Melvin J Hurst
Melvin James Hurst is currently the Director of Music and Organist for Humbercrest United Church, Toronto, where he conducts a semi-professional choir. Along with the regular liturgical music, the choir presents larger choral works with orchestra, approximately three times a year.
Mr. Hurst holds an ARCT (Piano) from the RCM, Toronto, a Bachelor of Education (Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master of Music Degree in Choral Literature from the University of Oregon. He studied piano with Lyell Gustin in Saskatoon, and attended the International Centre for Music Education in Germany where he had the good fortune to study with Helmut Rilling, a scholar in the music of J. S. Bach.
For many years Mel was a Music Specialist with the Peel Board of Education, giving workshops for teachers in the area of music literacy, recorders, choral techniques and developing curriculum. In his final position at Nahani Way Public School he developed a music literacy program. They were the first public school in Ontario to use English Handbells.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Hurst was Director of Music and Organist at Kingsway Baptist Church, Toronto, for twenty-three years. During this time, along with his colleagues in neighbouring churches, he Coordinated the Out of the Cold Concerts for the Kingsway BIA to benefit the homeless.
His role of Music Supervisor for a School Board in Saskatchewan helped prepare him for teaching at the university level. As an Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Saskatchewan and Queen’s University, Kingston, he taught, coached and evaluated student teachers.
Mr. Hurst accompanies and coaches singers who are auditioning and performing in oratorio, opera and music theatre. He is highly regarded for his keen sense of pedagogy and wide knowledge of repertoire. His piano, organ and theory students consistently receive high marks in festivals and examinations.
Mr. Hurst has been adjudicating Music Festivals across Canada for many years, including Provincial Festivals in Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. He was invited to adjudicate the National Festival of Trinidad and Tobago……twice, both in February!.
Mr. Hurst has served on The Executive of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicator’s Association in various capacities. He was the National President for five years.
He is Past Chair of the Board, and a Program Advisor, for Prologue to the Performing Arts, an agency that provides cultural and educational programs for the Ontario school system.
Mr. Hurst is the Coordinator and a member of the jury for the Barwell Scholarship, offered by the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Toronto Centre.
He is Past President of the Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. His legacy is the crafting and the presentation of exciting Hymn Festivals with Brass Ensembles and outstanding commentators.
Mr. Hurst is a longtime member of the American Choral Directors Association.
Mr. Hurst resides in Toronto with his wife, Wendy. They have three adult children and five grandchildren.