Speakers and Panelists

Céline Peterson - Host

"Céline Peterson is a brave and articulate champion for jazz. A valiant writer and speaker who works lovingly and tirelessly for the cause of dedicated musicians. Her brilliant mind and deep heart motivate her outspoken support for the present and future of music education. Céline is the real deal and the international jazz community is blessed by her humanity, soul and voice." Benny Green, Pianist, Composer, and Educator

At just 26 years old, Céline has created her own Social Media Management and Consulting business, given inspiring speeches all over the world (Canada, The United States, Denmark, Barbados, Switzerland and South America), and is currently penning the first instalment of her memoirs. Céline has also worked extensively with artists across the globe as she takes on behind-the-scenes responsibilities with event programming and Artist Relations. For the last decade, Céline has worked to build her knowledge in the industry of social media. Her efforts and success have put her at the top of the list for many artists around the world to work with. Within the last 3 years, she has found a home with the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, and their Youth4Music initiative as an Ambassador, and Lead on their Roving Reporters program. Since 2016, Céline has been privileged enough to lead the social media team for the inaugural Kensington Market Jazz Festival, which was the brainchild of Molly Johnson, OC. The Festival itself (run by Molly, Ori Dagan and Geneviève Marentette) is in September, but the team behind it programs music throughout the year in Kensington Market, a part of Toronto’s Heritage District. Being the daughter of world-renowned jazz pianist Oscar Peterson has given Céline a unique outlook on the world. She spent the first 16 years of her life traveling extensively with her father and seeing the world from a very different perspective.


Susan Aglukark - Keynote Speaker 

Nunavut’s first ever Juno Award winning Inuk singer/songwriter, Susan calls herself the accidental artist. Susan grew up in Arviat, Nunavut and with “no musical orthodoxy” to draw from, Susan’s early years were spent learning as she was headlining.

Susan’s early writing (The Arctic Rose-1992) was a series of songs drawn from the thing she had left, a life of uncertainty. The past 25 years and the following 7 albums has seen Susan set on a path of personal discoveries, cultural reconnections and personal healing, a very different path than the one she imagined when she left her home. In her singing/songwriting career, Susan is most proud about reaching a place in  her life where she knows she is right where she belongs, singing/songwriting and falling in love with creating.

Susan has garnered 3 Juno awards, received The Order of Canada in 2005 and most recently was awarded the Governor Generals Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award (June-2016).

Susan has performed for HRH Queen Elizabeth, Jean Chrétien, Brian Mulroney, Nelson Mandela, Billy Graham and The Countess Of Wessex.

Susan is founder and chair of the Arctic Rose Foundation and is an Advisor on the Collateral Damage Project.


Bob Rae and Arlene Perly Rae

THE HONOURABLE BOB RAE, PC CC O.ONT QC was elected eleven times to the House of Commonsand the Ontario legislature between 1978 and 2013.  He was Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995, and served as interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011 to 2013.

He is working now as a lawyer, negotiator, mediator, and arbitrator, with a particular focus on first nations, aboriginal, and governance issues.  He also teaches at the University of Toronto School of Governance and Public Policy, and is a widely respected writer and commentator.

An author of five books and many studies and reports, Bob Rae is a Privy Councillor, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and has numerous awards and honorary degrees from institutions in Canada and around the world.

Arlene Perly Rae is a journalist, author and patron of the arts. She is a champion for children – their literacy, mental health, well-being at all ages as well as Aboriginal issues and women’s rights. 


Sandra Laronde - Performer

Executive & Artistic Director of Red Sky, Sandra Laronde, O.M.C., B.A. (Hon), Hon. LL.D is originally from the Teme-Augama-Anishinaabe (People of the Deep Water) in Temagami, northern Ontario. An accomplished innovator and leader in arts and culture, Sandra has conceived, developed, produced, and disseminated award-winning productions that are Indigenous, multinational, multi and inter-disciplinary, and intergenerational in scope. Sandra creates exceptional new work and programming that raises the artistic ceiling of contemporary Indigenous artistry, and contributes to building vibrant Indigenous communities across Canada and worldwide.

