Westwinds recruits Music Professionals from the Calgary area to lead our musical programs. Find out a little more about each below.

Anita Perlau (Joined 2012) - Mixed Choir, Green Choir

Anita Perlau

Anita has had the privilege of working with singers spanning in age from three to seventy – the young and the young at heart! She is passionate about ensuring that her students have opportunities to develop their own musical literacy while nurturing their love of singing!

Anita has enjoyed a varied career in the field of music education as an elementary school music specialist, choral conductor of children and adult community choirs, workshop clinician and university lecturer.

As a life long learner, Anita strives for the elusive “best practices” of a music educator. Anita has advanced certificates in both the Kodály and Orff philosophies, a Master of Education (music education) from the University of Alberta and completed the summer program at the Kodály Institute in Kesckemet, Hungary.

Currently, Anita is the coordinator and an instructor of the Early Childhood Kodály Musicianship program at Mount Royal University Conservatory in Calgary. In addition, she teaches music education courses at the University of Alberta. She is the President of the Alberta Kodály Association, wife to the most supportive husband and Mom to two awesome teenagers!

Anne Gardner (Joined 2001) - Choral Ensemble

Anne Gardner began her post-secondary studies at the University of North Texas, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Calgary. Her experience includes teaching a Kodaly-based music program for grades 3-6 with the Calgary Board of Education, pre-school Kodaly classes at Mt. Royal Conservatory, past director of Westwinds Music Society's Green Choir and Women's Choir and current director of its Choral Ensemble, and thirteen years of high school choir teaching at Central Memorial High School. She currently teaches music at WO Mitchell elementary school. Anne also works as a guest clinician, conductor and adjudicator with school and community choirs.

Anne's passion as a choir conductor and teacher is to help choirs discover a path to improving vocal technique, musical literacy, performance expression, and appreciation of music's rich offerings.


Chris Herard (Joined 2012) - Blue Concert

Chris Herard is a sought after educator, conductor, performer, clinician, adjudicator and producer from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

He currently is Head of Fine Arts and Director of Bands at Bishop Carroll High School. He adjudicates and guest conducts at many local, national and international events, and is currently Chief Judge for the Calgary Stampede “Showbands Live!” International Competition. His ensembles have been awarded numerous gold medals at WAMSB and other top level events around the world. Chris holds degrees in Music and Education and is completing his Masters Degree in Music Education at the University of Hawaii.

As a performer, Chris has travelled around the world as an instrumentalist and singer with The Heebee-jeebees, has over 20 recordings to his credit and was inducted into the Canadian A Cappella Hall of Fame in 2009. Chris is a founding member of CADME, the Calgary Association for the Development of Music Education, an organization that has proudly granted over $700,000 to local music education initiatives over the past 8 years. He is a member of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and numerous professional educational and music education organizations.

Chris is married and has two young children.

Jeremy Legault (Joined 2013) - Silver Jazz

Mr. Jeremy Legault has a very active musical career both as a performer and music educator. Currently, Jeremy is the Director of Bands at St. Mary's High School in Calgary AB, a comprehensive music program which incorporates both Classical and Jazz instruction in two Concert Bands and two large Jazz Bands. In the Spring of 2012 the Jazz 1 Big Band was the featured group during the "National Child Mental Health and Wellness Symposium", and in the Spring of 2013 was the featured guest during the "National ERDI Superintendent Conference", representing students for all Fine Arts across Canada. St. Mary's Music Program has been awarded local and international awards, and is very active in Calgary's music community, frequently working with local musicians and clinicians, as well as world renowned CADME guest artists.

Jeremy is an active member within the Calgary music community. In 2006 Jeremy co-founded the "Metropolitan Winds" performing the role of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor until the Spring of 2013. Currently Jeremy is director of the "Silver Jazz Band" within Calgary's "Westwinds Organization". He is an executive and performing member (Trumpet) with the "Alberta Winds" Wind Ensemble. In January of 2013, Jeremy founded the Ismaili Community Youth Music Program and is currently the organization's Director of Bands. Jeremy is on staff with the "Calgary Stampede Show Band" teaching brass techniques and assisting with conducting the full ensemble. Jeremy is the Alberta International Band Festival Honor Concert Band Coordinator, working each year with the festival's finest high school musicians and guest conductors. Jeremy is an active guest conductor and clinician within both the Adult Community Band and School Band scenes in Calgary.

