proviso that some further revisions/cuts may be made in due course.


Strathcona County String Music Camp - Summer Repertoire 2023 includes the following:

"Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor by Vivaldi, first movement only"

"Intermezzo for String Orchestra, Opus 8 by Franz Schreker

"Romanian Folk Dances for String Orchestra by Bela Bartok"

"Serenade for Strings, Opus 6 by Josef Suk, fourth movement only"

"Son de la Loma by Miguel Matamoros"


Our Camp Director, Conductor and Music Coaches


CAMP DIRECTOR: Murray Vaasjo


Murray was born and raised in Edmonton and attended the University of Alberta where he received a Bachelor of Music degree. He has been a member of the Okanagan Symphony, the Victoria Symphony, the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, the Arden Ensemble, National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra. Murray studied with Sally Thomas in Meadowmount, New York and with Shirley Givens and Sidney Humphries in Victoria.

In 1990 Murray returned to Edmonton to join the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Murray is also active as a teacher and is the co-founder of the Wye String Ensemble.

Murray conducted the Penticton Strings, an amateur adult orchestra in the Okanagan.

For two seasons, he conducted musicals with the Penticton Singers and Players with professional members of the Okanagan Symphony. He was the conductor and founder of the Sherwood Park Youth Strings and Penticton Junior Strings. Murray is happy to conduct both the Wye String Ensemble and the Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra next season.



CONDUCTOR: Cossette Justo Valdés


Cosette Justo Valdés is the Resident Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. She has been with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra since the 2018-2019 season, when she started as the Assistant Conductor and Community Ambassador. Born and raised in Cuba, as a daughter of amateur musicians, she’s loved music all of her life, and she began learning piano and music theory from age 8. At 18 she saw a symphony orchestra for the first time and immediately knew she wanted to be a conductor. She took up conducting in 2002 at the National Institute of the Arts of Cuba, in Havana, and after graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting, she was appointed Music & Artistic Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Oriente (OSO) (Santiago, Cuba), Cuba’s second-most important orchestra.

During her first three years at the OSO, Cosette organized and conducted numerous concerts of a broad repertoire of classical, jazz, pop, and traditional Cuban music, which allowed her to start consolidating her foundation as a conductor. She also developed several programs for improving the technical and musical level of the orchestra, and founded a Kid’s Orchestra and a Youth Orchestra, both tutored by the musicians of the professional orchestra. With Cuba’s OSO, Cosette conducted premières for some of Cuba’s best known composers. She also performed the Cuban première of Domenico Scarlatti’s intermezzo La Dirindina, including designing the costumes, sets, super-titles and directing the overall artistic production.

In 2012, Cosette entered the Mannheim Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (State University for Music & Performing Arts) in Germany, to learn more about conducting classical repertoire from the European perspective, and she earned her Master’s Degree in 2018. She has conducted many orchestral, choral, and chamber ensembles in Europe, while remaining Music & Artistic Director of the OSO and returning often to conduct it.

Her passion for 20th century music inspired her to conduct a performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 with the National Orchestra of Cuba in Havana for the first time in more than 30 years. She also organized several large projects combining the forces of the two major symphonic orchestras of Eastern Cuba. Cosette also brought to the OSO for the first time pieces like Shostakovich’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 5, West Side Story Suite by Leonard Bernstein (in his centenary, performed in January, 2018), Symphony No. 1 by Robert Schumann, Symphony No. 5 by Felix Mendelssohn, Pulcinella Suite by Igor Stravinsky, The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives, and others. She conducted concerts specifically for children to give them an opportunity to get to know an orchestra and its instruments.



Camp Coordinator - Miriam Ferguson


Miriam Ferguson began studying the viola at the age of eleven when she joined the Edmonton Public Schools Strings Program.

In 1997, she graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Music Degree in performance on the viola. She decided four years later to return to the University of Alberta and graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Education Degree. Her viola teachers have included Miyo Inouye, Norman Nelson, Jonathan Craig, Tom Johnson and Rivka Golani.

Miriam Ferguson has been the principal violist of the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, the University of Alberta’s Academy Strings and the University Symphony Orchestra. She occasionally plays in the viola section of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Miriam is currently busy as a private violin and viola instructor, freelance musician and, more recently, conductor. She conducts the Music Enrichment Program’s Beginner Student Orchestra and Beginner Adult Ensemble and often subs in to lead the WyeString Ensemble.

