*Head of Music Department*
Simon Castle has been fortunate enough to have a truly vast and varied career in the Entertainment Industry.
From Canada, to the US, England and many more countries.
Simon has rocked them all!
Simon has been a sought after Sound Engineer for some of the biggest and the best.
Having started out in simple night clubs in Victoria BC, he found himself learning about Professional Studio Sound Design in Montreal.
From there he got involved with Live Sound and quickly found himself as the Head Engineer for companies like Princess Cruise lines, to Celebrity and Holland America.
As the shows and systems grew, Simons passion for sonic excellence, literally stood him apart.
Having family ties in England, he then found himself on an 11 year non stop, ‘gig of all gigs’. Working from Ireland, to Scotland, to every major city and shire in England.
From the biggest Theatre Shows for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, to Rock, to all manor of concerts, on a truly huge scale, to boom operating for the BBC,, Simon was there..
Van Morrison, James Brown, Jeff Beck, Jamiriqui, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, to Rock legends like Queen, were just some of the bands Simon was fortunate enough to work with.
From some of the biggest UK and European tours, in the biggest theatres and arenas.
To the smallest and oldest theatres, to being one of the only Canadians lucky enough to be a Sound Operator in London’s West End.
Simon has worked hard and wants to share his intense love of music, the arts and the entertainment industry!
It has been such an honour to return to the island with a wife, a daughter, and a truly unique level of knowledge about the entertainment industry.
Simon’s passion now, is to share his experiences here, in Nanaimo!
Vince Ditrich is probably best known for his 30+ years as drummer, percussionist, manager and comic relief of Spirit of the West, one of Canada’s best loved musical groups.
But that is only part of his 50 year long professional story.
His live performance or recording credits include artists such as Long John Baldry, Doug & the Slugs, Mae Moore, Great Big Sea, Jann Arden, Paul Hyde, Bob Rock, Tom Cochrane, Martin Barre (Jethro Tull) and dozens of others.
Having begun playing for money with his Father’s dance band at age 6 his stylistic scope is deep and wide, his experience exceptionally thorough, and his understanding of the more emotive, expressive aspects of drumming unusually well developed.
“Drums, it turns out, are actually a musical instrument.” He says with a laugh. “I love a drummer that plays the song and responds to the vocalist or the lead instrument. Music is a group activity, and I don’t like narcissistic thrashing…”
Vince has earned 5 gold and 3 platinum records, enshrinement into the Halls of Fame of BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, SOCAN Hall of Fame, Western Canadian Music Assoc Hall of Fame, and occasionally mentions with delight that he and his Spirit brothers have a star in the ‘Star Walk’ on Granville Street in Vancouver.
With Spirit of the West’s retirement in 2016 Vince’s focus has been on composition and production, management and artist development – especially as a mentor for young people, and as a novelist. His first book is, at time of writing, wandering alone around the mean streets of big cities, chatting up publishers.
Bob Wegner is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and music historian. In 2006 he was selected by Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor to play guitar in his first of many incarnations of the We Will Rock You musical. He has performed with May and Taylor on multiple occasions, including an episode of Canadian Idol.
He has since done many tours with Classic Albums Live, a diverse pool of musicians dedicated to faithfully recreating some of the best music ever written, note for note, in theatres all around North America.
To date he has performed albums by Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Rush.
Bob also performs as a solo artist on acoustic guitar both on dry land and on cruise ships, playing anything from Indian classical music to flamenco to Bach to complete rock albums.
His debut solo album "Changing Of The Guard" was released in 2017, comprising of 12 tracks with influences spanning from baroque to 1960s British folk.
As a part of the eclectic trio Euphonic, he and cellist Geoff Ball and percussionist Vince Waters create a sort of "folk fusion" - a hybrid of various styles including latino, ragtime, classical, and jazz.
Their self-titled debut album was released in 2018.
Bob has recorded with artists like Michael Kulas (formerly of the platinum-selling UK band "James") and Fabletongue, many of whose tracks were mixed by Grammy-winning producer David Bottrill (King Crimson, Tool, Dream Theater, Muse, Silverchair).
His guitaring has also been heard on ad jingles, and in films such as In Saturn's Rings and the award-winning Touch.
Bob is the Brian May in a Queen tribute called Simply Queen.
He is also a member of a Genesis tribute called Genesis To Revelation, and a Paul McCartney tribute called Silly Love Songs, where he also plays keyboards, bass, and ukulele.
He is credited as "photo archivist" in the Max Webster box set "The Party".
He also performed their classic song Let Go The Line at a gig in 2015 with keyboardist Terry Watkinson.
Keanu Ienco is a Canadian/Native American guitar player and composer. Keanu has been playing guitar
since the age of 8 after being inspired by Brian May of Queen.
From this young age he has taken music
very seriously and by the age of 15 had already performed live with numerous groups as well as having
radio airplay of his own tunes. Keanu spent over 10 years studying with professional music teacher and
music producer Jim Blair.
“Keanu's active participation in Nanaimo's music community has enabled him to experience more
musical environments than many musicians of his age. His calm and considerate personality has helped
him meet and engage with a long list of industry professionals, many of whom are of legendary status” –
Over the years Keanu has played many gigs as both a sideman and a leader, in styles ranging from rock
to jazz, and has been teaching guitar privately for over 5 years. In 2019 he graduated from Vancouver
Island University with a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies in guitar, on the Dean’s Honor List. During his
time at VIU he spent 4 years studying with Canadian jazz guitarist and composer Lee Ellefson. When he
is not gigging, recording or teaching, Keanu puts much of his time into his love for composing. He takes
influence for his compositions from a wide variety of sources ranging from Queen to First Nation’s
traditional music. Keanu’s compositions are full of emotion and convey a certain mood that only he can.