Jeremy received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary (1999) and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto (2001). After completing a Diploma in Wind Conducting from the University of Calgary (2003), Jeremy completed a Master of Music Degree, specializing in Wind Ensemble Conducting, while studying with Dale Lonis, Fraser Linklater and Earl Stafford at the University of Manitoba (2005-2006).


Kevin Willms (Joined 1993) - Gold Jazz North

Kevin Willms

Kevin Willms is a native Calgarian. He received his Bachelor of Music and Teacher Certification from the University of Calgary. Mr. Willms has been teaching instrumental and choral music for the Calgary Board of Education for the last 27 years. He currently teaches at William Aberhart High School. His ensembles consistently perform at “Superior” levels and have received much recognition for their outstanding performances at local and international music festivals.

Mr. Willms has been a director for the Westwinds Music Society for the past 21 years. Originally responsible for starting the choral program, he is currently the director of the “Gold Jazz North”. He is entering his eighteenth year as Artistic Director of Westwinds.

In addition to his duties at William Aberhart and with Westwinds, Mr. Willms is active as a clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator. He is the jazz coordinator for the Alberta International Band Festival (Calgary) and President of the Calgary Association for the Development of Music Education (CADME). On February 25, 2003, Premier Ralph Klein presented Mr. Willms with the Tommy Banks Award, recognizing his long-term contribution to music education in Alberta. He was named “Educator of the Year” by the Calgary Educational Partnership Foundation (2006) and received the Elkhorn Award as “Band Director of the Year” (2006) from the Alberta Band Association. Phi Beta Mu presented Mr. Willms with the David Peterkin Memorial Award in October, 2013. He was honoured to be a semi-finalist for the Alberta Education “Excellence In Teaching” Awards for 2014.

Mr. Willms is proud of the many former students who have gone on to successful careers as musicians and music educators. He is equally proud that large numbers of students have developed a love of music and continue to participate in community bands and choirs long after graduation from high school.

Mike Gardner (Joined 1997) - Bronze Concert, Jazz Orchestra

Mike Gardner is the Director of Music at Central Memorial High. He holds a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music Education from the University of Missouri. Mr. Gardner has taught music in the public school system for 24 years. At Central Memorial, Mr. Gardner teaches and conducts the Symphonic Band, directs two Jazz Ensembles, teaches advanced vocal and instrumental musicianship classes. He also teaches theory, ear training, and applied saxophone at Mount Royal College and is a director of the Westwinds Music Society. Mr. Gardner is active as a clinician and guest conductor in the province of Alberta.

In addition to Mr. Gardner’s teaching and conducting qualifications, he also performs as a saxophonist and arranges music for bands and choirs. He has performed with a variety of jazz musicians and groups such as the Eric Friedenberg Orchestra, the Prime Time Big Band, the Harry James Tribute Orchestra, The Tommy Dorsey Memorial Orchestra, and The Guy Lombardo Memorial Orchestra. He has also been a sideman for Lou Rawls, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, Rob McConnell, Tommy Banks, and others.

Mike Sakatch (Joined 1993) - Gold Jazz South, Wind Orchestra

Mike Sakatch

Mike Sakatch retired from full time teaching in 2010 after 32 years with the Calgary Public School Board During his tenure with the Board his ensembles regularly received recognition for outstanding performance.  Currently he teaches the percussion classes at Lord Beaverbrook and William Aberhart High Schools, and conducts band clinics throughout the Calgary region. Mike has been a director with  Westwinds Music Society since 1994.  Currently he is conducting the Wind Orchestra and the Gold Jazz Band south.

Mike has performed in all types of ensembles including jazz combos, big bands as well as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in secondary music from the University of Eastern Washington.


Nathan Gingrich (Joined 2012) - Bronze Jazz

Nathan Gingrich received his Bachelor of Music education degree from the University of Regina. Continued studies led him to Weimar Germany where he got his advanced artist's diploma in classical trombone performance and another degree in jazz and pop trombone performance from the Hochschule fuer Musik "Franz Liszt".

While in Germany, Mr. Gingrich co-founded a number of ensembles – travelling around Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and even to China to perform.
He taught trombone and jazz music theory at the Musik- und Kunstschule Jena for 4 years before moving to Calgary in 2006 to begin teaching music within the Calgary Board of Education. Mr. Gingrich taught at Thomas B. Riley Jr. High for 3 years and in the fall of 2009 Nathan began teaching at William Aberhart High School.

Mr. Gingrich has been Bronze Jazz Ensemble director with the Westwinds Music Society since September 2012. He is involved with the Calgary Association for the Development of Music Education (CADME) as well as co-ordinator for the annual "Holiday TubaFest" and "Slide Into Spring: Calgary's Trombone Day" events.

