Dr. Sarah Morrison is a dynamic leader with a demonstrated history of creative initiatives and diverse experience in the K-12 education, non-profit arts, and higher education industries. She is recognized for vibrant leadership, strong communication, and the ability to facilitate courageous spaces that inspire connection and collaboration. Dr. Morrison holds expertise in relational leadership and strength-based coaching to empower teams, develop people, build resilience in organizations, and initiate innovation.
A passionate educator, Dr. Morrison is the Assistant Head of School, Academics at Appleby College where she also teaches vocal music and musical theatre. She previously led the choral program at Appleby College for 20 years. Dr. Morrison served as the Artistic Director of the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth for 15 years and remains on the artistic team. Her choirs have won awards at both the national and international level including first place in the Upper-Voice Youth Choir category in the 2019 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs and a Gold Medal at the 8th World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia. Dr. Morrison is known for her energy and creativity in working with young voices.
Dr. Morrison holds music and education degrees from Western University and The University of Toronto. She is an adjunct faculty at Queen’s University teaching online courses in creativity and innovation at the Graduate Faculty of Education. Her research interests focus on creativity, technology-enhanced learning, innovative pedagogy, interdisciplinary learning, and leadership.
She is the 2010 winner of the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting awarded by the Ontario Arts Council. She writes the Youth Choir column for Choral Canada’s Anacrusis and served the board of Choirs Ontario as the Vice-President. Dr. Morrison sang soprano with the JUNO-nominated Canadian Chamber Choir for over a decade and can be heard on their debut CD, In Good Company. She is active as a conference presenter and guest conductor across Canada and the United States.
Kate Wright holds a Bachelor of Music Education in Voice from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University, where she specialized in Arts in the Community. She is an alumna of the OC, with whom she sang for 9 seasons, and has since sung with numerous professional and amateur choral ensembles. Once she completed her teaching degree, Kate taught elementary Music for 3 years in Mississauga. Currently, she conducts 2 training choirs in the Oakville Choir for Children & Youth, and sings professionally with the Grammy-nominated Elora Singers, as well as the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. As a registered Music Together instructor and early childhood music specialist, she teaches parent/child music classes to children aged birth to five years throughout Toronto. Kate is delighted to be returning to the OC for her fourth season.
Cheryl Duvall is multifaceted pianist with a penchant for musical risk taking and adventure. Equally comfortable in many different musical roles, she regularly appears as a soloist, collaborative pianist, adjudicator, teacher, producer and panelist and has toured and performed throughout Canada, Europe, Argentina and the U.S. Cheryl’s strong affinity for boundary-pushing and innovative music making led her along with friend and violinist, Ilana Waniuk to co-found the Toronto-based Thin Edge New Music Collective, “One of Toronto hottest and bravest new music collectives” (Michael Vincent – Musical Toronto), now in their sixth season. In her role as Co-Artistic Director of TENMC, she has been at the helm of many large scale collaborative projects, including “Raging Against the Machine”, a collaborative concert, touring and recording project with Montreal-based Ensemble Paramirabo, and “Balancing on the Edge”, a radical collaboration integrating new music with new circus practices into a unique and thought-provoking production. Under the leadership of both Ilana and Cheryl, TENMC has commissioned and premiered over 50 new works for chamber ensemble to date with 15 more slated for their upcoming season and have garnered an exceptional international reputation through tours to Italy, Switzerland, Argentina and across Canada.
As a person who is constantly inspired with collaboration and community building within the arts, Cheryl regularly works with many arts organizations, instrumentalists and vocalists across Canada, including Essential Opera, soprano Maureen Batt, and American violinist Andrew Sords. She is also the collaborative pianist for the internationally renowned Oakville Choir for Children & Youth, to which she has toured and competed internationally with gold standings as well as recorded numerous albums of choral repertoire.
Recently, she was shortlisted as the finalist for the 2016 F.M. Hunter Artist Awards in Music through the Ontario Arts Council and Foundation and in 2009, she was awarded a SSHRC grant for her pedagogical research. Besides performing, she maintains a full private piano studio, adjudicates piano competitions across Canada and appears as a guest speaker in university classroom and festival panels. Cheryl completed an Honours Bachelor of Music, majoring in Piano Performance and Theory and a Diploma of Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University as well as a Master’s of Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Toronto. Her main teachers and influences include Guy Few, Chris Foley, Midori Koga, Carmen Piazzinni, Nina Tichman, Henri-Paul Sicsic, and Anya Alexeyev.
