John Beale is a teacher and actor based in Stratford, Ontario and has performed in theatres in Canada and the US. He originated the role of Kyle Best in Daniel Macivor's Best Brothers which premiered at the Stratford Festival and toured nationally. He is a graduate of the Philippe Gaulier International Theatre School in Paris. He has trained, performed and taught extensively as a company member at the internationally acclaimed Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. As part of the faculty at Seneca at York University, Humber College, George Brown College and Randolph College for the Performing Arts he teaches acting, scene study, improv, mask and clown. He is a master clown teacher and has been holding publicly offered performance workshops and coaching actors since 2005.
Caitlin Boyle, a Hamilton-based violin and viola performer and pedagogue, began her musical training at the Hamilton Suzuki School when she was three years old. Since that time she has received subsequent training at the New England Conservatory, The Glenn Gould School, McGill University, and most recently at the University of Toronto where she researched nonverbal communication in chamber music for her doctoral thesis.
Mark Cassius is a versatile Performer, who has been on Broadway, in the Original Cast of "Ragtime" and revivals of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Shenandoah". He has spent seasons at both the Shaw and Stratford Festivals and has starred in The Drayton Festival's "Damn Yankees", "The Little Mermaid", "Sweet Charity" and D2 Entertainment's "A Starbright Christmas" and "Hollywood Sings".
Toronto credits include "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (with Donny Osmond), "Miss Saigon", "Showboat", "Cats" and the Toronto Premiere of the Off- Broadway Musical, "The Musical of Musicals, (the Musical)", for which he received a Broadway World, "Best Actor" nomination.
He toured internationally for eight years as Baritone in the Canadian Pop/A cappella quartet, "The Nylons". He has been a Kiwanis Music Festival Adjudicator, a Musical and Vocal Director at Canada's Wonderland, a singing coach in School Theatre Arts programs and Recording Studios in Canada and the United States. He has been a recurring Performance instructor at The Randolph College for the Performing Arts, for over eighteen years and also teaches Musical Theatre Performance courses at Sheridan College and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson).
Jamie Hillman is a Canadian and American musician, active as a conductor, singer, pianist, music educator, and composer. He holds the endowed Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting at the University of Toronto where he is Director of Choral Studies and an Associate Professor. He conducts the U of T MacMillan Singers and leads the master's and doctoral degree programs in Choral Conducting, as well as the annual summer Choral Conducting Symposium. He is also cross-listed as an adjunct faculty member in Emmanuel College's Master of Sacred Music program.
In Fall 2022, Hillman began a new role as Associate Conductor and Director of Community Engagement of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
Dr. Hillman is an examiner for Conservatory Canada and has adjudicated, guest conducted, performed, and presented throughout Canada and the United States, and in France, India, Indonesia, and Portugal. He has led All-State, festival, or honor choirs in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ontario, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. Most recently he conducted a Manhattan Concert Productions National Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall and will return to Carnegie Hall in 2023 to conduct the Canadian National Festival Chorus with National Concerts.
Hillman earned an associate diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music and degrees from Western University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Boston University where he studied with Ann Howard Jones. Dr. Hillman is the 2012 laureate of the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting from the Ontario Arts Council.
Michel Faigaux was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and is a graduate of the National Ballet School. He danced as a soloist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, a Principal Dancer with Alberta Ballet and a senior member of the corps at the National Ballet of Canada.
Michel has travelled the world first to perform with such companies as Maximum Dance in Miami, The Georgia Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and many others. He continues to be sought after as a guest teacher and has been a regular teacher in Studio Architanz in Tokyo, Japan, Ballet Jorgen in Toronto and Ballet BC. He is a regular guest teacher for The National Ballet of Canada and has recently organized the first ever National Ballet School workshops in Tokyo, Japan.
A Canadian of Danish and Latvian heritage, pianist Sandra Mogensen is equally at home in two worlds: performing as a solo pianist and co-performing with singers in recital. She has played in concert in both capacities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Latvia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria.
In early 2019, Ms. Mogensen's focus turned to the music of female composers. Her first recording in the series of six albums known as en pleine lumière was released in December 2019, spotlighting composers born in mid-1800s. Volume two (composers born 1870-1900) recording sessions have been postponed due to the pandemic. This series of six recordings is of solo piano music by undeservedly overlooked female and female-identifying composers of the romantic era up to present day.
She has also co-founded a project called 'Piano Music She Wrote', in which all piano music on imslp.org composed by women has been catalogued. The 'Piano Music She Wrote' YouTube channel features performances of much of this music as well, with a repertoire that continues to expand weekly. In addition, Sandra has also created two directories for those interested in vocal repertoire composed by women: 'Lieder She Wrote' and 'Mélodies She Wrote'.