Sandra was the Director of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity from 2008 – 2017. During her nine-year tenure as director, she realized her vision to create exceptional cutting-edge programming informed by Indigenous cultures and worldviews, and excelled at bringing world-class faculty to the Centre. Substantial growth for Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre was achieved under her leadership including place-based culture and an innovative new approach to programming involving hundreds of Indigenous artists worldwide. 

Sandra holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Toronto, and studied Spanish Language and Literature at the University of Granada in Spain. In 2011, the Senate of Trent University conferred an Honorary Degree of the Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) with all its rights, privileges and obligations.


Jamaal Rogers - Spoken Word Performer / Panelist

Jamaal Jackson Rogers; stage name Just Jamaal the Poet, is an award winning Poet Laureate, arts educator, social engagement officer, and recording/performance artist. In the last 6 years he has brought his work to audiences nationally and abroad, his defining moments are when he makes intimate connections with his participants during workshops and performance sets. His topics range from emotional maturity to world issues, from parenting to the human condition. He is a father of five and resides in Ottawa, Canada, using the capital and his performance studio, THE ORIGIN ARTS & COMMUNITY CENTRE as his launch pad to teach, mentor and advocate for the arts.



Rhonda Doxtator - Hoop Dancer

Rhonda Doxtator is from the Oneida nation of Southern Ontario. Her name is Kawisaha which means "She is Carrying Ice" and is from the turtle clan. Rhonda has been a pow wow dancer for 30 years and her passion lies within the cultural arts of dancing and singing and regalia making. Rhonda spends a lot of her time travelling to various native communities to teach dance and regalia making to the youth.  As a mother of two, Rhonda feels its important to share knowledge and promote cultural awareness for the betterment of future generations.









Bboyizm Dance Company and “Crazy Smooth”

Dancing since 1997, Crazy Smooth is one of Canada’s top street dancers, performers, choreographers, instructors, judges, and community leaders. He is the founder and artistic director of Bboyizm, an award-winning street-dance company that has been instrumental in the preservation and proliferation of street dance in Canada and internationally.
He was the first b-boy to obtain a Canada Council grant to hone his art and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Diamond Jubilee Award (2012), the Urban Dance Generation Choréart Trophy (2008), the Most Valuable B-boy Award at Kings of New York (2006), and the Absolute Canadian B-boy Award at Cypher North (2005). cities and events throughout North America and Europe. In 2004, Smooth founded Bboyizm and the company has successfully brought authentic street dance into the professional theatre setting. Three of his full length creations— The Evolution of B-boying, IZM, and Music Creates Opportunity—have toured throughout Canada. The company has been nominated for a Dora award (2012), and won both the Atlantic Presenters Association Touring Performers of the Year Award (2013) and the Ontario Presenters Network Emerging Touring Artist of the Year (2012).


Kuljit Sodhi - Bollywood Dancer

Kuljit Sodhi is the creator and leader of the successful world music ensemble Galitcha. Galitcha is a visionary ensemble that performs original compositions based on Indian folk music, combined with influences from jazz, world and North American folk. In addition to playing music for the past fifteen years Kuljit has been a dance teacher and conducts dance workshops of traditional east Indian folk and Bollywood styles.





Mélodie Coutou - Ecological Artist

Born in 1977, Mélodie Coutou is a Métis from Quebec. She draws her Indigenous Heritage from her mother, from the Mi'kmaq Nation and her father hailed from France. Her indigenous roots are at the foundation of her environmental values and artistic practices.  Mélodie lives and raises her family In the Outaouais. As an ecological artist passionate about the environment and social action, Mélodie Coutou (La Ressourcière) uses obsolete and discarded objects in her installations and sculptures. By highlighting the relationship between causes and effects of natural resource exploitation, she draws attention to the impact of humans on biodiversity and ecosystems.