From the age of four years, Madelene had the desire to be a church musician. Madelene was born into a musical family near Chilliwack, British Columbia, where her earliest musical influences were the choir conductors and music leaders of the Mennonite Brethren Church. All the family took piano or violin lessons, sang in the church choirs or played in the orchestra. Throughout her career, Madelene has been involved in church music as choral conductor, organist, youth band director, ensemble coach and pianist.
Madelene began her organ studies with Alva Humphries of Lyndon Washington. At Western Washington University she studied with David Schaub as a Spencer Foundation scholarship recipient and has a B.A. in Music and Organ Performance, an ARCM diploma in Organ Pedagogy from the Royal College of Music in London, England where a Canada Council Grant enabled her to study with Richard Popplewell, Musician to the Chapel Royal St. James’ Palace. She achieved the M.Mus. at the University of Michigan, studying organ with Robert Clark and theory and composition with James Dapogny and Ellwood Derr.
Ms Klassen has taught organ and church music at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and harpsichord and organ at Western Washington University. In Vancouver, Ms Klassen has been music director at St. Helen’s Anglican Church, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Queen’s Avenue United Church, Oakridge United Church, and organist for Christ Church Cathedral Evensong choir and recital series. Madelene returned to London while Mr. Popplewell was at the Chapel Royal, and was privileged to play the organ in Buckingham Palace Chapel and to continue organ and choral studies. Madelene plays regularly in Vancouver RCCO group recitals and United Church events.
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