Sara Jane Schmidt
(Information courtesy of Sara Jane Schmidt)


Sara Jane Schmidt began piano studies (after begging her parents) at the age of 7 with Norma Poidevin, and continued through high school with Margaret Hamilton Bach (now deceased). At what is now called Canadian Mennonite University (formerly Concord College/Mennonite Brethren Bible College), she studied with Irmgard Baerg, and at Brandon University her teacher was Dr. Lawrence Jones. As well, she has received coaching through master classes with international artists such as Marek Jablonski, Janina Fialkowska, Mykola Suk, and Jon Kimura Parker, among others.

Sara Jane's academic credentials include the Performer's A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg (medallist), Bachelor of Religious Studies from Mennonite Brethren Bible College, both with a music major, and a Master of Music degree (gold medal) in piano performance from Brandon University.

Sara Jane has been teaching music for about 30 years now. She taught piano and theory for many years at Concord College, but now focuses exclusively on her private studio, where she teaches piano, music theory and piano pedagogy. She also spends volunteer time organizing and leading worship music, choirs, and providing keyboard music at her church, choirs, and providing keyboard music at her church, River East Mennonite Brethren, on McLeod Avenue.

Sara Jane has always been an active recitalist and she is a member and past coordinator of the Manitoba Piano Club. She was guest artist with the Mennonite Community Orchestra, performing Liszt's Concerto in E-flat Major in 1989. She loves choral music, and has been involved as a church choir conductor and as an avid member of the Mennonite Festival Chorus, which has performed numerous times with conductors Bramwell Tovey, Robert Shaw and Helmuth Rilling, in both Winnipeg and Toronto. This choir gathered most recently to do Handel's "Israel In Egypt" at Westminster Church.

Sara Jane has lived in Winnipeg all her life. Along with her husband Rick, she really enjoys outdoor pursuits such as hiking and backpacking, cross-country skiing, and whitewater canoe tripping. She is also a competitive racquetball player (two-time winner of the provincial women's title). Her favourite leisure activities include gardening and reading. Their daughter is a fashion designer in Toronto, and their son is currently studying at Canadian Mennonite University.


Since my high school days I have regularly done recital performances. The majority of the repertoire on these programs has been classical. In recent years I have become interested in jazz and, in general, other more accessible music. So the plan for my latest recital (March 2000) was to have each piece include either a familiar 'jazz' or 'pop' element. Several of the tunes also target a younger audience, like the variations on "Twinkle, twinkle, little star", the Chopsticks Variations, and the Bumble Boogie (although one older man I know insists that he wants the Boogie played at his funeral!).

While working on this project the idea of turning it into a recording was percolating. After a positive reception to the performances I decided to go ahead with it. The availability of technology that makes this a relatively easy process was certainly a factor. Twenty years ago this would not have been possible. (I have since discovered that the whole recording process is mostly tedious!)

The recording was done in my home studio (on my Yamaha grand) in April 2000. Audio engineer Tim Elias of Visual Productions supplied the equipment and did the set up. We tested the sound and were very pleased - timbre, clarity, resonance, background levels, etc. After three days of many takes I was, quite frankly, sick of the whole process and left it for awhile. In June I spent another few days listening to what had been laid down, selecting takes, etc. Again, enough!! In July we went into Tim's studio and edited and mastered the recording. One more step completed - Phew! September found me looking around for someone to do the production. On good advice I went to see Russ Dorosh of Magnitape Supplies, and he handled this for me. Of course there were many more details to all this than I had imagined and by now we were under the gun to get it ready for Christmas. Not least of these details was getting all the copyright clearances and paying royalties. In any case the final product was, thankfully, delivered December 5, 2000.

Sara Jane's CD Piano Diversions is currently available from Sara Jane directly at a cost of $15.00
(plus shipping if necessary).

For additional information contact Sara Jane Schmidt at:

190 Mahonee Drive
Winnipeg, MB R2G 2Z1

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