University of Regina Conservatory of Performing Arts

Conservatory of Performing Arts (formerly the Regina Conservatory of Music; Conservatory of Music and Dance), University of Regina. Institution initiated as the music program of Regina College in 1911 and named the Conservatory of Music in 1912, with J.E. Hodgson as director.

Conservatory of Performing Arts, University of Regina

Conservatory of Performing Arts (formerly the Regina Conservatory of Music; Conservatory of Music and Dance), University of Regina. Institution initiated as the music program of Regina College in 1911 and named the Conservatory of Music in 1912, with J.E. Hodgson as director. Originally located in the old Regina Hospital Building, the Regina Conservatory of Music was later housed in a succession of campus buildings until Darke Hall, a music and arts building, was completed in 1929 and became its home. The Conservatory faculty presented the first concert on 16 Jan 1929. The Conservatory program grew over the years, and in 1963 additional space was provided in the new fine arts building of the Regina Campus, University of Saskatchewan (in 1974 reconstituted as University of Regina). In 1967 a recital room and a library with listening facilities were opened.

Music Instruction

In 1912 the Regina Conservatory of Music began teaching piano, voice, strings, theory, kindergarten classes, and the Fletcher Method. By 1914 the calendar also listed organ, winds, brass, counterpoint, form, and conducting. A college orchestra was started and concerts were presented. Directors after Hodgson were G. Hoole (1915-17) and H. Holgate (1917-20). Fred Killmaster, who became director in 1920, stated that the "Regina College Conservatory of Music must become to the West what Toronto Conservatory is to the East." He was succeeded by Cyril Hampshire (1928-35), and Dan Cameron, first as head of an administration committee (1936-40), then as director (1940-51). In 1951 Richard Watson became director, although his main contributions were as a teacher and in developing the Regina Conservatory Opera. Howard Leyton-Brown was appointed head of the string department in 1952 and served as director 1955-86. He was assisted 1971-86 by Gordon Wallis. John Griffiths was director 1986-2001 (with Jim Ellemers administrator), and was succeeded by Angela Birdsell (beginning 2001) and Gerry Folk (beginning about 2004). Faculty members, often players with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, have included Dorothy Bee, Jack Behrens, George Coutts, Edna Marie Hawkin, Gordon McLean, Thomas Schudel, Jan van der Gucht, and others.

Programs and Performances

Renamed the Conservatory of Performing Arts in 2001, the school has offered varied programs including Suzuki groups, early childhood music, speech, movement, and ballet. It has presented numerous public performances by staff and students in drama and dance as well as in music, and has organized workshops, master classes, and summer schools, beginning as early as 1928. Student ensembles have included the Conservatory Studio Singers, the Conservatory of Performing Arts Pipe Band, children's choirs, and a number of Baroque, chamber, junior, and senior orchestras.

The Conservatory of Performing Arts has maintained affiliation with the University of Regina as part of the Centre for Continuing Education (Faculty of Extension 1965-2001).


Further Reading

  • Riddell, William A., and Leyton-Brown, Howard. The Regina Conservatory of Music: Seventy Five Years of Growth and Service 1912-1987 (Regina 1988)

    "We Remember: John Griffiths," Degrees (University of Regina), vol 19, no 2, Fall 2007