Sandra's first solo album, Piano Music of Edvard Grieg, recorded in December 2006, was warmly received and praised. Since then, Sandra has become known as a specialist in Grieg's music, having released four recordings of the great Norwegian's music so far.
Sandra Mogensen has extensive pedagogical experience, both as a piano teacher and a coach for singers. Having taught piano internationally via Skype since 2012, she was well-positioned to continue her online teaching when the pandemic situation arose. A former senior member of the RCM Board of Examiners, Sandra is currently an examiner for Conservatory Canada and CNCM. She enjoys adjudicating students of all ages and levels, as a way to support and encourage personal and musical development, while sharing her love for music.
Angela Park has established herself as one of Canada's most sought-after pianists. Praised for her "stunningly beautiful pianism" (Grace Welsh Prize, Chicago), "beautiful tone and sensitivity" (American Record Guide), and for performing "with such brilliant clarity it took your breath away" (Chapala, Mexico), Angela's versatility as both soloist and chamber musician has led to acclaimed performances across Canada, as well as in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Mexico.
Angela has performed for such notable series as Montreal's Pro Musica, Ottawa Chamberfest, Parry Sound's Festival of the Sound, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Lyrica Baroque, Winnipeg Virtuosi, Debut Atlantic and Prairie Debut Tours, CBC Onstage, Orchestra London Canada, Sinfonia Toronto, Stratford Symphony, and the Northern Lights Music Festival in Mexico. She is a founding member of the award-winning Ensemble Made In Canada, the Mercer-Park Duo, the Seiler Piano Trio, and the AYR Trio.
Angela has recorded solo albums, as well as collaborative discs with cellist Rachel Mercer, oboist Linda Strommen, and Ensemble Made In Canada, for labels including NAXOS Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, and Enharmonic Records. In 2010 Angela earned her DMA in Performance from the Université de Montréal. From 2011-2014, Angela was Visiting Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano-Woodwinds at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. She is currently Artist-in-Residence with Ensemble Made In Canada and Assistant Professor of Piano at Western University. She is also on the board of Stratford Summer Music
Astrid Russell recently retired as a Drama and English teacher at Mitchell District High School [MDHS]. She taught Grade 9 through Grade 12 Dramatic Arts as well directing over twenty productions with MDHS Productions. With her students, Astrid entered the Sears Drama Festival where MDHS won many awards, advancing to the Regional Festival three times.
Astrid also launched and ran the Shakespeare School at the Stratford Festival for ten years.
Before she began teaching, Astrid was an actor for many regional theatres across Canada
including two seasons with the Stratford Festival. She is a graduate of Concordia University (B.A. Theatre Arts), National Theatre School and University of Western Ontario (B.Ed.)
Lindsay has established herself as an electrifying performer. As a child studying classical violin she developed a valuable foundation and excelled in her technical ability. A need to diversify and push boundaries led her to experiment with various other styles of music. Finding her passion in performance and fiddle music, she continues to embrace traditional repertoire from many regions of the world, as well as write her own music. Having performed in Ireland, Japan, across the USA and Canada, Lindsay has brought her energy to many concert halls, theatres and festivals.
With over twenty years of teaching experience and extensive teacher training, Lindsay strives to ignite the passion for music in her students through a fun and caring environment. As founder of Far and Wide Music, Lindsay connects with musicians from coast to coast for weekly lessons both in person and online.
With a love for both traditional fiddle music and teaching, Lindsay recently released Far & Wide Fiddle Volume One, a book filled with beginner fiddle tunes that are laid out sequentially using a natural building block approach. The book is accompanied with a matching recording available to stream on all major platforms.
Raised in Mississauga, Ontario Jason Sermonia has called Stratford, Ontario home for last 10 years. At a young age, Jason trained extensively at the Canadian Dance Company (Mississauga) and the Performing Dance Arts (Woodbridge) specializing in jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, acrobatics, musical theatre and hip-hop. At age 18, he made his theatrical debut in the Toronto production of The Lion King (Mirvish Productions). Other selected theatre credits include: Dirty Dancing; We Will Rock You (Mirvish Productions); The Lion King (Disney Theatrical-Las Vegas); We Will Rock You (1st US National Tour); Jesus Christ Superstar (Stratford/La Jolla/Broadway Revival); Miss Saigon (Broadway Revival); Chicago, Billy Elliot, Little Shop of Horrors, Music Man, Rocky Horror Show, A Chorus Line, Crazy For You, Sound of Music, Carousel, Guys & Dolls, Anything Goes (Stratford Festival), Holiday Inn (Shaw Festival); West Side Story (Citadel/Theatre Calgary), Mary Poppins (Drayton Entertainment). Jason also appeared in the hip-hop dancing movie "Honey" starring Jessica Alba and the Oscar award winning best picture "Chicago" starring Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger. He also performed on the 66th and 71st Annual Tony Awards, 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Live With Regis & Kelly Show Las Vegas, Dancing With The Stars and The Marilyn Dennis Show. Choreography: Chicago - Stratford Fedtival (assistant Choreographer); Discover The New Tom Patterson Theatre – Stratford Festival (choreographer); Great Grand Road Trip – Grand Theatre HSP (choreographer); The Boys S3E5 - Amazon Prime (assistant choreographer). Awards: Derek F. Mitchell Artistic Director's Guthrie Award (Stratford Festival-2016); Brian Macdonald Choreographer Guthrie Award (Stratford Festival-2018)
After graduating with a music degree from Queen's University Paul fell in love with theatre and for many years composed shows and toured schools with a theatre company called Theatre On the Move. From there he began music directing and accompanying shows for other theatres throughout Ontario.
