Bach Magnificat
7:30PM, Saturday, May 26, 2018
Knox United Church
838 Spadina Crescent E
Saskatoon, SK S7K 3H4
($15 – $44)
Eric Paetkau, Music Director
Allison Walmsley, soprano
Casey Peden, soprano
Lisa Hornung, alto
Spencer McKnight, tenor
Brenden Friesen, bass
Stephanie Unverricht, bassoon
Saskatoon Symphony Chorus, Duff Warkentin, conductor

“The grandest illustration of Bach’s genius”

We end the season on a beautiful note with SSO Principal Bassoonist Stephanie Unverricht soloing with Vivaldi’s beloved e minor concerto.  We explore the world of the French baroque with Rameau’s Castor et Pollux.

Bach’s Magnificat allows the SSO to showcase the incredible work of the Saskatoon Symphony Chorus and the SSO debut of soprano Allison Walmsley, 2016 winner of the Gordon Wallis Opera Competition.

Castor et Pollux – Jean-Philippe Rameau

Bassoon Concerto in e minor – Antonio Vivaldi


Magnificat – Johann Sebastien Bach

Allison Walmsley, soprano

Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in voice performance at the University of Saskatchewan, studying under Dr. Garry Gable and Kathleen Lohrenz Gable. Allison won the Gordon Wallis Opera competition and the CFMTA Young Artist competition and tour in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Recent projects include Queen of the Night in Opera Kelowna’s Die Zauberflöte,  Nanetta in Western University’s Falstaff, Emily in Opera NUOVA’s Our Town, Lucy in the U of S Music Theatre ensemble’s The Beggars Opera. Allison is now in the final year of her Masters of Music degree in performance and literature at Western University under the tutelage of soprano Jackie Short. In 2017, she will sing the role of the cat in Saskatoon Opera – School Tour’s – production of The Musicians of Bremen Town, reprise the role of Queen of the Night in Western Opera’s Die Zauberflöte and perform Handel’s Messiah with the Regina Symphony Orchestra.

Lisa Hornung, contralto

Honoured as one of the University of Saskatchewan’s Arts and Science Alumni of Influence, Saskatchewan born contralto, Lisa Hornung has been acclaimed for performances in repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary composers. Her voice has been called “rich and powerful” and her stage presence has “inspired audiences and musicians alike”. In October of 2017 Ms. Hornung was the recipient of the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award.

Most often heard in Handel’s Messiah, Ms. Hornung’s orchestral performances also include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mass in C major, Mozart’s Requiem, Coronation Mass and Vesperae solennes de Confessore, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, the Duruflé Requiem, the Canadian premiere of Ruth Watson-Henderson’s From Darkness to Light, Verdi’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Vaughn Williams’ Magnificat, The May Queen by Bennett, and the Alto Rhapsody by Brahms. Very excited about the talents of composer Paul Suchan, Lisa was delighted to record his full nuptial mass entitled May, and to have premiered the role of May Bartram in his opera The Beast in the Jungle.

In addition to her orchestral work, Ms. Hornung enjoys an active recital career with recent performances including works by Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Marx, Debussy, Purcell and Handel as well as Christmas, Spiritual and Folk repertoire. She has toured the United States and Europe as a soloist and ensemble member with the American Spiritual Ensemble, a group of professional singers dedicated to the preservation and performance of Negro Spirituals.
Soprano Casey Peden and Lisa have been presenting duet recitals including works of Haydn, Purcell and Handel as well as a variety of folk arrangements. They have collaborated with Mr. John Ried Coulter, Ms. Alison Kilgannon, and Mr. Robert Hall. Their most recent venture saw them in Ontario singing with The Sudbury Studio Singers and the Sudbury University Chorus, performing Canadian Folk Songs arranged for SATB choir with alto and soprano soloists, arranged by Robert Hall.

Having performed across Western Canada, the United States and Europe, Lisa is always happy to be close to home with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. She looks forward to singing Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Messiah with the SSO and the SSO Chorus during their 2018 season.

After completing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at the University of Saskatchewan under the tutelage of Professor Dorothy Howard, Ms. Hornung went on to further her studies at the Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy. This was followed by an intensive study time at Southern Illinois University with Richard Best. Later she completed a year of study, with the support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, working with Mr. Nico Castel, Dr. Everett McCorvey, Dr. Cliff Jackson, Dr. Bill Cooper, Professor Micheal McMahon, Professor Tedrin Lindsey and Mr. Richard Best.

In accordance with her belief that every child deserves the opportunity to sing, Lisa runs a non- audition Community Youth Choir and often collaborates with elementary and high school musical endeavours. She also enjoys lending a hand when the local drama club is in need of musical direction. For several years she directed the Meota Men’s Choir, a non-audition men’s choir that was very active in the Battlefords and surrounding area. Ms. Hornung has gained a deeper appreciation and love of choral arts through her continued work as vocal coach for Cantilon and Belle Canto, professional touring choirs directed by Ms. Heather Johnson.

Lisa is the founder and director of Summer School for the Solo Voice, a week long study and performance opportunity for singers, choral conductors, accompanists and voice teachers of all ages and abilities. Growing from a local to a national, and now, international program, SSSV celebrated its 20th Anniversary in July, 2017.