Born in Toronto, Rebecca Leung completed a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, and studied at Wilfrid Laurier University where she entered on scholarship and earned her degree in two years. Influential teachers include Tatiana Sarkissova, Anya Alexeyev, and Nancy Hou.
A recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, Rebecca has enjoyed solo and chamber music performances in Canada, England, and France. She has performed in such venues and festivals as the Duke’s Hall in England, Hammerson Hall, the Toronto Chinese Cultural Centre, Elora Festival, Orford Arts Festival, NUMUS, among others. She has enjoyed working with Ian Brown, Christopher Elton, and Andre Laplante in chamber music coachings and masterclasses.
A dedicated teacher, Rebecca has a full roster of serious students who are active in festival performances and auditions. Her students earn distinctive awards and have been accepted to the finest professional music programs in Canada. She is regularly invited as an adjudicator to music festivals, and this is her sixth season with the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth
Dr. Charlene Pauls has enjoyed a multifaceted career as a Soprano Soloist, Choral Conductor, Pedagogue and Voice Clinician across Canada and on international stages. She has appeared as soloist with conductors such as Robert Shaw and Helmuth Rilling, and has directed choirs on stages that include the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia, and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Her background as a professional singer has greatly informed her approach to choral directing, and has provided a strong foundation in building healthy choral sound. Dr. Pauls has been affiliated with the Oakville Choir for Children & Youth since 2005, and serves as the “Raise Her Voice – Chamber” conductor, and Associate Music Director. Highlights from recent years include collaborating with Dr. Sarah Morrison on producing the OCCY 2016 recording, “Shine On”, appearances at Podium 2018, and being part of the Canada Council project “…float…” in St. John’s Newfoundland in July 2018. In addition to her involvement with OC, Dr. Pauls is also Music Director at the Anglican Church of the Incarnation in Oakville, and Artistic Director of the Guelph Chamber Choir, a dynamic organization in neighbouring Guelph with an active concert season of oratorio and concert programs. Dr. Pauls has a home voice studio in Oakville, is in demand as an Adjudicator across the county, and frequently presents research at academic conferences across North America. In 2018, Charlene received the Ontario Arts Council “Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting,” a biennial award to acknowledge excellence in the field.
An accomplished solo and collaborative pianist, Yvonne Choi has had tremendous success working with both singers and instrumentalists in the Greater Toronto Area and Kitchener/Waterloo. Winner of the WLU Concerto Competition, the Ken Murray Concerto Competition, and the Penderecki String Quartet Prize, her aptitude for solo and collaborative performance is evident.
Yvonne has had the privilege of playing twice as the featured soloist with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Wilfrid Laurier Symphony Orchestra, and Wilfrid Laurier Reading Orchestra. She has also had the honour of sharing the stage with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Chinese Orchestra, and Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed in Masterclasses for world class musicians such as Barbara Hannigan, Lawerence Lesser, Michael McMahon, the Penderecki String Quartet, and the Chiara String Quartet to name a few.
Yvonne is passionate in community outreach as she is a firm advocate for inclusivity and unity. Using music as a communicative tool, Yvonne works with all ages to build accessibility around music. Yvonne is currently the Director of Music for Glen Abbey United Church in Oakville. She was the Co-Music Director, Keyboardist and Vocal Coach for York University’s production of 9 to 5 the Musical. She was also the Music Director, Keyboardist and Conductor for Spirit Express’ Leap of Faith at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. Yvonne is the collaborative pianist with various choral ensembles in the GTA, such as A Few Good Men (Oakville Children’s Choir), Resonance (Mississauga Festival Choir), and Windago. She also maintains an active teaching studio, with students achieving awards of distinction, and she is a sought-after private studio accompanist for all instruments.
Building on her Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University under the guidance of Leslie De’Ath, Yvonne completed her Masters in Collaborative Piano Performance under Lydia Wong from the University of Toronto. Throughout her continuing musical career, she has received coachings by renowned pedagogues such as Marietta Orlov, Steven Philcox, Jamie Parker, and Joseph Johnson. Yvonne has been the recipient of multiple scholarships, notably the Richard Kehn Scholarship in recognition of being an outstanding student in the area of music performance, Ken Murray Scholarship, Lydia Wong Scholarship and the Penderecki String Quartet Prize.
