Meet the Staff

Mike Dawson

Mike Dawson

Executive Director
Office: Regina
mike(at)saskmusic.org

Michael brings to SaskMusic a diverse range of experience in the music industry, including tour booking, artist management, marketing and promotion, and sponsorship management. Dawson spent five years serving as the Artistic Director of the Culture Exchange, where he booked and/or promoted over 400 concerts a year, before moving on to become the talent buyer for a number of venues in Western Canada. He is also the Artistic Director of the Gateway Music Festival. Dawson brings to this position a wealth of hands-on industry experience. As the current lyricist and multi-instrumentalist with Library Voices, Michael has performed at countless national and international events including Liverpool Sound City, SXSW, NXNE, Pop Montreal, CMW, Ottawa Blues Fest, Virgin Music Fest, Edgefest, and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Library Voices was named the 2012 Sirius XM “Alternative Artists of the Year” and has been nominated for four Western Canadian Music Awards and six CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards. Dawson also previously owned and operated Young Soul Records, part of the EMI Associated Labels Division, releasing more than a dozen albums by Saskatchewan-based artists, and has participated in numerous juries including FACTOR (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings) and the Lieutenant-Governor Awards.

Lorena Kelly

Lorena Kelly

Communications & Operations Manager
Office: Regina
lorenakelly(at)saskmusic.org

Lorena has been with SaskMusic for a long time, yet finds that every week brings a new and challenging experience. She loves helping to promote the awesome music of our province and helping members navigate the ever-changing industry. At SaskMusic she has served a multitude of roles including programming and presenting workshops and events, running juries, licensing initiatives, studies and more, in addition to participating on numerous boards and committees. She currently oversees association communications, marketing initiatives and office operations. Prior to SaskMusic, she studied keyboards at Professional Musicians’ College, toured across Canada, the U.S. and internationally, backing up numerous artists as a freelancer, and also worked in advertising, layout and web design. Lorena is a vocalist/keyboard player/songwriter with appearances at numerous national festivals, showcases, award shows, on national TV broadcasts and charts. She’s also very proud mama to a creative little girl.

Kaelen Klypak

Kaelen Klypak

Program Manager
Office: Saskatoon
kaelen(at)saskmusic.org

Kaelen received his Arts and Entertainment Management Diploma from Capilano University in North Vancouver. As Program Manager, he manages the export and professional development of Saskatchewan music industry individuals. Kaelen’s been actively involved in the Canadian music industry for the past 16+ years as a musician, manager, production manager, promoter, and music publisher. He currently runs his own music publishing company called Kmusic Publishing. He is also a jury member for various music organizations and sits on numerous cultural boards, including co-director of the Derek Bachman Foundation, and is currently on the host committee for the 2020 JUNO Awards.

Brittney MacFarlane

Brittney MacFarlane

Program & Education Coordinator
Office: Regina
brittney(at)saskmusic.org

Brittney got her start in the non-profit arts industry when she was working as the Front of House Manager for The Globe Theatre. Here she got experience in Stage Management, Volunteer Coordination and Staff Management. Although she loved working in the theatre world, the music industry was where she knew she belonged. When the opportunity to join SaskMusic came up she jumped at it! She started out as the Administrative Assistant in the Regina office and was then promoted to the Program & Education Coordinator, which is the position she fills now. Brittney holds a Business Human Resources Certificate and Diploma, which have provided many various skills she puts to use in her diverse roles within the music industry and as a community builder. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Saskatchewan Country Music Association (SCMA) and Girls Rock Camp Regina (GRR), where she's also a member of the GRR organizational committee and acting volunteer chair. She’s an active juror for many organizations including FACTOR (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), The Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA's), the JUNO Awards and Music PEI Awards, to name a few.

Ben Valiaho

Ben Valiaho

Admin Assistant
Office: Regina
ben(at)saskmusic.org

Ben grew up working within the Regina music community and is excited to keep developing his skills and supporting Saskatchewan artists in his position at SaskMusic. Ben first got his start working in the industry as producer and volunteer host at 91.3FM CJTR Regina Community Radio over ten years ago, and still hosts two radio shows at Regina Community Radio. Ben sits as current President on the Board of Regina Community Radio and also Chair of the Executive Committee. His commitment to music continues within the halls of the University of Regina as he is in the process of finishing up a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in live performance. While attending the university, Ben was also Research Assistant at the Interactive Media & Performances Labs teaching workshops and hosting community hours for those who want to learn how to make electronic music, scratch records, or record. Ben has been a turntablist for over ten years and hosts a monthly DJ night, as well as DJing a number of events in and around Regina.

Shawn Karpinka

Shawn Karpinka

Program and Administrative Assistant
Office: Saskatoon
shawn(at)saskmusic.org

Our newest team member, Shawn joined us September 23/19. Shawn is an active member of the Saskatchewan music scene with his group The Karpinka Brothers, who have toured from coast to coast in North America, including showcasing at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, and multiple performances at the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. They've achieved acclaimed press and chart success on campus and community radio across Canada and the U.S., releasing four studio albums over 10+ years, the most recent produced by Howard Bilerman (Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire) at his legendary Hotel2Tango studio in Montréal. Shawn is often found at local shows, cheering on friends at the top of his lungs. He is passionate about helping musicians, and his advice has been featured in Canadian Musician magazine. He has also been an MC many times at the Gateway and Ness Creek music festivals. He has worked closely with some of the top publicists in the music industry, and he has always been thankful for the lessons that he learned from his first mentor, Derek Bachman at SaskMusic.

Photo: Matt Smith