Fast forward to Stratford when he moved here in 1990 with his wife Barbara Fulton who became a regular and recognizable performer with Stratford Festival company. He briefly taught in the public school system here and then spent many years as the music teacher at Stratford Montessori School followed by four years at the Stratford Middle Years school.
During his time in Stratford he has composed the music for five productions at the Stratford Festival. He continues his close association with the Festival and in 2022 composed the music for All's Well That Ends Well in the new Tom Patterson Theatre.
His approach to teaching recognizes that most students are not interested in a career as a professional musician but simply want to learn the language of music to create, compose and have fun. However, it can only become fun with practice. He encourage parents to be involved even if music is a foreign language. Setting aside at least 15 or 20 minutes a day can make a tremendous difference in the student's progress as well as their eagerness to continue. He is, of course, willing to work with students who are interested in developing a more advanced proficiency. He loves working with any student who wishes to compose music or write their own songs.
Trevor Wagler has dedicated his life to the art of music. He is co-owner/Director of Renaissance School of the Arts, as well as a freelance French horn player (on both modern and historical instruments), conductor, organist, composer, arranger/orchestrator, music editor/copyist and clinician.
He holds a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition, a Diploma in Performance, and a Diploma in Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as a Masters of Music Degree in horn performance from Western University. He has performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, Tafelmusik, Orchestra London / London Sinfonia, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Nota Bene Period Orchestra, the Windsor Symphony, the Stratford Festival, Drayton Entertainment and more, sharing the stage with the likes of Dianna Krall, Anne Murray, Michael Burgess and Howard Cable.
Trevor has conducted the historic Waterloo Concert Band since 2006, and has spent nearly two decades conducting various ensembles for the KWS Youth Orchestra Programme. He is the regular guest conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony for their acclaimed joint performances with KW Glee. He founded the Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Concert Band (KW YCB) in 2017.
Passionate about music education, Trevor maintains an active teaching schedule at Renaissance School of the Arts, and holds contract faculty positions at both Laurier University and the University of Waterloo (Conrad Grebel University College).
In addition to his active performance and teaching schedule, Trevor is also a busy arranger/orchestrator and composer, having written more than 1000 scores for orchestras, bands, chamber ensembles and soloists around the world. Recent commissions have included orchestrating (and conducting) The K-W Symphony Presents KW Glee Live! at the Centre in the Square (Kitchener), as well as new music for the KWS, Symphony Nova Scotia, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Edmonton Symphony, and the Kingston Symphony.
Trevor is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the International Horn Society, the Historic Brass Society and the National Geographic Society.
An accomplished soloist and orchestral musician, Wendy Wagler holds the principal flute chair in the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra and has performed with many ensembles, including the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Brantford Symphony and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble. She has performed as soloist with the K-W Symphony Youth Orchestra, the K-W Chamber Orchestra, the Renaissance Singers and the Symphonic Band of the University of Cauca (Colombia). As a chamber musician, she has spent the last decade with the Springdale Trio, with pianist Boyd McDonald and cellist Ben Bolt-Martin. This winter, Wendy unveiled her new ensemble: The Phoenix Trio, featuring pianist Beth Ann de Sousa and cellist Cathy Anderson.
Wendy holds a Master's Degree in Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario and an Honours Bachelor Degree in Flute Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University, having studied with Bonita Boyd, Dr. Amy Hamilton, Thomas Kay, and Prof. Fiona Wilkinson. She has directed flute masterclasses worldwide, including as a guest artist and clinician at the University of Cauca Flute Festival (Pasto, Colombia), and has been teaching flute at Renaissance School of the Arts since 1995.
Wendy is the flute instructor at Heritage College in Cambridge and the founding director of Renaissance School of the Arts Flute Choir and Flute Camp. She has given her seminar How to Conquer Performance Anxiety to youth orchestras, high school music classes, and university masterclasses throughout North America. Wendy maintains the highest reputation as a flute instructor, routinely taking students successfully through all levels of conservatory exams as well as university auditions, and beyond.
