Belief Statement:

​​​​Who are we?

Stefanie Schumer has taught Choir and Band in both the public and private school system for over 15 years. She holds a double degree in Music and Education from the University of Lethbridge, where she studied both piano and classical voice. She has performed with church ensembles, community theatre groups, and various choirs. Stefanie has a deep passion for inspiring young singers and building a vibrant local choral community for youth in Kelowna.

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.

Proud member of Kelowna Chamber of Commerce:

Scott joined the board in 2022 filling the role of treasurer.  He has been an avid musician most of his life playing piano for a gospel choir, jazz big bands, and other music groups. In recent years, with his son playing violin and fiddle music, Scott has enjoyed accompanying him on piano and guitar in music festivals, and fiddle contests, as well as some busking opportunities.

Alexandra Babbel - Voice Advisor

​​​​The Kiwanis Music Festival Society of Kelowna, better known as The Central Okanagan Performing Arts Festival, is a non-profit charitable organization.
We are a small but mighty team comprised of an Executive Director, and a Governing Board.
Membership is open to the public, and executive positions are elected from the membership.
We rely heavily on volunteers during festival season (March, April, May), and are always happy to welcome new members and volunteers to our ranks!

Stefanie Schumer - Choral Advisor

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

Tascheleia Marangoni - Executive Director

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

Charissa Schamuhn - ​Marketing Director

Julie Mulligan - Volunteer Coordinator

Our Board Advisors

Kaylee Morcombe - Secretary

Sandra Wilmot - Strings Advisor

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

Graham Vink is an incredible pianist and music instructor, who is very dedicated to youth in performing arts.

​​Central Okanagan Performing Arts Festival

The Central Okanagan Performing Arts Festival is a performing arts festival for youth that runs every year from March to May. It has been in existence since 1926. This festival gives aspiring young artists an opportunity to showcase their talents and achievements in dance, music, and voice with their community and peers. And most importantly to take master classes with and be adjudicated by out of town professionals from their discipline. This creates an incredible learning opportunity for young people, who can also potentially be awarded scholarships, and the opportunity to move onto provincial and national festivals.

About Us

Born and raised in the Okanagan, Kaylee brings with her a deep passion for music and is known for her enthusiasm and helping other. Over the last 10 years, she has worked with countless musical acts and volunteers her time at a variety of different music festivals across British Columbia.

​Mission Statement:

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

​Scott MacFarlane - Treasurer

Tascheleia Marangoni is the Executive Director for the Central Okanagan Performing Arts Festival (previously known as the Kelowna Kiwanis Festival). She is a professional dancer & artist by trade, who resides in Kelowna, BC. Tascheleia began her studies in dance at the age of 3, and boasts over 45 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, and classifies herself as a Folk Artist.
​Tascheleia has a wide variety of experience in the non-profit sector as an Executive Director; 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.

According to Julie, what she lacks in musical talent is made up 100-fold by her passion for organizing events that matter, with people who care.  Having served thousands of volunteer hours herself, she understands the motivation behind giving of one’s time and effort. Her all time favourite quote by Margaret Meade reads: “Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed group of citizens can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

​​Graham Vink - President