Music Festival Info
Mel Hurst
Speech Arts Adjudicator
Dedicated to the shaping of tomorrow’s musical talent, Melvin James Hurst is a highly regarded, multi-faceted Toronto-based adjudicator, conductor, organist and teacher with over four decades’ professional experience. Since 2004 he has served as Director of Music and Organist at Humbercrest United Church, leading a semi-professional ensemble, following more than twenty years at Kingsway Baptist Church in the same position.
Raised in Saskatchewan, Mr. Hurst studied piano with Jean Swan and Lyell Gustin, completing an ARCT diploma. He holds a Bachelor of Education (Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan and a Masters of Music in Choral Literature from the University of Oregon, including study with renowned Bach interpreter Helmut Rilling at the International Centre for Music Education in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Teaching posts include the University of Saskatchewan and Queen’s University, along with twenty years in a music specialist role for Peel Board of Education. He regularly conducts workshops for teachers in the development of music literacy, choral technique, recorders and speech arts.
For more than three decades, Mr. Hurst has impacted musical lives from coast to coast, adjudicating festivals at the regional and provincial levels in piano, voice, choral music and speech. He was twice invited to the National Music Festival of Trinidad and Tobago. This year, Mr. Hurst is adjudicating at Davenport and ORMTA (Toronto Central), followed by Midwestern Ontario Rotary (Walkerton) in 2018. At home with audiences and performers alike, Mr. Hurst brings his passion for pedagogy along with an extensive knowledge of repertoire. Young people particularly enjoy his keen sense of humour.
An accomplished conductor and coach, Mr. Hurst founded the Regina Chamber Singers. He has prepared choirs for a variety of large musical works and mentored young professionals auditioning in oratorio, opera and music theatre. Valuing both the solo and ensemble voice, Mr. Hurst enjoys carefully crafting beautiful music with committed artists of diverse levels and backgrounds.
Mr. Hurst is President of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association. He also currently serves as Chair of the Board and Program Advisor for Prologue to the Performing Arts, an organization providing cultural and educational programs for Ontario schools. Additional affiliations include The American Choral Directors Association, The Royal Canadian College of Organists, and the Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada (Past President).
Mr. Hurst resides in the Humber Valley area of Toronto and enjoys his summers in rural Saskatchewan.