2012 - Michael Lomenda

Michael Lomenda

MICHAEL LOMENDA is proud to be from Stettler and born and raised in rural Alberta. Son of Mark and Jan Lomenda and older, wiser brother to Ryan, he spent his earliest days snagging gophers and killing the grass with potions at the end of the lane where he spent his summers in Rochon Sands, Buffalo Lake.

A work transfer had the family briefly living in Lacombe and after a dear friend of the family, Blaine Paulson, gifted him a piano, Michael began studying classical piano with Mrs. Hopkins, his elementary music teacher. Four years later, a move back to Stettler mid-school year meant new friends, new house, and a new piano schedule. Recognizing that Michael should keep up his piano, his diligent parents drove him every week to Lacombe to study with an irreplaceable Mrs. Hopkins.

Despite its small population and rural setting, Stettler proved to be an incredible place for Lomenda to hone his craft. Surrounded by oil-fields, cows and hockey, Michael decided early to become an architect who did theatre "on the side". However, the "on the side" took over his school career as orchestra, vocal ensemble, art clubs, classical piano, and plays dominated his spare time. Earliest performing accounts are as "B-flat bell" in the bell choir and in the title role of "Randy" in "Randy, the Red-horned Rain-Moose".

At Stettler's Wm. E. Hay Composite High, Michael came across Mr. Rahn who, with extreme dedication and patience, introduced him to the world of clarinet and playing in a band and Mr. Moorlag, who, for some wonderful reason, allowed a six foot, bass singing Michael to sing in his all girls choir. Michael also met a young energetic pair of teachers respectively named "Dobson-Pearson". Under their wing, Lomenda played lead acting roles in a wide variety of plays, competed in Alberta's One Act Play Festivals, and, with a group of their arts students, took an incredibly inspiring trip to Italy and Greece. It was the Dobson-Pearson's contagious love for the Arts that eventually helped Michael discover that his "on the side" was really "everything else" and his true passion was theatre.

Michael went on to study at Red Deer College's Acting Program for a year before deciding to audition for Sheridan College's esteemed Music Theatre Program in Oakville, Ontario. Having never really seen eastern Canada, he boarded the flight and auditioned at Sheridan. And despite his vocal range not extending higher than a "middle C" at the time, he was directly accepted to the program, where he discovered his aptitude and love for voice and dance while working on shows like the "Crucible", "Steel Kiss", and "Marat/Sade".

After graduating with honours, Michael launched himself into a busy Toronto theatre scene. His first role out of school was the, somewhat prophetic, lead role of "The Traveler" in the Charlottetown Young Company's production of Somewhere in the World. Ten years later, he has "travelled" and performed all around the world and across his beautiful native land. After a successful two year stint playing Nick Massi in the Toronto production of the "Jersey Boys", Michael was asked to join and is currently touring with First National Tour (performing in Canada and the United States) playing the same role.

"Through hard work and relentless dedication in a field that is not always kind and never easy, the payoffs have been unimaginable. And I attribute so much of my success to the person that Stettler has made me. Every time I walk on stage, I bring with me a community that embraced me, challenged me and supported me regardless, and for that, I, and my parents, am eternally grateful."

Michael is incredibly moved and honoured to receive the Clearview Award of Merit.