Keanu has also written numerous pop and rock songs that have gained radio airplay, as well as
composed traditional Canadian Native music for First Nation’s events in BC. Keanu’s current group is a
4-piece instrumental alternative rock band that plays his own originals under his name Keanu Ienco.
Keanu is excited to share his passion of music and guitar playing with his students at UKMovez. He is
available to teach beginner to advanced guitar and can focus in areas such as technique, music theory,
composing, improvisation and overall help to create a love for playing the guitar.
Graduate of the American Music and Dramatic Arts Academy for musical theatre in New York City. Currently creating music and playing in venues all over the Island with “The Paper Dolls”, and Brooklyn Brewery (NYE in NYC). Recent film credits include Untitled Barcelona Bag commercial (Barcelona Spain) Broke (premiering in the New York film festival September 2019) Vancouver Island Film Festival (Knight Studios “Small World”), local music videos and short films in NYC and Canada.
Stage credits include the role of Anne in Love Is Like Mud (New York Fringe Festival), dancer/vocalist for restaurant Sushi Roxx (choreographed by former pussycat doll Asia Nitollano), various cabarets including the west end, cranky cabaret, and elements.
Truly humbled to be back on the island to inspire and motivate wonderful humans into pursuing their dreams.
With over 11 years of teaching in a variety of disciplines ranging from beginner to advanced/university, I am very proud to continue teaching through UKmovez!
Paul Sadlemyer is one of the few Violinists to have attended the Vancouver Island University Jazz Studies Program and earned a Bachelor’s degree.
He began his study of the violin at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Nanaimo B.C.
Prior to this he played guitar and studied with local musical figure (and current member of legendary Canadian band Trooper) Paul Gogo.
Sadlemyer played multiple local charity events with Gogo such as food banks, the Nanaimo hospital, and the Child Development Centre telethon.
It was Gogo who sparked Paul’s initial interest in the violin encouraged him to remain open to all types of music.
At the conservatory Paul studied under local symphony member Karl Rainer.
With Karl, Paul studied the basic technique and repertoire of the violin.
After one year of conservatory training Paul was accepted into the Jazz Studies program at Vancouver Island University and began studying violin under James Mark.
Paul has been an active member of the local music scene throughout his musical career, playing as both side man and leader in the greater Vancouver Island area.
While in university Paul shared the stage with visiting artists Delfeayo Marsalis, Rufus Ried, and Ari Hoenig. Paul was awarded the Pieter de Reuver Foundation Bachelor of Music Jazz Award in 2018 and graduated from Vancouver Island University with a Bachelor in Music in 2019.
Paul is highly passionate about the study of the violin and looks forward to cultivating this passion within his students.
Mikaila Tombe is a graduate from Nimbus School of Recording and Media where she studied
Advanced Music Business and Sound Engineering.
She is influenced by music that is raw and soulful, and translates those genres into her own writing.
The BC raised artist has been performing publicly for over 11 years.
Over the years Mikaila has spent time gigging/performing her own music as well as playing with other artists/bands.
She also spends time working as a recording session vocalist.
She is currently working on recording new material; her music involves a blend of genres including Jazz, R&B, Soul and Pop.
Some of her accomplishments include having the privilege of singing the theme song at the 2014 BC Summer Games and performing at the opening ceremony, as well as winning the Remax Island Star Search.
With over 8 years of experience in teaching music privately as well as in workshop settings Mikaila has developed a passion for encouraging her students to explore multiple aspects and genres of music whilst finding their own niche.
She is very much looking forward to sharing her knowledge with her students!
Shanté grew up in Prince George and from a very early age loved performing.
As a youth, she sang at senior residences, hospital fundraisers, hockey games, PG's Got Talent, the Northern Olympics, and other regional music festivals. She also held annual Spring and Christmas fundraising concerts for various charities.
In 2006, Shanté had the amazing opportunity to create her first classical cross-over al- bum, Miracle, which was an exciting first step into the world of studio recording.
In 2008, she was invited to study at the Victoria Summer Vocal Academy where she met several inspirational teachers who led her to the exciting path of opera-singing.
In 2010, Shanté was invited to perform with the American Honours performance series at Carnegie hall. In 2011, she also performed with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra for a fundraising event hosted by the Elizabeth Fry Society, as well as for the Vancouver Police De- partment’s fundraising event, Drug Awareness for Teens.
During her time in Vancouver, Shanté supported local charities such as Summit North Shore Connections Society in West Vancouver, and has also held concerts at the Silk Purse Arts Centre. She debuted at the Chan Centre in the role of Agricola for the UBC Opera’s production of Jo- hann Strauss’s Eine Nacht in Venedig.
She also performed for them the role of Hippolyta in Ben- jamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Third Lady in the Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, which toured in the Czech Republic and at Bard on the Beach.
After graduating from the UBC Opera program in 2016, she has performed the role of Mercedes in Burnaby Lyric Opera’s production of Carmen and as Siegrune in Heroic Opera’s production of Wagner’s Die Walkure. In October 2018 Shanté had her first appearance in the Vancouver Opera chorus in the production of Turandot and debuted with Opera Mariposa in their production of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” as the saucy and lovable character, Dorabella.
In February 2020, Shante performed the role Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Burnaby Lyric Opera. Alongside her growing singing career, Shante discovered a passion and love of teaching. Shante has been teaching at conservatories and music schools since 2016 in both private voice teaching and group musical theatre classes. She enjoys teaching students who wish to sing in all styles.
Shante hopes to keep working with student of all ages, voice types and genres and aims to con- tinue singing and sharing her love of music with the community.