Michelle Clancy - soprano
Michelle has been singing jazz for as long as she can remember. She grew up in Saskatoon, and in 2003 she moved to Edmonton to study Music at MacEwan University. There, she graduated with a diploma in Music Performance. Michelle has had the pleasure of performing with such groups as the Grant MacEwan Jazz Combo, the Charlie Austin Showcase Band, FORM vocal jazz ensemble, 'Nuf Sed vocal jazz ensemble, the U of S Jazz Ensemble, and the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra. In 2013, she played the Baker's Wife in the Greystone Theatre production of Into the Woods. Joining Solstice in 2012, Michelle enjoys the harmonies and blending of voices that vocal jazz allows and loves sharing her passion for music with others.
Pam Pander - soprano
Music has always been a huge part of Pam's life. Fond memories of family
get-togethers playing and singing with her siblings, while her dad played
the violin, influenced her love of music. Pam started piano lessons at 5 and continued working on her Royal Conservatory programin Regina. She
completed her Bachelor of Music in Performance at the University of Saskatchewan studying with Robin Harrison. While there, she also sang with
theory and was a member of the Registered Music Teachers' Association.
After spending three years in Europe, Pam returned to the U of S in 1992 to complete her Bachelor of Education and has spent the last twenty years
teaching music with the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division. Pam
joined Solstice in 1999 and has enjoyed every minute working and
performing with the group. She enjoys the challenges that vocal jazz music provides, but, more importantly, she enjoys the time spent with the group in
rehearsals and performing.
Jean Currie - mezzo-soprano, Director
Jean has been involved in singing and choirs all her life. She is extremely grateful for the many musical experiences she has had through home,
church, school and private lessons in both piano and voice (Royal
at the University of Saskatchewan. Having spent most of her teaching career
with the Saskatoon Public School Division teaching Kindergarten, Jean
regularly used song both to entertain and to teach her young learners.
With retirement, new opportunities have arrived. Jean is a member of the Saskatoon Quilters' Guild and she is the choral director of The Notations.
Jean is an original member of Solstice and still enjoys the challenge of
singing vocal jazz harmonies. Jean believes in the power of music to
challenge the mind, to unite people and to bring peace to the soul.
Lori Newman - alto
Lori joined Solstice in the fall of 1986. There was some disagreement at
the time of her initial audition, as to whether Lori should be allowed to
join Solstice, as it was already the musical domain of her brother, Rod
Bell (see below). Rod's quick-thinking stop-gap measure was to institute
a one-time, one-person-only $25 joining fee, which continues to gather
interest to this very day. Although work took her out of the province in 2001,
Lori was graciously welcomed back upon her return in 2009. Lori is a
professional geo-technical engineer and co-owner of a Saskatoon-based engineering consulting company, but music has always been a large part of
her life. A former member of The Fireside SIngers, Lori studied voice and
piano under Marilyn Whitehead. With Solstice, she has found her musical
home, harmonizing and blending the rich vocal jazz chords in the unique
sound that is Solstice. Highlights include spending the second half of her honeymoon with Solstice at MusicFest '88, having her son grow up to play
drums for Solstice and singing with a smile whenever and wherever the
group gets together.
Nancy Sparling - alto
Music has been both a passion and a vocation in Nancy's life. Born in Prince Albert to a musical family, Nancy learned to play the piano, participated in school bands and choirs, and she performed as a singer and keyboard player in her family's dance band, The Stubbs Generation. She completed her Bachelor of Music in Music Education at the University of Saskatchewan, and she has been teaching in the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division for her entire career. Her involvement as a choir member and cantor with the Music Ministry at St. Anne's Church has been both a delight and a blessing.
Nancy and her husband, Bruce, have three children who fill their home with love, music and laughter. She is excited and honoured to begin her new musical adventure with the accomplished singers and musicians of Solstice.
Grant Currie - tenor
Grant got his start on piano at the keyboard of Elva Clarke, who gave him
a love of the piano, an introduction to the music of Dave Brubeck, and what
is still his favourite pair of cufflinks. His start on the saxophone began with clarinet lessons from Frank Connell, from whom Grant learned that one can
play a reed instrument in a smoke-filled room. From there, it was only a
short step to jazz. Grant owes his interest in singing to his mom, dad and brothers. Singing together helped them develop their musical ears and their appreciation for harmonies. Listening to the Mills Brothers and the Andrews Sisters didn't hurt, either. In addition to singing in Solstice, Grant plays saxophone and piano in other jazz ensembles. In Solstice, he revels in the
vocal blends and the jazz rhythms of the music. Grant is also grateful that
the group's leader, a person he loves and admires, routinely selects some of
his arrangements to be performed by Solstice.
Rod Bell - tenor
Rod joined Solstice in 1983. In addition to singing, he can play God Save the Queen on the harmonica. It is not a vocal jazz version, but he is willing to play it in Saskatoon. He can also play the theme song to Happy Days, which he can play on a melodica. If the song is slow enough and uses only three chords (G, D and C), he can play the guitar, as well. He knows the fingering on the saxophone, but can't remember how to blow it, so he doesn't very often get called on to show off his woodwind skills when Solstice performs. If there is ever an opportunity for a piano solo calling for half a verse of Piano Man, Rod is willing to step in. (What's that, now, four instruments?) Rod's not sure what would happen if Solstice and his hockey team ever met. Worlds collide!!
Matthew Olson - bass
Coming with a rich musical background, Matthew joined Solstice in 2019. He'd better give me his own words, soon. Who knows what I might write!
Bob Cowan - bass
Bob says he doesn't have a lot of fancy training (What about that stint with Up With People? They don't take just anybody!). However, he does like to sing... which he has been doing with these yahoos since 1988. (Jean says: That was pretty funny. Bob joined the group in September of 1988 and we were going in to the studio that October to make our first Christmas recording. Bob had to learn all the music in a month! And he nailed it!) Bob is proud to be one of the only people in the group who isn't related to another member of the group.
Sheldon Corbett - keyboard and saxophones
Since 1976, Sheldon has been one of the province's busiest freelance musicians, performing on saxophone and keyboards with over fifteen different ensembles. He plays in a variety of styles from jazz and blues, through world music, children's entertainment and classical to pop and rock. Also a producer, composer and arranger, he is the musical director of Kinsmen Telemiracle. In 2012, Sheldon received the Special Recognition Award from the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.
Head Shots Credit: George Charpentier