Miriam Ferguson also performs with Quartetto con Brio, the Ursus String Quartet, and with the Cifra Hungarian Folk Music Ensemble. The Cifra Ensemble has performed with the Edmonton Symphony and has been broadcast on CBC Radio One. Miriam has twice visited Hungary and Romania with the Cifra Ensemble to study and perform authentic village folk music.






Violin I Instructor/Chamber Coach: Anna Kozak

Anna Kozak

Anna Kozak is a core member of the first violin section with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, an Assistant Concertmaster of the Alberta Baroque Ensemble and a Principal Second Violin of the Chamber Orchestra of Edmonton. She has earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Music degree from the University of Calgary.

Anna loves being an orchestral musician. It’s a profession that has taken her to concert halls all over Europe as well as Carnegie Hall in New York.

Being a violinist, Anna finds life just wouldn’t be complete without chamber music. She’s been very fortunate to have been a part of many wonderful chamber groups and have performed in most exciting venues. She’s been a founding member of the Onyx String Quartet and Tersona Piano Trio. She’s performed at Winspear countless times at ESO events, at the Rozsa Centre with University of Calgary professor Edmond Agopian, at the Yardbird Suite with the Obsessions Octet to name a few.

She’s had the pleasure of performing solos with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Alberta College Percussion Ensemble.

Besides performing Anna finds it fulfilling to share her passion and knowledge with her students. She holds a small private studio, teaches at the annual Wye Strings Camp and on occasion leads coaching sessions for local amateur groups.

Anna is playing on a violin made in 1770 by Giovanni Battista Gabrielli of Florence.

Once she is done all her practicing, performing or teaching, Anna enjoys spending time with her husband on their acreage. Gardening (especially cutting grass with her new tractor Deer Johny), reading, taking long walks, listening to the birds...


Violin II Instructor/Chamber Coach- Ewald Cheung



Edmonton native Ewald Cheung joined the ESO's first violin section in 2018 after earning performance degrees at the Juilliard School and McGill University.

A prize-winner in multiple violin competitions and an avid chamber musician, Ewald was a founding member of the Roddick String Quartet and Geistrio, and has performed extensively around Canada in recitals, chamber music collaborations, and as soloist with orchestras.

Ewald can be heard on his 2015 recording with pianist Philip Chiu, "A Tribute to Fritz Kreisler."



Viola Instructor/Chamber Coach - Ethan Filner



American-born violist of the San Francisco-based, internationally acclaimed Cypress String Quartet from 2001-2016, Ethan Filner studied at Indiana University-Bloomington, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and New England Conservatory.

Ethan has been the ESO's Assistant Principal Violist since 2019, having previously held the same position with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony from 2017-19 and taught viola at the University of Toronto from 2016-19. With the CSQ until they disbanded.

Ethan has recorded nearly 20 albums, performed concerts in major and minor venues all across North America and Europe, commissioned and premiered dozens of new works for string quartet (and a few for solo viola), presented educational outreach programs for tens of thousands of students of all ages, and collaborated with many of the most inspiring musical artists of our time.

Cello Instructor/Chamber Coach: Meran Currie-Roberts



Meran Currie-Roberts

Meran Currie-Roberts has a successful career across Canada as a cellist, teacher and arts administrator. Originally from Victoria, Meran studied with James Hunter at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and with Shauna Rolston at the University of Toronto, where she obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music. Before joining the ESO, she frequently appeared with the Calgary Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony, Windsor Symphony, and Colorado Music Festival orchestras.

As a chamber musician, Meran has played for the Edmonton Recital Society, Festival of the Sound, Elora Festival, Festival Ibero Americano, Music at Port Milford, Jeunesses Musicales Canada, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Kincardine Festival and Festival Vancouver. She made her solo debut with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 2020, playing Jocelyn Morlock's Solace. She is also a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Edmonton.

In addition to performing, Meran was formerly Dean of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music & Arts and is currently Executive & Artistic Director of the Health Arts Society of Alberta, a registered charity that brings professional concerts featuring local artists to Albertans living in care facilities across the province. HASA reaches over 10,000 annually with in-person concerts and, in 2020, established concertsincareonline.ca, a website that features weekly, free concerts designed for care home residents.





Double Bass Instructor/Chamber Coach - Hilda Cowie


Bassist Hilda Cowie has always been surrounded by music. The daughter of a bassist and a trombonist, her path to a career in music was a natural one. She was lucky to come up in the Halifax City Schools Music program, which provided strong choral and orchestral instrument training. As a teen she began studying the bass with her mother, a member of Symphony Nova Scotia and continued as a student of renowned bassist Joel Quarrington at the University of Toronto and the RCM Glenn Gould School.


