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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.
Sara is a vocal and instrumental teacher at Appleby College with a background in orchestral performance and conducting, a love of musical theatre, and active musical involvement with the local community. Sara completed a Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Performance on clarinet at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Education at Western University. She is currently completing a Masters of Music Education at Western University with a focus on global experiential education and music pedagogy. Sara has enjoyed working as a music director, orchestral pit musician, and rehearsal accompanist with several community theatre companies and schools in Sarnia, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Oakville over the past decade. Sara began working with the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth in 2017 as a vocal coach and is looking forward to beginning the 2019-20 season as a conductor of the Cherub Choir.
Aimée Claxton Vocalist, Composer, Instructor
Aimée Claxton is a jazz vocalist and composer from Mississauga, Ontario. At the age of five her passion for music developed once she began singing in her local church choir. After years of studying both classical and jazz music, Aimée became a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Jazz Performance, with honours.
Aimée has studied with many notable Canadian jazz musicians including Christine Duncan, Chase Sanborn, Alex Samaras, Phil Nimmons, Heather Bambrick, Shannon Butcher, Andrew Jones, John Macleod and Mike Murley.
Aimée is an active musician who has spent the past 7 years performing at many established Toronto venues including The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar and the Jazz Bistro. She is also a busy side woman who performs with talents such as Chris Tsujiuchi, Robin Claxton, Rachael Cardiello, The Marwills, Christine Duncan’s Element Choir, the a cappella vocal group, The Wind and the Water and Brampton’s Jazz Mechanics.
In May of 2015, Aimée released her debut album, “The World Is Alright”, at the prestigious Jazz Bistro to a sold-out audience. Her album has been well-received and has earned radio airplay on established radio stations such as CBC Radio (Toronto and Montreal) and Jazz.FM91. In September of 2015, Aimée’s original composition, “Autumn in Paris” was featured on the Toronto 311 “Call-In” Playlist. Recently, Aimée and guitarist Brandon Wall have been selected travel across Canada as part of the 2019 VIA Artist on Board Program.
In addition to performing, Aimée is an active music educator in the Greater Toronto Area and is busy running her own private music studio in Port Credit, Mississauga. She is a certified Elementary and Intermediate Music Specialist with the Royal Conservatory of Music and a member of the Ontario Register Music Teacher’s Association.
Natalie Fasheh is a Palestinian-Jordanian emerging singer, teaching artist, choral conductor, choral arranger, and poet. Natalie is passionate about celebrating both the diversity and common threads of humanity, through facilitating empowering community music experiences. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree, with Honours in Performance (Voice) from Western University.
Natalie is the co-founder and co-director of Mosaic Music Collective in Oakville; a program inviting newcomers and long-standing residents to connect by singing music from many cultures. Her conducting experience is enriched through her role assisting the Community Arts Guild Choir. She has been working as a teaching artist with diverse children and youth communities in Jordan and Canada. She has also been a guest singer with various community choirs, sharing Arabic music and culture with them. Natalie writes poetry reflecting her explorations as an immigrant and global citizen. She has spoken her poetry as a featured artist at choral concerts, and also shares it in protests and rallies. Natalie’s debut as a choral arranger was the commissioned Arabic piece “Ya Hala bil Deif”, by the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth, for their Podium Conference 2018 tour. Natalie is thrilled to continue her journey with the choir as a section lead and arranger in residence!
Raised in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Thomas 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.
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.
Janessa McFarlane is a multi-faceted musician with a passion for inclusion and making music in community settings. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University, where she completed the Artists in Community Education program. Over the last seven years of teaching music at the secondary school level, she has also completed her Honours Specialist in Music at OISE and a week-long Choral Conducting Symposium at the University of Toronto with acclaimed choral conductor, Rollo Dillworth. Her love for singing and choral music has been lifelong, and in her professional life, she has had the privilege of spending over five years developing and directing the Everyone Can Sing Chorus at VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto. She currently teaches vocal music at King’s Christian Collegiate and enjoys making music in her down time with her family and friends. Janessa is delighted to continue to develop her love of singing in community and working with young singers in her new position as Apprentice Conductor with the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth.
Dave Anderson holds an Honours Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance degree from the University of Western Ontario (2008) and is the creator and Director of Oakville Choir’s A Few Good Men program. In addition to his work with Oakville Choir, Dave is the conductor of three boys choirs at Linbrook School in Oakville, and has recently served as Assistant Conductor with the Exultate Chamber Singers in Toronto, and the Mississauga Festival Choir. He is a Youth Motivational Speaker, and the Co-Founder of My Life Online – program that teaches kids in schools across Canada and the United States to be safe, smart, and kind online.
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.
Jennifer Johnston is delighted to be back for her fifth season with the OCC. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Jazz from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Education from Trent University. Jennifer recently taught music at St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School for eight years, and she currently conducts their high school girls’ choir. She has sung as a section lead with the Mississauga Festival Choir and sung soprano and sat on the Board of Directors with the Exultate Chamber Singers. Jennifer is also the founder of Do-Re-Mi & My Baby, a parent, infant, and toddler music education program (doremiandmybaby.com).