Raised in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Thomas Burton is an experienced conductor, who has directed various choral and instrumental ensembles. He enjoys working with professional and amateur choirs of all ages and abilities. Thomas is thrilled to be joining the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth as Apprentice Conductor!
As a conductor, Thomas has led fully staged light opera productions with the McGill Savoy Society and the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society. He is a dedicated church musician, having served as the Director of the Music at Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor, and as Music Coordinator for the Maritime Conference of the United Church of Canada.
Recently, Thomas has appeared as a conducting fellow with the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, the Chorus America Conducting Academy, and the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s Adult Choir Camp. In addition, his masterclass experiences include participation in the Vancouver Chamber Choir National Conducting Symposium, the Amadeus Choir Conducting Workshop, and the University of Illinois Choral Conducting Symposium.
Thomas performs regularly as a trombonist and singer within the US and Canada. A graduate of McGill University’s Orchestral Training Program, he has performed with such ensembles as the McGill Symphony Orchestra, l’Orchestre Symphonique de l’Agora, and the MLK Dream Orchestra in Lansing, Michigan.
As a singer, he has enjoyed working as a tenor with some of Canada’s finest choirs, including the acclaimed groups Voces Boreales and the National Youth Choir of Canada. Most recently, he has sung professionally with //meridian vocal ensemble and the Detroit-based chamber ensemble, Audivi. He has served as Tenor Section Leader with the NSCF’s Sing Summer Choir Camps since 2016.
Thomas currently serves as Director of Music at Munn’s United Church in Oakville. He is a recipient of the Iwan Edwards Award in Choral Conducting and the Kenneth Elloway Award in Classical Performance. Thomas holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Michigan, under the tutelage of Drs. Jerry Blackstone and Eugene Rogers.
Natalie Fasheh is a Palestinian-Jordanian singer, choral practitioner, community-engaged artist, and poet. She leads vocal ensemble experiences rooted in empowerment, cultural awareness, and activism. Natalie works with singing communities of varying ages and lifestyles as a choir conductor, teaching artist, composer, and ADEI planner. Her and Dr.Charlene Pauls are co-founders and co-directors of Mosaic Music Collective: joining newcomers and long-standing residents through intergenerational, multicultural song. Natalie writes poetry on themes of cultural identity, nature, and humanity. She also has the pleasure of sharing Arabic music as a guest singer, clinician, and choral arranger. Natalie has most recently been entwining all aspects of her artistry in designing and leading collaborative social justice-based choral projects.
Being a visionary, innovative pedagogue, and leader, Natalie is part of the 2022 Global Leaders Program; in pursuit of transforming choral systems by centering equity and justice in choral organizational structures, vocal ensemble leadership, and music-making. Natalie looks forward to continuing artistically celebrating humanity’s diversity and common-threads, expanding her understanding of vocal music’s place in sociocultural dialogue and bridge-building, and exploring the multifaceted relationship between community-engaged art and choral art.
Erica Astles holds an Honors Bachelor of Music Education in Voice, as well as a Bachelor of Education, both from the University of Toronto. She has sung in many choirs, including the MacMillan Singers, where she has performed with the TSO numerous times. Erica is currently in her 15th year of teaching music, and currently teaches at St. Mildred’s Lightbourn School. With a passion for choral conducting, Erica also Music Directs for Music Theatre Mississauga, among other Community Theatre groups. She has been performing in musicals since the age of 10, and enjoys passing along her passion for singing onto young voices. She is delighted to join the OC team!
As a youth, Lianne Tan sang in the Georgian Bay Youth Chorus and the Hamilton Children’s Choir, and she continues to greatly value children’s and youth choir organizations. As an adult chorister, Lianne has sung with such esteemed choral directors as Brenda Uchimaru, John Tuttle, Ian Sadler, Stephanie Martin, Lee Willingham, and John Laing, in choirs including the University of Toronto Trinity College Choir and the Cathedral Singers of Ontario. During the global pandemic of 2020/2021, Lianne enjoyed singing with the UK’s Stay At Home Choir, under conductor-composers Karl Jenkins, Gareth Malone, and Christopher Tin.
Lianne holds the ARCT diploma in piano performance, and the CRCCO diploma in organ. She is active as a church musician in the Hamilton and Halton regions. She also enjoys playing the cello in the Dundas Valley Orchestra. Since 1997, Lianne has served as Music Director and Organist at West Plains United Church in Burlington, where she leads the 16-voice choir and curates the [email protected] Plains concert series. Lianne also serves as cantor on the Taizé music team at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church, Oakville. In 2012, Lianne was awarded the Order of Niagara from the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara, for her services to church music.