Well known as a teacher, adjudicator, clinician and choral coach, Lisa lives in North Battleford, Saskatchewan with her husband John. They have two grown children in University, and a German Shepherd at home to help with their ‘empty nest syndrome’.

Spencer McKnight, tenor

Three times national award winning tenor, Spencer McKnight, began singing at the age of 17. He was encouraged to pursue music by an adjudicator who heard him sing at his local music festival.  His passion for music finds him frequently immersed in the music of Handel, Rossini, and Britten.

McKnight is fresh off his first place finish at the Gordon C. Wallis opera competition.

This season McKnight will be featured with the Saskatoon Symphony in two works. He will be the tenor soloist for Handel’s Messiah as well as Bach’s Magnificat. McKnight is also touring with his concert Songs of the Great War throughout Saskatchewan and Canada.

McKnight studied with teacher and mentor Lisa Hornung, and presently works with Toronto teacher and vocal pedagogue, Mark Daboll.  In the past few years he’s been a featured soloist with many groups including, University of Toronto Men’s Chorus, St. Peter’s Chorus, Saskatoon Men’s Chorus, and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. ​

His voice is described as fresh and brassy, and characteristically “Handel”.  Spencer McKnight is proud to have been a recent recipient of funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board.


Stephanie Unverricht, bassoon

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Stephanie Unverricht returned home in 2011, joining the Saskatoon Symphony and Chamber Players ( as Principal Bassoon. Beginning bassoon studies with Peter Gravlin in Saskatoon, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa and a Master of Music at the New England Conservatory (NEC) studying with Christopher Millard and Richard Svoboda.  While in Boston at NEC, Stephanie performed with MetroWest Opera, the Mercury Orchestra and the Glens Falls Symphony, NY. She has also performed in a number of Canadian ensembles, including the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Regina, Red Deer and Winnipeg.

Since joining the SSO she has performed as soloist and designed engaging school shows that are performed for elementary-aged students throughout the province.  Stephanie has been a featured performer and member of local festivals and chamber groups including Prairie Virtuosi, Ritornello Festival, Saskatoon Opera, Strava new music Festival, “Peter and the Wolfettes” bassoon quartet, and her trio “Chicks with Sticks”.  Not confined to the classical genre, she is also a multi-instrumentalist with the alternative orchestral folk band, Minor Matter (, who have released two recordings including an EP in 2013 and a self-titled full length album in 2016.

Stephanie is a teacher and co-director for Sistema Saskatoon  (, a program that focuses on the ideal that every child should have the opportunity to enrich their lives through music and teamwork. She is a coach for the woodwind section of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra ( and also maintains a private studio in Saskatoon as well as a few surrounding rural communities, including Humboldt and Middle Lake.

Casey Peden, soprano

Casey Peden holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Alberta. Her professional development continued through Tafelmusik’s Baroque Summer Institute, the Early Music Vancouver Vocal Summer School and private lessons. Ms. Pedens’ teachers include Linda Perillo, Harold Wiens, Ellen Hargis, and Lisa Hornung. Ms. Peden has been heard as a soloist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Pro Coro Canada, Madrigal Singers, Alberta College Womens Choir, Da Camera Singers, Schola Cantorum, the Dutch Renaissance Ensemble Verboden Frucht and most recently with the Saskatoon Symphony Chamber Orchestra. She has been the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Coffee Cantata, Vaughn William’s Serenade to Music, Rutter’s Requiem, Allegri’s Miserere, and Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai. Ms. Peden will be a soprano soloist in Bach’s Magnificat with the Saskatoon Symphony Chamber Orchestra in May, 2018. In addition to her recital singing, Casey stays active with her studio, adjudicating, and volunteering with the Community Youth Choir in North Battleford. She lives with her husband and two sons on the family ranch in Glaslyn, Saskatchewan.

Brenden Friesen, bass-baritone

Holding a MMus Opera degree from the University of Toronto, Saskatchewan born bass-baritone Brenden Friesen has captured audiences with his exceptional diction, enormous

comedic presence, and incredible interpretation of text (Opera Canada). Brenden recently performed the roles of Leporello and Il Commendatore in UofT Opera’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni , directed by Marilyn Gronsdal, as well as Masetto in Don Giovanni (Saskatoon Opera), the title role in Händel’s Imeneo (UofT Opera), The Police Chief in the UofT Student Composer Project opera Vengeance, and Jupiter in Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers ( UofT Opera) under the baton of sensational baritone Russell Braun.

Brenden is very excited to be home on the prairies performing the role of Colline in Saskatoon Opera’s production of Puccini’s La bohème in June 2018. Following this performance, Brenden will be again performing the role of Colline with Highlands Opera in Haliburton Ontario in July 2018. In August 2018, Brenden is pleased to be continuing his operatic career as one of the young artists in the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and making his Montreal debut as Count Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Castor et Pollux – Rameau – 20 mins
Orchestral selections of the opera rom 1737

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Concerto in e minor – Vivaldi – 12 mins

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Magnificat – Bach – 30 mins

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