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
Martin Wigle is the Music Director and teacher at Linbrook School in Oakville; a new all boys’ school that opened it’s doors to the public in 2014. Martin is a graduate of the Concurrent Music Education Program at the University of Toronto where he specialized in percussion under the tutelage of Russell Hartenberger (NEXUS), Beverley Johnston, and John Rudolph (TSO). He is currently working on his Primary & Junior Vocal Music specialist with a focus on Carl Orff’s Music for Children. Martin is also well versed in World Music ensembles such as African Drumming and Dance, Balinese Gamelan, Latin Percussion, Steel Pan Drumming, and Body Percussion.
As a musician, Martin is very active in the music community. He is a guest percussionist for various Toronto-based bands and ensembles, and a contract musician for Cirque du Soleil. Martin is very proud to have sung with ‘A Few Good Men’ for the past three years, and is extremely excited to grow and learn as Associate Conductor of AFGM in the upcoming season. He would like to thank the OC for this amazing opportunity; specifically Dave Anderson for his unwavering leadership, support and guidance over the past three years.
Dr. Sarah Morrison, Artistic Director
Dr. Sarah Morrison maintains an active career as a choral conductor, music educator, and performer. She is delighted to be entering her eleventh season as the Artistic Director of the Oakville Choir for Children & Youth (OC). A passionate educator, Dr. Morrison is the Director of Learning and Teaching Innovation at Appleby College where she leads the choral program and teaches vocal music and musical theatre. Her choirs have been recorded by CBC radio and have won awards at both the national and international level including second place in the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs in 2017 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 is the 2010 winner of the Leslie Bell Award for Choral Conducting awarded by the Ontario Arts Council. She was delighted to make her Carnegie Hall conducting debut in 2013 as part of the Carnegie Hall National Choral Festival. In 2012, Dr. Morrison was honoured to be a Conducting Associate at the Transient Glory Symposium working with the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City and Francisco Nunez. In 2014, she was honoured to be a conductor with the Grammy-nominated Toronto Mendelssohn Choir as part of their Conductors’ Symposium. Dr. Morrison was the guest conductor of the 2010 and 2017 Nova Scotia Choral Federation Junior Choir Camp, adjudicated for the 2012 NSYC Composition Competition, and was the guest conductor of the Chamber and Mixed Choral programs at the International Music Camp in North Dakota in July 2015. She sang soprano with the Canadian Chamber Choir for the past decade and can be heard on their CD, In Good Company. Prior to her work with the OCC, she was a vocal coach and conductor with the VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto. Dr. Morrison is a frequent presenter of research papers and choral workshops at international conferences including the Ontario Music Educators Association, the American Choral Directors Association National Convention, Podium, the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, the Canadian Arts and Learning Symposium, and the International Society of Music Education conferences. She writes the Youth Choir column in the ACCC Anacrusis publication and served the board of Choirs Ontario as the Vice-President for two years. Dr. Morrison is active as a choral adjudicator across Canada having adjudicated most recently at the London Kiwanis Festival in 2017. She will be travelling to Edmonton, Alberta to serve as a guest conductor for Choralfest North 2018.
Dr. Morrison holds music and education degrees from Western University and The University of Toronto. She has been on faculty at Queens University for the past two summers as an adjunct professor teaching courses in the Graduate Faculty of Education. Her research interests focus on technology-enhanced learning environments, teacher identity, collaborative community singing, and creativity.
Nila Rajagopal holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto where she studied voice and choral music education. Nila has been working as a Conductor’s Assistant at the Toronto Children’s Chorus for two years, where she developed her love of working with young voices. She also has an active career as a soprano, singing professionally with multiple ensembles such as Pax Christi Chorale, the Toronto Festival Singers, the St. Basil’s Schola Cantorum and the choir of Grace Church on-the-Hill. She was also a member of the Ontario Youth Choir for five years and sang with the National Youth Choir of Canada in 2016.
She has been continuing her studies through multiple choral conducting workshops such as the Westminster Choir College Conducting Institute and the Halifax Choral Conducting Institute. She is thrilled to be joining the OCC artistic team this year as the new Apprentice Conductor!
Katherine brings experience from a variety of industries including over 15 years working in customer service and administration leadership roles. Additionally, she has a strong background in customer service management as well as marketing. Katherine has served in a variety of industries throughout her career, supporting many organizations with the design, build, and implementation of processes.
Jackie is an experienced business professional and long-time Oakville resident with recent small business experience. Jackie has a passion for the arts and her community. She has held a number of community volunteer positions, including Oakville Arts Council board director.
Jackie brings strong business, organizational and management experience to the OCC which is supplemented by superior interpersonal skills. She is a former human resources management executive with a professional designation and holds many business accomplishments and certifications. Jackie holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree, with a major in psychology, from the University of Guelph.