Opera NUOVA Board of Directors & Staff

Board of Directors

BACK ROW: David Burzminski, Kim Mattice Wanat, Karen Bokenfohr, Geoff Brockman

FRONT ROW: John Pater, Sandra Durante, Michelle Van der Molen, Shad Turner

Executive Directors

Michelle Van Der Molen – Chair
Sandra Durante – Vice Chair
Geoff Brockman – Treasurer
John Pater – Secretary


Karen Bokenfohr
David Burzminski
Yvette Laviolette
Shad Turner

Administrative Staff

Kim Mattice Wanat – Artistic & Managing Director; Founder of Opera NUOVA

Aidan Ferguson – Arts Administrator; Young Artist Programs, Financials & Box Office Manager  

Kate Svrcek – Development & Marketing Officer; Sponsorships, Public Relations

Board of Directors Biographies

Executive Board Members


Michelle graduated from the University of Alberta in 1988 with a Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. She has practiced pharmacy in both community and hospital settings in Alberta, Nunavut and British Guyana (as a volunteer with Canadian Crossroads International) and currently owns her own Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in northeast Edmonton.  She has been a volunteer much of her adult life, with stints on many church and community boards and committees, including seven years with Options Edmonton (previously Planned Parenthood Edmonton). She is the proud mother of two adult children, whose passion for arts and culture continues to inspire and challenge her.  Michelle’s current leisure activities include curling, reading, learning to tango and wine-tasting.


Sandra Durante joined the Opera Nuova Board of Directors in 2014 and is serving her second term as Vice Chair. Sandra’s love of opera and passion for the arts are deep rooted from her childhood in Italy. In her professional role at the City of Edmonton, Sandra leads energy management and project management professionals to serve the needs Citizens. She holds a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University; is a graduate of the UofA School of Business and holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Calgary.




John Pater is on a lifetime quest to find meaning … in his professional and personal life and in his enjoyment of the literary and performing arts. John worked for a dozen years as a radio news reporter, news editor, reader and host, primarily for CBC in Edmonton and Iqaluit. He has spent another dozen years working as a public and media relations specialist, primarily with the City of Edmonton. And lately is shifting to working as a policy advisor on government relations with the City. John has a Master of Theological Studies degree where he focused on the meaning to be found in popular culture and the arts. The NUOVA artists have been a source of inspiration for over 10 years now, with highlights being watching his daughter Erin Vandermolen-Pater perform (NUOVA alumnus 2015 & 2016).

Board Members


Karen’s interest in Music began at age 5, learning piano.  She continued piano up until Grade IX Royal Conservatory.  As a youth, she took band and Choir throughout high school. Karen learned French horn, flute and piccolo.  Following High School, she chose to become a nurse, working 10 years in the operating room at the University of Alberta.  At age 40, Karen studied harp with Kerri Lynn Zwicker.  Her interest in music was shared by her children, and her two daughters soon became extremely busy outside of school with dance, voice lessons, and St Albert Children’s Theater, where Karen served as a board member.  Both girls had Kim Mattice Wanat as there vocal coach.  Karen’s youngest is now pursuing her bachelor of music degree in vocal performing at McGill.  Karen is excited to be on the board of Opera NUOVA and looking forward to the challenges ahead.


Born in Lamont, Dave grew up on a farm. He has two sisters, one older and one younger. He enjoyed music from a young age and enjoy most genres in general, but especially classical music. In school, he participated in the music and choral programs. After high school, Dave sung for several years in the Columbian Mixed Choir under Paul Bouret. His post-secondary education consisted of attending NAIT in the field of Medical Laboratory Technology. After several years practicing at the Misericordia Hospital, Dave attended the University of Alberta and then was employed at the University of Alberta Hospital, in the transplantation laboratory. He spent several years in research, but his main focus was on the clinical side. This involved the pre- and post-transplant monitoring of patients as well as assisting physicians in the selection of transplant recipients when a donor presented. Dave retired on August 1, 2012 and is currently enjoying not being on call.  Happily, he is as busy as ever. He has travelled a fair amount in the past and enjoys the challenge of finding flights and holidays that meet each trip’s needs. A love of wine and great food fits in well with his love of his favorite city, Paris.  Dave is a valued resource to friends & colleagues when they plan trips to Europe, Australia and New Zealand.


Yvette has over 37 years of experience in the insurance industry, with 26 years as an independent adjuster. Since 1999 she has owned her own business in St. Albert; ASI Alternative Solutions, an independent insurance company. Yvette is an honors Fellow of the Insurance Institute of Canada. Yvette has been an instructor in Automobile Insurance (Personal and Commercial), Bodily Injury, Liability, and Advanced Loss Adjusting courses for the Insurance Institute of Canada since 1984 and has conducted seminars on a wide variety of topics. She has taught similar courses in the MacEwan University Insurance and Risk Management Program.   Yvette was recently awarded the Insurance Institute of Northern Alberta Instructor of the Year Award for 2013/14.

Yvette is a past-president of the Insurance Institute of Northern Alberta and is a past board member of the Alberta Insurance Council’s Appeal Board.  Yvette joins the board as one who has previously appreciated Opera NUOVA’s mandate as an audience member. She enjoys spending time with her 6 children and 1 grandchild.


Shad is a seasoned musician who is as comfortable on the risers, at the podium, or on the stage. Shad discovered his lifelong passion for choral singing in Vancouver, the highlight of which was five years singing and touring with the acclaimed men’s choir, Chor Leoni. Shad also appeared on the musical theatre stage in choruses and in ensemble shows presented by Theatre Under the Stars and Royal City Musical Theatre Company. In Yellowknife, Shad directed a 70-voice adult community choir and a 25-voice chamber choir. He performed lead roles in several musical theatre shows with Ptarmigan Ptheatrics and sang everything from classical to barbershop to jazz in a local recital group. Since moving to Edmonton, Shad has sung with Pro Coro Canada and now makes his choral home as a baritone and board member with Chronos Vocal Ensemble, an award-winning, new-on-the-scene chamber choir. Professionally, Shad has worn almost as many hats as on the stage. He has been a school teacher, a public librarian, a freelance copy-editor, a human resources advisor, and now, a lawyer. Shad is an associate with Field Law, practicing estate litigation and general civil litigation out of the Edmonton and Yellowknife offices.