Cathy Ascroft


Cathy joined the Board in 2020 and has been part of the Fundraising and Governance committees, contributing to policies and reports for our funders.  She recently retired from a successful career as an urban planner and policy strategist and previously worked as an educator, consultant and research lawyer.  Her work has encompassed aspects of public policy, sustainability, governance, and stakeholder engagement.  Her musical education began with piano in early childhood and her love of music continues through occasional coaching and playing with friends.  Cathy hopes to help take JazzYYC further on its journey as the leading collaborative jazz organization in Calgary.

Contact Cathy Ascroft

Debra Rasmussen

Vice president / Past President

Deb is an agricultural economist with nearly 30 years’ experience managing projects for Global Affairs Canada (formerly CIDA), the World Bank, the ADB and other international organizations around the world. She’s been performing jazz vocals since 2003.  Debra’s commitment to jazz led to the creation of the “Giant Steppes International Jazz Festival” in 2004.  In 2008, Northern Lights Quartet collaborated at the Giant Steppes Festival with the traditional Mongolian group, Altai Khangai.  They toured Canada in 2009 and recorded the CD “Northern Lights Altai Khangai”.  In 2011, she released her debut CD, “Heart Wide Open” with her long-time musical partner, guitarist, Keith Smith.  She was part of the volunteer committee that led to the creation of JazzYYC. She joined the JazzYYC Board in 2012 as Secretary and become the President in 2013, serving in that role until 2019.  She now serves as Past-President and Chair of the Fundraising Committee. She is also a member of the Calgary Musicians Association and SOCAN.

Contact Debra Rasmussen

Malcolm McKay


Malcolm has been Treasurer of JazzYYC since 2015. He has a long history of involvement as a board member of music and theatre organizations and with organizations that advocate for people with disabilities. Malcolm is also on the Board of Prairie Debut which presents classical and world music concerts across the prairies and northern Canada, and Treasurer of Progressive Alternatives Society of Calgary, which connects persons with developmental disabilities with community engagement and supported employment opportunities. Before his current position at Nutrien Ltd., Malcolm also consulted extensively to the non-profit sector over a 25-year career in public accounting.

Malcolm is also a saxophone and flute artist, playing in a large jazz ensemble in Calgary.

Contact Malcolm McKay

Shannon Matthyssen


Shannon has recently been elected to the Executive Committee as Secretary. She has been a director since January 2018 but also served on the volunteer committee since 2017. She has also been one of our Volunteer Coordinators for the Lolitas Lounge Just Jazz Friday series and both our summer and fall festivals and serves on the Finance committee. Shannon brings many years of board experience to JazzYYC and has also been active as a volunteer and is also on the board of the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society as their Treasurer. Learn more about them https://salts.land/

Contact Shannon Matthyssen

Nancy Hong

Director at large

Nancy joined JazzYYC’s board in 2018 and is part of the fundraising team supporting festivals and outreach programs. Nancy is a financial and regulatory consultant and her work has included several large pipeline projects. She is a yoga instructor and her volunteerism started with grant writing for her local community centre to upgrade its studio and grow its programs. She has secured numerous grants for various arts organizations and gets immense satisfaction from obtaining public funding for programs in her community. Nancy is also on the board of the Yoga Association of Alberta.

Nancy is an avid supporter of live music in Calgary. “As a child, my father always had Sinatra playing and I’m pretty certain that my name came from “Nancy, with the laughing face.”

Contact Nancy Hong

Charles Finstad

Director at large

After spending 10 years in accounting and audit, then 20 more working for national and global consulting practices, Charles founded Valley West Consulting where he works as an independent consultant with a variety of clients that are attempting to tackle structural issues that limit their growth, financial stability and brand awareness.

Volunteer Experience: In 1999 he co-founded the Full Moon back-country race series which he operated with a group of volunteers for 5 years. He eventually became a coach and team leader for the Single-Track Cycle Road Race team.

Interests: Charles studied classical music from the age of 4 and developed a Chopin repertoire before retiring from formal training at 17. Although his love of music never waned, it was another 30 years before he began his study of jazz piano. Charles would like nothing more than to see a vibrant jazz scene emerge (or re-emerge) in Calgary and would be happy to be part of an organization that shares that goal

Potential Role: Strategic planning and donor management

Contact Charles Finstad

Rita Richardson

Director at large

A family and pensions and benefits lawyer with 29 years of experience. Creative strategist and practical problem-solver able to manage multiple priorities. Excellent communicator, both verbally and in writing.

Volunteer Experience:  Current – Director, BoD, Alberta Assn of Collaborative Professionals (Calgary); Chair, BoD, Collaborative Divorce Alberta Assn; Member, Organizing Committee, National Collaborative Law Assn; Regular Annual Volunteer teaching/evaluating components of the Alberta CPLED, including Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Negotiating and Interviewing. Past – Past Chair, BoD and Chair, Education, Standards and Training Committee, Alberta Assn of Collaborative Professionals – Calgary; Past Director, BoD, Past Chairperson, Legal Advisory Committee, Past Member, Human Resources Committee, Past Volunteer Children’s Counsel. Children’s Legal & Educational Resource Centre (C.L.E.R.C.)/Youth Law at the Alex; Past Director, BoD, Asson of Women Lawyers; Past President and Director, BoD and Chairperson, Personnel Committee, Calgary French School; Past Director and Secretary, BoD, Keeler Society of Independent Learning.

Interests: Family, friends, pets, hiking/snowshoeing, cycling, theatre, art, music, interior design, cooking, gardening, books, current events, film, volunteering, travel and ongoing learning.

Potential Role: A detail person that can help strategy, grant writing, policy and process and administration.

Contact Rita Richardson

Jeremy Brown

Director at large

Jeremy Brown is a Professor of Music at the University of Calgary (1990-present) and performs as a jazz, classical and free improviser primarily on the saxophone. He is also a woodwind doubler and performs frequently as a flautist, clarinetist and penny whistle. He has been a conductor of the wind bands at the University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts and is in his twenty-third year as conductor of the Calgary Wind Symphony.

His university ensembles have been widely recognized for original programming and performing excellence; most recently the UCalgary Jazz Orchestra won the Outstanding Ensemble Award at the 2013 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and ten outstanding soloist awards at the 2014 Elmhurst Jazz Festival, Chicago, Illinois and numerous soloist awards at the 2018 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

Potential role: Education (lab band)

Contact Jeremy Brown

Oluwabamise Onifade

DIrector at large

Oluwabamise Onifade was born and raised in Nigeria.  The grandson of a Baptist organist, his musicianship began at a tender age of 5 and has spun through several genres of music, bands, groups, and individuals.  He is a multi-instrumentalist with very keen interest in classical music and jazz and the rhythmically rich African music.

As a suicide survivor, he is very passionate about music education and therapy, and the opportunity to use music as a tool for societal and behavioural betterment. His writings have been featured in SAIT’s monthly newsletters. He is a very strong advocate for the need to engage the younger generation in music and train the all-round musician for the years to come.  Bamise is a photographer and writer and also enjoys research in theoretical physics and Artificial Intelligence.

Contact Oluwabamise Onifade

sign up for our

jazzyyc weekly spotlight

For weekly updates regarding all things Jazz in Calgary, subscribe to us today!

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop