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

Ross J. Crooks


Ross is currently the GM for Real Estate Canada at Shell, responsible for the execution of commercial deals and projects, facilities management and HSE. He is also accountable for digital enablement for Real Estate across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Ross has been with Shell for 26 years including diverse commercial roles in Downstream. He has experience in integrative leadership, bringing together stakeholders with various views and skills to achieve a common goal. He has experience in creating and executing strategies gained while managing long-term supply balances and accountable for a large profit & loss balance sheet for Imports while in Trading and Supply.

Prior to Shell, Ross was a drum instructor and professional musician. He plays drums, piano and bass and enjoys composing and recording music in his home studio. Jazz was a core technical competency of his early playing years, but he has played across and enjoys various genres of music, especially when they intersect. Live music and music education have been fundamental to creating and sustaining his passion for music. A native Calgarian, Ross is keen to merge his personal passion and professional competencies to support the JazzYYC Vision and Mission.

Contact Ross J. Crooks

Debra Rasmussen

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

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

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

Andrew Choules-Nisbet

DIrector at large

Andrew Choules-Nisbet is a dynamic and passionate leader with significant experience building and leading high-performance teams, and a proven track record of building relationships with internal and external stakeholders based on trust and transparency. Andrew is a skilled communicator, with a solid background in strategic consulting, reporting, metric development, and governance. After nearly 15 years with the Energy and Resources sector, he has recently transitioned to the Government and Public Services sector. Andrew has successfully led numerous technical and service transformations, helping organizations realize cost-savings in excess of $1,000,000 through efficiencies, improvements, and strong governance. His technical expertise in a litany of IT services and solutions, coupled with his ability to build strong and lasting partnerships across a variety of stakeholder groups and sectors, has delivered results throughout his career.

Andrew has a deep love of music and its ability to transcend language to bring people together, and plays bass, guitar, and clarinet, albeit poorly. Having grown up in a house where Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, and Joshua Redman were in constant rotation on the family stereo, he is driven to help build and develop a vibrant jazz scene in the city. He strongly believes that that a healthy cultural scene is necessary for any city that wishes to be world class, and is dedicated to using his experience to broaden access to high quality jazz experiences by supporting innovation, reducing barriers to entry, and building strong communities. Andrew enjoys reading, writing, and loves to cook.

Contact Andrew Choules-Nisbet

Megan Freeman

DIrector at large

Megan holds a BMus from the University of Calgary in Theory and Composition and is classically trained on saxophone. She has been the host/programmer/producer of Lush Life, a jazz radio show at CJSW, since 2016. She is passionate about promoting underrepresented artists, including women, and non- binary folks each week. Lush Life was nominated for a National Community/Campus Radio Association programming award in Jazz and Blues in 2020.

Megan’s past volunteer experience includes the Calgary International Jazz Festival where she was Hospitality Manager, the Alberta Party, YYComedy Festival and she is currently a volunteer at CJSW. She works as a graduate program advisor at the University of Calgary – advising graduate students in Art & Art History, Communication and Media Studies, and Philosophy. She has worked at the University since 2001. She has a desire to ensure jazz has a healthy and vibrant future in Calgary and is interested in promoting and fostering equity in jazz.

Contact Megan Freeman

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