Tascheleia Marangoni is a professional dancer & artist who resides in Kelowna, BC. She began her studies in dance at the age of 3, and boasts over 40 years of training and experience as a dancer, instructor, choreographer, studio owner, performer, and producer of dance from over twenty genres, including classical dance styles, and cultural dance, focusing on her passion for Dance Ethnology.
As well as a performing artist, Tascheleia is also a visual artist & painter, creating works of art in a variety of mediums.
​Tascheleia has a wide variety of experience in the non-profit sector; and was honoured to be a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
She is also educated as a wine professional and sommelier.

We provide an annual festival for aspiring performing artists to showcase their achievements

in dance, music, and voice to their community and peers, while having their performances evaluated in a constructive and positive manner.

As a representative of the Kiwanis Club of the Central Okanagan, I strongly support the values and orientation of Kiwanis International. I believe that the lives of children and youth are greatly enhanced through their participation in the performing arts and music, allowing for the development of their personal best.

Belief Statement:

​​​​Who are we?

Charissa Schamuhn is a charismatic marketing maven with over a decade of experience in event promotions. Equipped with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Charissa has harnessed sharp skills in social media, marketing management, and event curation.

​​​​We are a board-governed, non-profit (and registered charity) organization.
The Kiwanis Music Festival Society of Kelowna oversees all aspects of the Festival.
Membership is open to the public; and executive positions are elected from the membership.

Denise Andre - Dance Director

We rely on volunteers, donations, and sponsors to achieve our mission while ensuring that each performer has a wonderful festival experience that encourages further study in their discipline.​​

Tascheleia Marangoni - Executive Director

We acknowledge that the Kelowna Kiwanis Festival is held on the shared traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous territories of the Syilx Okanagan people.

Charissa Schamuhn - ​Member at Large

Our Board Advisors

Ellen Ehlers, Ph. D. - Secretary

Our Board

Kelowna violinist Sandra Wilmot is much in demand as a teacher, performer, and clinician. She has been teaching group and private violin lessons as well as RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) theory classes since 2002. Many of her students play regularly with the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra (OSYO), participate in the Kelowna Kiwanis Music Festival, and have successfully completed RCM exams levels 3-9, with some students going on to pursue music at the post-secondary level. She currently maintains a private studio of over 60 students ages 4 to adult and ranging in level from absolute beginner to RCM ARCT level. She taught grades 3-8 classroom music from 2006-2010, and currently coaches violin sectionals for the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra (OSYO) and co-directs the KCMS Junior and Senior String Ensembles. She is also a former string faculty member at KISSM (Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music) and has been on faculty at the Strings the Thing summer string camp since 2016. Sandra works with various ensembles throughout the Okanagan as a professional freelance musician and has been playing regularly with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Kamloops Symphony Orchestra since 2001. She has performed with various other orchestras across Canada and has attended many prominent orchestral and early music training programs including Early Music Vancouver, and the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific. She regularly plays weddings and other corporate and private functions along with her colleagues from the Okanagan Symphony. Sandra also has an extensive choral background, having accompanied many prominent BC children’s choirs, directed school choirs, and acted as official accompanist for the World of Children's Choirs Symposium in Vancouver in 2000. Sandra is also a journalist, pianist, arranger, and award-winning composer. She was the 1st place winner in the Jean Coulthard Composition Competition and the Vancouver Chamber Choir's Young Composers Competition in 2000 and has had original works commissioned and performed by the Aura Chamber Choir, Vancouver Chamber Choir, B.C Choral Federation, University of Victoria, and the Kelowna Community Music School.
Sandra is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and is currently on faculty at the Kelowna Community Music School, Kamloops Symphony Music School, Penticton Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and Strings the Thing summer string camp.

Alexandra Kosachukova Babbel, Conductor of CANDESCA, brings to the organization years of proven artistic vision. Ms. Babbel has demonstrated a keen eye for identifying new talent and providing a sound educational environment for musicians to fully develop their craft.

Not only has Ms. Babbel enjoyed an operatic career with multiple leading roles as an operatic and concert solo performer, she holds a BA in Choral Music  Education, University of Michigan, a MA in Opera Performance, University of Alberta and Post-Masters Certificate of Performance, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois including doctoral studies.

Before relocating to Canada, she held position of Voice Department Head at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.
As the founding artistic director of CANDESCA,  Ms. Babbel has trained and developed young singers who have gone on to succeed in performing. Encouraging young voices to embrace personal discipline and training at the collegiate levels has culminated in numerous successful careers, not only in music, but in medicine, law, finances, and home economics.


Executive Director

​​​John Przywara - ​Fundraising Director

Laura Elliot - Dance Director

Ellen Ehlers has experience in various dance styles include teaching and performing Middle Eastern dance for over twenty-five years. Entering university as a mature student, Ellen combined her considerable personal practical knowledge with her eclectic educational background to design and teach arts-based workshops.

Bennet Charter - Director

About Us

Mission Statement:

​Marion MacNeil - President

Marion Macneil has volunteered with the Kiwanis Music Festival since 1995, and has been on the Board of Directors several times over the years holding both President and Secretary positions. Marion is a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Kelowna Summit that was formed in 1988, name changed to Kiwanis Club of the Central Okanagan. She has been Secretary/Treasurer off and on, President twice, Lieutenant Governor of the Division in 2001/02, and now Secretary/Treasurer; and awarded Kiwanian of the year three times.

  We believe that it is only through building strong community partnerships and being strategically focused that we will successfully grow the Festival and be able to continue to provide a one-of-a-kind community experience, which will meet with the increasing demand for the Kelowna Kiwanis Festival in the community.

​Scott MacFarlane - Treasurer

Graham Vink - Director

Craig Thomson is an award-winning saxophonist and educator currently based in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Through his dedication to the arts and music education, Craig’s students have earned numerous national and international honours over the past decade. 

Raised in an area of BC long known for its top-quality music programs, Craig was inspired by his teachers at an early age to pursue a career in both music performance and music education, leading to study at Grant McEwan University in Edmonton, Capilano University in Vancouver and the University of British Columbia. 

Craig is the artistic director for the B.C. Interior Jazz Festival, an annual three-day educational event that brings together approximately 1500 students from around Canada and the United States and connects them with the expertise of North America's finest music professionals. The festival is one of the last remaining competitive festivals in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to assuming the role of artistic director, Craig was the festival coordinator for ten years.

​​Kelowna Kiwanis Festival