Merit Award

T he Canadian Croatian Choral Society has established an Artistic Merit Award in the interest of promoting artistic development among the youth within the Croatian community.  This award will be given annually to a student studying music.  Students wishing to apply for the 2018 Artistic Merit Award may apply prior to March 30, 2018.
To find out more about the criteria for the award and the application process, please contact the Canadian Croatian Choral Society via email at

We invite you to join us in fulfilling our vision for the continued artistic development of the youth in our Croatian Canadian community.

2018 Merit Award
Application Deadline

March 30, 2018

Merit Award Rules

The applicant must be a student enrolled in or entering a music program at the post-secondary level (University, College, etc.). The competition is open to Canadian citizens or landed immigrants.

Audition Repertoire

Each candidate must prepare these selections for the audition – one classical piece, one piece of Croatian music and one of the candidate’s own choice.


Memorization is compulsory for all auditions.

Copies of Scores

Three copies of each audition piece are required.


All applicants must supply their own accompanist (if needed).

Multiple Instruments

Candidates studying various musical instruments may audition on two instruments of their choice. Example: two selections for voice and two selections for piano. One selection must be Croatian repertoire.

Concert Performances

Scholarship recipients will be required to perform as a guest artist at Canadian Croatian Choral Society’s performances and present the award to the subsequent winner at the next annual concert.


The registration form must be completed and submitted no later than March 30, 2018. Registration applications received after this date will not be accepted.

Our 2017 Merit Award Recipient

Adam Mezgec

2017 Merit Award Recipient

Adam Mezgec, born in 1996 to parents Dave and Diane (Bakarić) began his musical training on the piano at the age of five.  Throughout his classical musical training he also participated in Folklore Ensemble “Hrvatsko Prelo” as a tamburas and dancer.  Adam received numerous awards including music awards and a Catholic Leadership Award.  Upon graduating from Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Secondary School in 2014 Adam was accepted into the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario.  Studying with Gwen Beamish, he has just completed his third year and looks forward to graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in 2018.

Our Past Merit Award Recipients

Andrew Šporčić

2016 Merit Award Recipient

Updated April 30, 2017:  Andrew has completed his first year of teacher’s college at Western University and has been teaching music to students in grades four to eight.  Apart from the hectic schedule of teaching and studying, Andrew continues to be involved in the Croatian Communities music scene.  This past year he had many prestigious events, specifically with the Tambura Ensemble “Frajeri”, performing for the President of Croatia, Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, as well as accompanying Sima Jovanovac in Windsor, Kitchener and Mississauga.  Andrew continues to contribute his musical gifts to various folklore groups playing for Christmas events as well as annual concerts and the Folklore festival.
Andrew Šporčić, an Oakville resident, was born in 1993 to parents Andy and Kathy Šporčić. As a child he showed an interest in music and was encouraged by his parents to develop his natural musical gifts. Having been involved in the Croatian community (specifically folklore) Andrew mastered the tamburica and was a member of Folklore Ensemble Hrvatsko Prelo for nine years. During this time he became interested in teaching and has instructed tamburica to the junior, intermediate and senior levels for the past three years and is presently teaching the intermediate group for the Vatroslav Lisinski Ensemble. He is also a member of the Tambura Ensemble Frajeri. His university studies saw Andrew develop basic training on the bassoon, flute, french horn, trumpet, tuba, trombone, saxophone and double bass. Having played the guitar for eleven years, he has become passionate about the genre of jazz and has also become proficient in arranging (for his band) and composing pieces for the guitar and tambura . Andrew has just graduated from a four-year program at McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Music Degree with a focus on jazz guitar. Andrew will be continuing his education and has been accepted into teacher’s college at the University of Western Ontario to continue his passion for music and teaching.

Matija Mathew Pavković

2015 Merit Award Recipient

Updated April 30, 2017:  This past year Matija continued to tutor musical skills and was honoured to replace his Mentor as a TA for first year composition majors.  He continues to professionally arrange music and has composed three major compositions one of which is an orchestral composition based on the folklore and history of every region of Croatia.  He has completed his Bachelor of Music Composition with Honours and plans to continue graduate work in Zagreb at the School of Economics and will study management and KEDGE in Bordeaux, France.  He aspires to complete a double masters of business administration in Human Resource Management (Zagreb) and in global management (Bordeaux).
Updated June 5, 2016:  Matija has successfully completed third year of composition at Wilfrid Laurier University, maintaining his position on the Dean’s Honour Roll. He was appointed a music tutor for musical skills and theory and received the prestigious Terrance and Janet Levesque Award chosen by his composition professors for outstanding creativity. This year Matija composed a string quartet dedicated to the victims of Vukovar as well as choral and percussion compositions. Matija looks forward to fourth year as he is preparing an orchestral work which will be performed by the Laurier orchestra.
Matija (Mate), the son of Ivan and Jeanine Pavković was born in Mississauga, Ontario.  Mate, while attending Kraljica Mira Catholic Church in Norval, was introduced to Croatian folklore and the tamburica.  In grade 6, he was chosen to participate in seminars given by Croatia’s Tambura expert Mr. Siniša Leopold.  At age 14 Mate was one of several musicians from Canada to play onstage with the Croatia Radio and Television Tamburica Orchestra.  He has been a member of various folklore ensembles, namely Kralj Zvonimir, Sljeme, Vatroslav Lisinski, and Folklore Ensemble Croatia.  Mate began playing the French Horn in Grade 9. Realizing that music would be his chosen career, he obtained his Grade 7 piano certificate with Honours and concurrently completed his Advanced Rudiments certificate with Distinction.  For three years he studied under French Horn teacher Caitlin Coppell enabling him to audition for university acceptance.  He was instrumental in organizing a trip to Croatia with his 60 member secondary school senior band performing in Međugorje, Zadar, Zagreb, Slovenia, and Italy.  The trip was documented by the Croatian newspaper Večernji List which praised Matija for his promotion of the Croatian culture.  Mate attends Wilfrid Laurier University where he received Deans List Honours in his first year.  He has been an auxiliary member of the Cambridge Symphony on French Horn and plays for the Laurier Wind Symphony.  Most recently two of his compositions were chosen to be performed at the Composition Concert. Subsequently, he was accepted into the Composition Music Faculty with unanimous approval of his composition professors.  His unique style has won him much attention at Wilfrid Laurier University since he infuses Croatian music with Classical pieces.  His most recent composition debuted in the Composition Concert.  It included a Bugarija accompaniment with the Clarinet.  He plays 12 instruments including several types of tamburica. He is currently working on a composition which he plans to record with HRT (Croatian Radio and Television).

