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CMU students set to participate in 13th annual Verna Mae Janzen Music Competition

CMU students set to participate in 13th annual Verna Mae Janzen Music Competition

Canadian Mennonite University is pleased to announce the 13th Verna Mae Janzen Music Competition, which will take place on Thursday, February 15.

The annual event features students from the CMU School of Music competing for three cash prizes. The first-place winner is awarded $700, the second-place winner receives $500, and the third-place winner takes home $300.

"The competition provides an important venue for students to develop their skills beyond the regular performance requirements of their program," says Rosemarie van der Hooft, Voice Instructor at CMU.

The students participating in this year's competition are:

  • Maria Cesario – 5th year, Bachelor of Music (Comprehensive) – soprano
  • Riley Dyck – 4th year, Bachelor of Music (Comprehensive) – piano
  • Madeleine Friesen – 3rd year, Bachelor of Music (Musicology, Music Education) – piano
  • Emma Heinrichs – 3rd year, Bachelor of Music (Performance, Music Education) – piano
  • Emily Rempel – 3rd year, Bachelor of Music (Music Ministry, Collaborative Piano) – piano
  • Julie Sidorchuk – 3rd year, Bachelor of Music Therapy – piano
  • Katy Unruh – 3rd year, Bachelor of Music (Performance, Music Education) – soprano 
  • Lisa Vuignier – 4th year, Bachelor of Music (Performance) – soprano

"Over the course of the last 12 years of the competition, students have consistently risen to a very high standard," van der Hooft says. "It has helped them prepare for performances beyond the university, whether it be auditions for master's programs or other areas of public performance that they may pursue after their studies at CMU."

The adjudicators at this year's competition are:

  • Jenny Regehr – Well known across Canada for her solo recitals, duo and chamber music performances, Regehr was the harpsichordist and pianist of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra for many years.
  • Lara Ciekiewicz – Hailed by critics as "mesmerizing," "magnificently bell-toned," and "a clear standout" soprano Ciekiewicz is a dynamic singing-actress. She is a CMU alumnus.
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The Verna Mae Janzen Music Competition is made possible thanks to the generous donation of Peter Janzen. It is named in memory of his wife, who died of cancer in 1989 at age 53.

For Janzen, sponsoring the event is a way to contribute toward the success of CMU. He wanted to support CMU via a music competition because he and Verna Mae met through their interest in choral singing.

"I always dreamed of someday dedicating a memorial to my wife—a wonderful, loving, sensitive, intelligent, and happy companion," Janzen said in 2007. "Through the Verna Mae Janzen Music Competition at CMU, I can keep her memory alive."

Janzen, who lives in Deep River, ON, is planning to attend this year's competition.

"The competition is a fitting memorial to Verna Mae Janzen, who had a passion for singing and music in her life," van der Hooft says. "We're once again extremely grateful to Mr. Janzen for supporting and encouraging students to pursue their passions."


About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU's Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 900 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU, visit

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB& R3P 2N2

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