Mr. Gingrich can be seen regularly playing with a variety of ensembles in and around Calgary as well as leading masterclasses and workshops. Playing experience has seen him perform with the Prime Time Big Band, Calgary Jazz Orchestra, Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble, The New West Brass, and Altius Brass among others.

Nicole Hounjet (Joined 2013) - Women's Choir

Nicole Hounjet is the music director of the band, choral, and musical theatre programs at Foothills Composite High School/Alberta High School of Fine Arts. During her time at FCHS/AHSFA her ensembles have regularly taken part in Musicfest, Choralfest and Choralfest Jazz. Her choirs have performed in Vienna, Salzburg, Vancouver, and in Ottawa on Canada Day. An accomplished saxophonist, pianist, and vocalist, Nicole has studied conducting with Gregory Boers, Richard Nace, Rodney Eichenberger and Deborah Cairns and received the Royal Conservatory of Music Silver Medal in voice performance under Elaine Case.

Choral music is a huge passion of Nicole’s and she believes strongly that there is nothing more exciting than when voices come together to create something beautiful. As an educator, Nicole empowers her singers to use multiple musical strategies – theory, solfege, vocal technique, and conducting – to more fully engage in the music. Nicole also believes that it is the mutual trust that builds among the ensemble that takes a piece of music from being an enjoyable sing to a truly moving experience.

Rod Pauls (Founder, 1988) - Green Concert

Rod Pauls was director of bands at John G. Diefenbaker High School and Crescent Heights High School. During his 35 year tenure with the Calgary Board of Education Rod received numerous Pan Canadian's Student Choice Awards nominations. His ensembles received many accolades for their musicality and superior performances throughout Canada and the United States.

Rod is one of the founding members of the Westwinds Music Society. Currently, he directs the Westwinds Bronze Concert Band and co-directs Westwinds' Green Concert Band.

Rod holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Education from the University of Calgary. A respected educator, he maintains an active schedule as an adjudicator and guest conductor.


Ross McIntyre (Joined 1992) - Green Concert, Silver Concert

Ross has been teaching music for The Calgary Board of Education for the past 25 years. He is currently enjoying his 16th year as director of bands at Lord Beaverbrook High School. Mr. McIntyre has worked extensively with junior and senior high school groups and honor bands throughout western Canada. In addition to his busy schedule Ross co-directs a beginning adult band with the Westwinds Music Society.

In 1993, Ross received the "Excellence in Teaching Award" from the Alberta government and in 2001 received the "Tommy Banks Award" for contribution to jazz education in Alberta. In 2006/07 Ross was honored to be chosen as one of the University of Calgary's "Top Forty Alumni". Ross along with co-producer, Samantha Whelan Kotkas and students from Lord Beaverbrook received funding from the Canadian Space Agency to create "From Blue To Red" - a hard cover children's book and interactive online e-book. "From Blue To Red" features the narration of Jazz legend, Diana Krall and three Canadian astronauts: Dr. Robert Thirsk, Julie Payette and David Saint- Jacques. Hard cover copies of "From Blue To Red" are available through Lord Beaverbrook High School and may also be viewed online at www.frombluetored.net or www.dubleuaurouge.net "From Blue to Red" is the Winner of the 2013 Award for "Best Children's and Young Adult Book of the Year" from Alberta Publishers. Most recently Ross was honoured with a "2013 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence".


Rhonda Roedler (Joined 2004) - Percussion

Ronda Roedler

Rhonda Roedler currently works with aspiring adult percussionists in the Westwinds Blue Band. Rhonda has her Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 8 Percussion.  In addition, she is currently working on her Royal Conservatory Grade 9 Piano and has recently completed Intermediate Harmony.  She also sings in the Westwinds Women’s Choir.  When she is not practicing and performing music, she practices pharmacy with Alberta Health Services.

Greg Massey (Joined 2016) - Accompanist, Mixed Choir

Greg Massey


Marie Lewin (Joined 1993) - Accompanist, Women's Choir

Marie Lewin

Marie Lewin is the accompanist for the Westwinds Women's Choir, and has been with Westwinds since the Choral program was started in 1993, either as a choral conductor, or an accompanist.  She is a well-known vocal accompanist for the Calgary Music Festival, Contemporary Showcase and NATS auditions, as well as a church musician. Marie also maintains an active piano studio.

Nathan Schmidt (Joined 2012) - Accompanist, Choral Ensemble

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the following:


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