Photo by Tracy Kolenchuk

Board of Directors

The Yardbird Suite is made up of a talented group of board members, staff, and volunteers, and support crew. Without them, we wouldn’t be the club that we are today.

President to the Board of Directors
Finance, Governance, & Education Committees

Murray Smith obtained his PhD at the University of Alberta from the Department of Secondary Education and his Masters of Music degree from Indiana University. His professional performances include a wide variety of styles including orchestral, wind ensemble, jazz, pop, and country with artists such as David Baker, Tommy Banks, Wilf Carter, Peggy Lee, Eric Marienthal and the Louisville Symphony Orchestra.

Murray has taught at MacEwan University, Red Deer College, and the University of Alberta in the Faculties of Education and Extension as well as the Department of Music. He has worked as a music consultant for Edmonton Public Schools and for six years Murray directed bands, orchestras, and a variety of ensembles in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Look for chapters Murray contributed to Teaching Music through Performance in Jazz Vol. I and II and Teaching Music through Performance in Jazz for Beginning Ensembles. Listen for him on the Marvin Stamm/Bob Stroup C.D., Live at the Yardbird Suite, Snake Fence Country by the Edmonton Wind Ensemble, and Project Discovery. Currently, Dr. Smith is the principal at École Kenilworth School in Edmonton.

Murray is proud to be recently appointed as the vice-president of the Education Society of Edmonton as well as the president of the Edmonton Jazz Society.

Vice President to the Board of Directors
Finance, Governance, Building & Technology Committees

Mortgage Broker, Father, & Community minded volunteer, Trevor MacMillan is dedicated to the Yardbird Suite & The Edmonton Jazz Society. His experience as House Manager at Yardbird Suite has given him a deep understanding of the venue’s operations and the role of the Edmonton Jazz Society in our community. He’s coordinated events, managed staff, and worked to improve patrons’ experiences.

He brings experience and passion for jazz and the Yardbird Suite’s history to the EJS Board & embraces being in service to our community in this capacity.

Secretary to the Board of Directors
Finance, Governance, & Fund Development Committees

“Born in 1971, discovered my love for Jaz in 1976”

Artist, administrator, supporter of the Arts & Live Music & all that is Jazz!

Leah has a lifetime of professional arts & community involvement, not for profit management, festival coordination, volunteer coordination, & public relations.
Passionate about the Yardbird Suite & The Edmonton Jazz Society.

Volunteering

Yardbird Suite, Edmonton Jazz Society (early 1990’s): Volunteer Coordinator, House Manager, Office Assistant, Yardbird Volunteer, Board Liaison
(2021 – Current) Passionate about policy & procedures, fund development, community outreach, partnerships & city to industry planning.

Kootenay Co-op Radio (CJLY) Administrative Manager in the early 2000’s. Volunteer Coordinator, Membership Drive Manager, Secretary to the Board of Directors, & On Air programmer (Powerlines) (Nelson Before 9)

Starbelly Jam Music Festival Society Festival Emcee, (over 15 years: volunteer coordinator, site operations, backstage, kids programming, & security)

“Powerlines” on Big E Radio: (Edmonton): Volunteer radio host/curator – Current. (Saturdays @ 1pm Mountain Time) https://www.bigeradio.com/

Fine Artist (Abstract Acrylic Painter & illustrator). Showing at the Phipps McKinnon Building downtown Edmonton. https://artistleahwilson.wordpress.com/about/

“Hope to see you at the Yardbird Suite, it’s my favorite venue in the whole world”

Treasurer to the Board of Directors
Finance Committee

CPA, CMA

Lorn has deep roots in Old Strathcona. His grandparents came to “the hood” in the early 1900’s, his parents lived in the hood, and he lives within walking distance of the Yardbird Suite. His accounting practice was above DaDeo restaurant for 25 years. In 2009 he sold his practice to Yates Whitaker, LLP and moved to their offices in the Old Strathcona Professional building. He retired at the end of June 2023.

He and his wife Linda have been Yardbird fans for 10+ years. Adrian Albert, a former EJS president, asked him in 2018 if he was interested in becoming the EJS Treasurer, and he joined the Board that year. His board experience started in 1970 with the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club (NASCC) as the treasurer. The NASCC ran the road racing at Edmonton International Speedway including the CAN-AM, TRANS-AM and Continental Formula A & B (now Indy car) races. In 1979 he became active with the Society of Management Accountants of Alberta, and served on many committees including: Professional Development / Professional Services / Practice Review and Nominating Committee, Practice Reviewer and Chaired the Appeals Committee. He also served on task forces for Entry to Public Practice and Alberta Security Commission Auditor Guidelines. He was elected three times to the CMA Provincial Council and to the Board of CMA Canada for three years. He also was the founder of CMA’s in Public Practice and served as Chair for five years.