From 1998-2018, Lianne was chapel organist and science teacher at Appleby College in Oakville, where she collaborated with Dr. Sarah Morrison to provide the chapel choir programme. Lianne also holds degrees in biomedical engineering (M.Eng., McMaster), education (B.Ed., Toronto), and lay ministry (DipLM, Wycliffe).
Lianne finds great joy in accompanying, leading, and supporting singing, and is thrilled to be part of the OCCY team!
Victor Daoyuan Cheng is a conductor and baritone based in Toronto. He is the founder and conductor emeritus of the Mississauga Summer Chorale, a multi-choir organisation involving over 100 members. Victor is also the founding artistic director of Toronto Voice Lab, a small ensemble dedicated to performing contemporary choral music, especially those written by students at the University of Toronto.
In December of 2019, Victor was invited as the first North American to compete in the 9th Towards Polyphony International Choral Conducting Competition, hosted at the Karol Lipinksi Academy of Music in Wroclaw, Poland.
In 2018, Victor was selected as an Intern Conductor with the Ontario Youth Choir, assisting Jon Washburn. He was also the apprentice conductor of the Voices Chamber Choir and has participated in workshops and masterclasses in North America with renowned conductors and ensembles, including Donald Nally, Gabriel Crouch, Luminous Voices and voces boreales. In 2020, Victor served as the choral conducting intern at St. Michael’s Choir School.
Victor is also an accomplished choral singer, currently singing in professional ensembles at the Toronto Oratory, St. Basil’s Catholic Parish, as well as the Toronto Festival Singers. He was also a member of the Elmer Iseler Singers as the James. T Chestnutt Scholar in voice and conducting. Victor can also be found singing as a baritone section lead with the Amadeus Choir, and Toronto Chamber Choir. Beyond the classical world, Victor has shared the stage with Cirque du Soleil and the Rolling Stones.
Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor is an Ottawa-born soprano, educator, and innovative leader. She holds a Master of Music (Opera) from University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Music (Honours Voice Performance) from Western University. Recently, she completed a two-year fellowship with Opera Omaha. Gwenna has conducted choirs for Regent Park School of Music and Sistema Toronto, and she continues to perform on stages across Canada and the United States.
As an accomplished educator, she wrote the curriculum and continues to consult for “Learn English Through Song,” a program run by The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall that facilitates language learning and community building for newcomer women through singing. Through her work at Opera Omaha, she created and facilitated programming for over 15 community partners. She has organized free music and drama programming for kids in four communities in Nunavut. Gwenna has also worked as a teaching artist and consulted on curriculum development for education programming at the Canadian Opera Company.
Gwenna believes in the power of the arts as a catalyst for community building and social change and strives to make sure everyone has access to creative experiences, regardless of location or circumstance.
Conductor/composer Dr. Patrick Murray is Music Director of the Parish Choir at Church of St. John the Evangelist (Elora, ON), and this season also serves as director of the Laurier Singers at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto Scarborough Concert Choir. Previously, Murray served as Interim Coordinator of Choral Activities (2018-2020) and Sessional Assistant Professor of Choral Music (2021) at Western University. Murray has also held positions as director of the University of Illinois University Chorus, Huron University Chorus, Music Director and General Manager of FAWN Chamber Creative (Toronto), and as a teaching artist with the Ad Astra Music Festival (Russell, KS), Illinois Summer Youth Music, and Toronto Children’s Chorus. Choirs under his direction have been recognized in the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs and been invited to perform at Podium, Canada’s national choral conference.
Murray’s compositions have been commissioned and premiered by numerous ensembles in Canada and the United States including New York Polyphony, Carmel Bach Festival, College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Grand Philharmonic Choir, and the Canadian Men’s Chorus. His works have been recognized by the SOCAN Young Composers Award and the DaCapo Chamber Choir NewWorks award, recorded by the DaCapo Chamber Choir, and are published by Cypress Choral Music and Renforth Music.
Murray’s academic research focuses on artistic practices of community collaboration in contemporary choral music, and he is the recipient of a 2018-2021 Doctoral Research Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Murray is a graduate of University of Illinois (DMA), Yale School of Music (MM), and University of Toronto Faculty of Music (BMus).
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