Canadian baritone James Westman has appeared in many of the world's leading opera, recital and concert halls. Westman's versatility and artistic sensibility has earned him the highest praise from audiences and critics of Grand Opera, Oratorio, Art Song, Baroque, Chamber and Modern classical music.
He has premiered many new operas; Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner, Kevin Puts' Silent Night, André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, Neil Weisensel's Riel: Heart of the North and the title role of Bramwell Tovey's The Inventor. His Career has encompassed over 35 years of singing over 60 roles on the opera stage, and over 40 oratorios/symphonic works.
His signature role, Germont in Verdi's La Traviata has been heard in over 200 performances with major companies, including San Francisco Opera, Canadian Opera Company Houston Grand Opera, Opera Bordeaux, Florida Grand Opera Cologne Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, L.A. Opera, Vancouver Opera, Vienna State Opera, Graz Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the English National Opera
Mr. Westman enjoys the dynamic intimacy of art song recitals. He has performed recitals in many leading predominant recital halls; Wigmore, Carnegie, Musikverein, Roy Thompson, Morgan Library, Koerner Hall, Matsumoto, Snape Maltings, NAC, Royal Albert, Queen Elizabeth, Rudolfinum, Bastille, Kammermusiksaal, St. David, Sheldonian, Herbts, Alice Tully, Avery Fisher, and Palacio de Bellas Artes. He has collaborated with many great pianists such as Martin Kats, Malcolm Martineau, Warren Jones, John Churchwell, Graham Johnson, Craig Ruttenberg, Simon Lepper, John Greer, Brian Zeger, Pierre Valet, Jeewon Park and Willaim Aide. Composers that have composed art songs specifically for Mr. Westman are; John Greer, John Hawkins, John Beckwith, Derek Holeman, Srul Irving Glick, Bramwell Tovey, Larisa Kuzmenko, Gary Kulesha, Robert Aitken, André Previn, and Scott Tresham.
Formerly a successful boy treble, Mr. Westman was a member of the American Boys Choir, the Paris Boys Choir and the Vienna Boys Choir. He was the first boy to perform and record the fourth movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 4, (Child's View of Heaven) and toured this work with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East and West Germany and Russia. He had the great opportunity to perform Mahler's Fourth Symphony with the great Leonard Bernstein at age twelve.
Mr. Westman placed first in all international competitions in which he has participated; including 'Concert of the Nation' /Mexico (1983), San Francisco Opera 'Merola Competition' (1998), the 'George London Competition' (1997), the D'angelo Competition (1997), the 'Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyrique' (1996), and the 'Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation' (1999). 'Marylin Horne Foundation Award' (1999). In June of 1999 he was a finalist and the audience favorite award winner at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
In recent years Mr. Westman has garnished praise for his vocal training of professional young opera singers in ensembles and Universities/Conservatory programs throughout the world. The University of Toronto, Laurier, UBC, Ottawa University, Carleton, York University, University of Buffalo, Penn State, Michigan State University, South Louisiana University, San Francisco Conservatory, Beijing Conservatory, Santa Fe Opera, Pittsburg Opera, St Louis Opera, Utah Opera, Calgary Opera, Ottawa Lyra, Montreal Opera and Stanford University.
Recent seasons included; Canadian Premiere, Calgary Opera, Lt. Gordon in Kevin Puts' Silent Night; New York Philharmonic, Handel's Messiah; New York Philharmonic, Orff's Carmina Burana; Pacific Opera Victoria, Enrico in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; Opera Lyra Ottawa, Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro; Canadian Opera Company, Germont in Verdi's La Traviata; Quebec Opera, Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca; Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Rimsky Korsakov's Mozart and Salieri; National Arts Orchestra, Brahms's Requiem with the new chief conductor Alexander Shelley. In 2017, Mr Westman performed and recorded the role of Sir John A. Macdonald in Harry Somers' Louis Riel with the Canadian Opera Company - co-production/recording with NAC Orchestra celebrating 150 years of Canadian history. James sang the Doctor In Barber's Vanessa in Ireland's Wexford Opera Festival and sang the role of Enrico in Lucia for Utah Opera. He made his Rigoletto debut in 2018 with Montreal Opera and his Nabucco debut with Quebec Opera, May of 2019. He recently performed La Traviata with Manitoba, Victoria, Edmonton and Montréal opera companies in a joint production. This year he will be singing Rigoletto in Edmonton, Dallas and Spain.
Westman has recorded with Decca, BBC, CBC, Naxos, Opera Rara and Centre Disc. His recordings have been nominated for four Juno's and two Grammy's. James Westman hosts on CBC radio 2, 'This is my Music' and will contribute to CBC's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.