Hilda is an active member of the Canadian music scene and has performed coast to coast in various capacities. Before joining the ESO she was a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra for over 20 seasons. She has held positions as principal bass of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony Orchestra and now the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with major Canadian orchestras including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company, Symphony Nova Scotia, and l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal.


Hilda can be heard on recordings by the NAC Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and the Banff Centre’s Gruppo Montebello and has performed in solo recital in Ottawa, Halifax, and Toronto. She enjoys frequently performing chamber music with friends and colleagues. Hilda and her partner and young son moved to Edmonton in 2022 and look forward to discovering all it has to offer.






Friday Night Guest Performer - Dale Ladouceur



Dale Ladouceur is a Chapman Stick singer songwriter with many recordings to her credit, both of her own and with other artists. She has played all over North America and Europe and has recently branched into writing soundscapes for theatre. Recently Ladouceur has played a number of times as a soloist at the world renowned Francis Winspear Centre. She also played with one of her heroes, Bruce Cockburn, at Calgary's Uptown Theatre.

For three years Ladouceur was part of the Devils' Robato Band in the Tom Waits, William S Burroughs production of The Black Rider which was a great success here in Canada and in NYC.

Ladouceur is also a freelance political writer who has been published both nationally and internationally.

Her music conjures descriptions such as art rock, progressive, avant garde.






GUEST LECTURER: Rebecca Schellenberg


Conductors: The Beat Must Go On

Hang on to your hats! Get ready for another caper through some fascinating string music!

We will listen to some examples, watch snippets of videos, and explore some musical humor

Come ready to listen to some great tunes!

Rebecca Schellenberg is a violinist, teacher and writer. She also teaches creative writing classes, and recently taught for ELLA at U of A, a course called All Things Music.

Rebecca has performed with various symphonies including Edmonton Symphony, Saskatoon, Regina and Prince George symphonies. She plays in ensembles, adjudicates and teaches privately.

Rebecca has a Master of Music degree from The U of Alberta, and a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University.





Yung is a Physiotherapist who practices at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic with a special interest in the area of upper extremity musculoskeletal and orthopedic sports-related injuries as they relate to Performing Arts Medicine, Para Sport, Rock Climbing and Paediatric medicine. She obtained her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alberta in 2014, completed her Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and Bachelor of Science (2001) at Queen’s University, and Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto (2005). She is certified in Functional Dry Needling, has her Certificate in Performing Arts Health from the Performing Arts Medicine Association and ACSM, Certificate in Sports Physiotherapy, and has taken several courses toward her Orthopedic Manual Therapy Certification in both Canada and the USA.

She is currently working as the Medical Director and Physiotherapist for Team Canada Women’s Sitting Volleyball, and has been involved with the Multidisciplinary Performing Arts Clinics, and Shoulder Clinics.

In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, hiking, rock climbing, playing volleyball, and dancing salsa, cha cha, east and west coast swing. She has achieved playing the piano to a Grade 9 level with the Royal Conservatory of Music, played the cello in grade school, and performed in the Chinese Zither.






The rate of $400 includes the 4-day camp with instruction, all meals and dormitory accommodation, if desired (you must bring your own sheets/blankets or sleeping bag and towels). Rooms in the brand new Unity Lodge are charged at the rate of $50 per night over and above the camp rate (linens provided). Space for recreational vehicles is available for an additional $15 per night and includes electricity but no water or drainage. Take advantage of our early bird registration of $350 by August 1, 2023.

Please note: Cancellation deadline with full refund is September 1, 2023; cancellations received after this date are subject to a $30 administration fee.

The facility also offers a swimming pool (bring your bathing suit and towel), fire pits and picturesque walking trails.

Please note that the management of Van Es Camp strictly prohibits the use of alcohol on its premises.

Selected Participants' Comments on Previous String Music Camps


Staff concert was worth the price of admission of the whole workshop! So inspiring!

Outstanding staff & food

The whole 'camp' was a great weekend of fun, learning and entertainment.

The coaches were, as usual, fabulous.

These sectional practices changed my cello life! Amazing. Thank you!

It's such a pleasure when the conductor has the ability to teach as well as give clear directions. Positive approach and lots of encouragement with very specific suggestions for improvement made.


Directions to Van Es Camp and Conference Centre



Click here for Directions to Camp Van Es