About Us

About Us

In 1980 I was offered the position of music director at MMC – it was a half-time posting with the promise of full time pending growth of the program. I was young and was given 14-20 eager Miles Macdonell Collegiate students, but I myself had never been part of a school performance music program – my background was playing in bands, recording, private music lessons and composing/arranging, etc. I was mandated with building a program and if successful would have a full time job. Together with long hours and the inestimable assistance and guidance of administrators, colleagues, parents, community and dedicated students, we have grown considerably since those early gloriously exciting, frantic, and creative times. The challenging long work weeks still continue with approximately one-third of MMC students engaged in specialized programs in composing and creative thinking, concert band, jazz band, guitar, choir, Prodigy (advanced training for professional careers in music), international performance tours, and a professional class recording studio aptly named Mighty Mac Studio - guided by two music directors. Numerous students have achieved great heights in professional music careers. And with equal pride, numerous students have cited their musical training at MMC as immensely important in their overall development as contributing members of our community.

Our unique curriculum, training methods and studio are the result of sensing a need to bridge the perceived differences in practice between school music programs and the demands of the professional music industry as defined by the master composers/arrangers and producers of past years. Mighty Mac Studio together with the Music Production Program at MMC have endeavoured to discover methods and techniques that consolidate the study of music theory, composing, creative thinking and musical performance into a unique holistic course of study. Students are both emotionally and intellectually challenged. The result is the creation of musical works normally associated with a more advanced age. This practice and application of methods honed over decades of working with students and professional musicians is continuously reviewed and researched - all in the name of growth and learning. Also, MMC became pioneers in exploring the world of music and computers, i.e. MIDI, transcription and digital audio since the very early 1980's. Mighty Mac studio and by extension Miles Macdonell Collegiate were either the first or among the first users in Canada or Western Canada of various hardware and software related music products. Our students have had the opportunity to work with leading edge products and working alongside first class, talented professional music personnel. Mighty Mac Studio is not a commercial studio and thus functions as a laboratory for creating, experimenting and exploring the world of music and education. We at MMC believe in music in all its permutations – it can be a transforming and transcendent language. We also believe the ears are the final judge not the eyes, especially with regard to the present day accessibility to innumerable online listening resources. Our students are urged to question and reflect upon the current practices in the music industry including the pop/rock world, symphonic/concert and other mediums. Listening, absorbing, and attempting to understand the intent of various composers, writers, and performers is a critical component of student studies - personal taste notwithstanding. It is part of our mandate to develop educated, informed and thoughtful students who in turn will be aware and sensitive contributors to our communities at large. The study and creation of music is comprehensive in nature embracing technical, theoretical, historical, and cultural norms. It challenges our intellect, aesthetic sensibilities and emotions both in an abstract and concrete manner and demands a fluid imagination harnessed by an unwavering discipline. The greatest learning is done at the intersection of emotion and intellect.

Thank you,
Zane Zalis.



Prodigy is an advanced program of study for singers who may be contemplating a professional performance career in music. It was founded in 1983 and initially was in the form of a rhythm section, horns and singers.

Music Production

The music production curriculum has been developed over the course of thirty years, combining my experiences as a professional composer/producer and educator. Through analysis, reflection, trial and error, constant experimentation, and judicious usage of technology, the music production curriculum has matured as a powerful method for teaching music.

Image 01


Image 02


Image 03

Assistant Director

Image 04


Image 05

Music Production