Julijana Hajdinjak

2014 Merit Award Recipient

Updated April 30, 2017:  Having completed her third year at Wilfred Laurier University, Julijana has continued to study voice under Lynda Mieske and composition with Linda Catlin Smith.  Along with solo voice performance she is a member of the Laurier Singers Chamber Choir and an active member of the WLU Composers and Improvisers Association.  She has premiered six of her works at the University including some performed by the world-renowned Penderecki Sting Quartet. Juliana’s choral work Love Me was awarded first prize in the Via Choralis Choral Competition and will be performed by the Via Choralis Choir in British Columbia.  Julijana has just recently teamed up with filmmaker Stephanie Vizi and will be scoring her documentary Mistissini Healing.  The documentary will be premiered on June 7, 2017 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

Updated June 5, 2016:  Julijana has completed her second year at Wilfrid Laurier where she has studied vocal performance with Lynda Mieske and Glenn Burh to further develop her coloratura soprano repertoire.  She continues to compose in various genres including string quartets, a mass for a double choir and orchestra (in Croatian).  Two movements of her choral piece Sentiments were performed at the Student Composer concerts. Julijana also performed in the Kitchener-Waterloo Orchestra production of Die Fledermaus.  She remains to be a member of the Laurier Singers and will continue to pursue vocal performance and composition while also joining the opera chorus.

Julijana Katarina Hajdinjak, born in Scarborough in 1996 to parents Henry and Jadranka Hajdinjak. Julijana began classical piano training at age 9 leading to an interest in classical voice training. Throughout her secondary school training, she consistently received the Excellence In Music Award and with fellow students had the opportunity to perform with Cirque Du Soleil at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in 2012 and with The Rolling Stones in 2013 for their 50 and Counting Tour. She has also performed with the Croatian band Gazde and in 2013 received 1st place in the Public’s Choice Award at the Croatian Cultural Association Napredak Competition. In 2014, she received 1st place for her performance in the Musical Theatre category at the Peel Music Festival in Mississauga. She has written music and lyrics for numerous songs and has composed several instrumental and choral scores. Being fluent in Croatian, English and French has helped Julijana broaden her repertoire. She aspires to succeed as a performer in the competitive music industry. Presently, she has completed her first year in vocal performance at Sir Wilfred Laurier University.

Ivica Balaban

2013 Merit Award Recipient

Updated April 30, 2017:  Ivica Balaban has twice participated in the Stratford Summer Music’s Vocal Academy, studying with acclaimed Canadian tenor Michael Schade. This summer he will be performing in the title role of Gianni Schicchi at the Berlin Opera Academy in Germany.

Updated June 5, 2016:  Ivica Balaban recently graduated from Wilfred Laurier University with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and a Diploma in Opera.  His 2016-2017 season includes recitals of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, performances of Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer and Vaughn Williams’ Songs of Travel, as well as engagements with Oshawa Opera. In August he will be returning to Stratford Summer Music’s Vocal Academy to study with Canadian tenor Michael Schade.

Ivica Balaban, born in Etobicoke in 1990 to parents Branko Balaban and Dubravka Štefan, is the youngest of three sons. As a member of the Croatian Martyrs Roman Catholic Parish in Mississauga, his first musical training began with the church’s Folklore Ensemble Sljeme. It was during these formative years that Ivica’s gift for music became most apparent. His versatility on the Tambura was most impressive and as he matured it was evident that his true musical talent could be found in his deep and rich bass voice. He has taught the tamburica in both Sljeme and Folklore Ensemble Croatia and is also a member of the Tambura Ensemble Široka Duša. Ivica also arranges Croatian and classical music for the tambura. In the short period of two years Ivica successfully (with first class honours) completed all of the necessary requirements to audition for a university music program. It was at Sir Wilfred Laurier University that his interpretation and mastery of his audition pieces and his incredible voice impressed the panel of judges. In 2010 he was immediately accepted into the music program where he has had the opportunity to develop his talents, creativity and voice to the fullest of his ability. Ivica has completed performances as Count Almaviva in Opera Laurier’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. He has also been the baritone soloist in Fauré’s Requiem for both the Laurier Singers Chamber Choir and the WLU Chapel Choir. Other recent performances include the role of Pete in City Workers in Love by Neil Weisensel, Michael Cavanagh with Opera Laurier, and the bass soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Achill Choral Society.

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