Opera NUOVA Board of Directors & Staff

Board of Directors

Executive Directors

Michelle Van Der Molen – Chair
Yvette Laviolette – Vice Chair
John Pater – Secretary
Court Laslop – Treasurer


Karen Bokenfohr
Claire Briggs
Martin Galba


Administrative Staff

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

Sarah Austin– Arts Administrator; Young Artist Programs, Financials & Box Office Manager, 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.


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.


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).


Court Laslop is an active member of the Edmonton music community. Court began his career studying music performance at the University of Alberta and soon became interested in the business behind the Performing Arts. Returning to the University he received an MBA degree and began working with Not for Profit performing arts organizations as a consultant and analyst, helping devise business strategy. He has previously served with the board of the Edmonton Recital Society, New Music Edmonton and Festival of Trees, and as Business Analyst with the Edmonton Symphony and has also been involved with Citie Ballet and the Edmonton Opera. Court also maintains a career as a freelance performer and instructor and lectures on Performing Arts business practice.

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.


Claire Briggs is a corporate communications consultant with experience across a variety of disciplines, including employee and management communications, media relations, writing and editing. Claire spent ten years with IBM’s corporate communications team, and before that several years with US-based public relations agencies, working with clients in the IT, arts and retail industries.  She has been involved in music and theatre since childhood, and has the pleasure now of supporting her three children in their musical and performance pursuits.


Originally from Slovakia, lyrical baritone Martin Galba’s busy career in the arts as performer, director, choreographer, producer, and Czech language and dialect coach has been steadily building since 2000. Praised for his significant contribution to the arts in Canada, Martin Galba is the distinguished recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Selected performing credits: Jane Eyre(Edward Fairfax Rochester), Avenue Q (Princeton/Rod), Jekyll & Hyde(title roles), Into The Woods (Baker), Ragtime, the musical (Tateh), Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (title role), Chicago (Billy Flynn, Cabaret (Emcee). Selected directing credits: The Brothers Grimm, Miss Saigon, RENT, La Cage Aux Folles, South Pacific, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Young Frankenstein, Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and HMS Pinafore.