Other Volunteer Board roles include:
• Pillar Senior Citizens Society (Board Member 1982 – 91)
• Ionic Club of Edmonton 1976, (Board Member and Treasurer 1984 – 90)
• South Edmonton Business Association (Board Member 1987 – 94)
• Old Strathcona Business Association (1996 – 2000 – Treasurer 1996, President 1997/1998)
• Edmonton Chapter, Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Board member, treasurer and president. (2003 – 2014)
• Public Member, Alberta College of Occupational Therapists (2003 – 2005)
• Treasurer, Edmonton Rite to Learn Foundation (2008 – 2012)
• Santas Anonymous, Governance Committee member (2009 – 2011)

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:
• Principal, Lorn B. Stanners Professional Corporation, Certified Management Accountant, Edmonton, Alberta. Practice started 1983 and sold to Yates Whitaker, LLP in 2009. He subcontracted his services to them, including managing their Estate tax practice.
• Expert witness – Alberta Court of Queens Bench and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta Discipline Committee Hearing.
• Keynote Speaker/Session Presenter on personal / estate taxes, understanding financial statements for: McEwan College / Keyano College; Toastmasters; JCI Edmonton; Business Link; Investors Group; CIBC; Edmonton Chapter CGAs; Association of Professional Accounting & Tax Consultants, etc.

Director to the Board of Directors
Education Committee

Born in 1962 Quebec. Attended McGill University. Work – Royal Alexandra Hospital. Taught music for over 30 years & professional trumpeter.

Won the 2007 Alberta “Excellence In Teaching Award”. Presented music workshops -Toronto, Hamilton, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, and Calgary.

Presented 21st Century Learner for music teachers with GETCA-NCTCA-AMC. Taught IB/PSDL Music, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Concert Choir, Rock Band, Audio Engineering, Guitar, and Radio Broadcasting.

Jazz History – over four decades at the Yardbird.

Presently-Co-Director of an adult jazz band, Western Canadian Rep for JEN-Jazz Education Network, JEP-Jazz Education Producers and a board member ABA-Alberta Band Association. Member with ABA, CBA, CA-Choral Alberta, and CC-Choral Canada

Experience:

Music, Edmonton Catholic Schools Maurice Lavallee – 1993
Music Director, Edmonton Conseil Centre Nord (1993-1994)
Music Director, Edmonton Catholic Schools Elizabeth Seton (1993-1994)
Music Director, Edmonton Catholic Schools Louis St. Laurent (1994-2001)
Musique Professeur, Factultee St. Jean, Edmonton, Alberta – 1997
Music Director, Edmonton Catholic Schools St. Joseph High School (2001-2024)

Education & Skills:

AGRHS – Lennoxvillle, Quebec
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec (1980-1981)
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta (1989-1993) B.Ed.
Trumpet Clinician (1990-1994)
Professional Trumpeter (1980-2022)
Cosmopolitan Music Society (1980-1989)
Gateway Jazz Band (1988-2020)
Conductor Clinician (2001-2002)
Co-Director-Capital City Jazz Band (2020-2022)

Director to the Board of Directors
Governance Committee

Last year was Michelle Lori’s first year on the Yardbird Suite board in the role of Secretary, Executive Committee, and Finance Committee. Her passion for music is very intertwined with various roles as a veteran volunteer at numerous events in the Edmonton Region.

“I started volunteering at a young age, something my mother taught us was to give back to the community.”

You might see Michelle Lori taking a few photos around the Yardbird and for many other charitable organizations that she donates her talents to.

Michelle Lori is also a member/volunteer for numerous local organizations/events over the decades.

“Looking forward to seeing you at the Yardbird Suite, stop in, stay for the live music and say “Hi”.”

Director to the Board of Directors

Brenda Franczek has lived in Edmonton for almost 30 years. Most of those years were spent raising children and grandchildren and volunteering at their school.

Her family owns and operates a small business in the west end of the city. She is a proud member and new executive of the Kinettes of Edmonton which has given her many ways to volunteer for wonderful projects. She is new to the live music community but has volunteered multiple times for Jammin’ for a Cure and at Yardbird Suite. She started coming to Yardbird Suite approximately two years ago. She felt welcomed and comfortable so she volunteered.

Director to the Board of Directors
Building & Membership Committees

Micheal started his love of Jazz with favourites Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, listening while studying in pharmacy school. Grad school included spending the long nights in the lab listening to the sounds of Miles Davis. With a stint in Chicago, his love for Jazz and Blues grew. Upon returning to Edmonton, he started volunteering with Yardbird Suite, behind the Bar, or at any position. Most recently, Micheal has joined the EJS board, supporting work on digital transformation. A Clinical Pharmacist, a Clinical Pharmacokinetics, Health System researcher, and Educator, Micheal Guirguis (BSc. Pharm, PhD) is focused on optimizing patient care through support of health innovation.

Director to the Board of Directors
Talent Booking Team, Membership Committee, & Building Committee, Yardbird Suite Summer Big Band

Rodrigo Sosa earned his Bachelor of Music degree from MacEwan University before pursuing a Master of Business Administration at Thompson Rivers University.
Rodrigo’s musical career spans a diverse range of styles, including Latin, Jazz, Pop, and wind ensemble. He has performed at numerous festivals in the Edmonton area, such as the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, Edmonton Carnaval, and the St. Albert Latin Festival. Currently, he leads the Yardbird Suite Summer Big Band, aiming to spread the influence of Jazz and the Yardbird Suite throughout the city.

At the Edmonton Jazz Society, Rodrigo fulfills multiple roles, including programming, building maintenance, membership, and serving as a director. His unique background in both arts and business enables him to balance the Society’s passion for music with the operational demands of running a successful arts organization.