Provincial Reps

Provincial Representatives

British Columbia Choral Federation

Willi Zwozdesky, Executive Director

Willi-ZwozdeskyWilli Zwozdesky is widely-known as a choral conductor and for his work as an arranger, which form a large part of an active musical career that also includes music publishing and arts management. A native of Alberta, Zwozdesky later moved to Seattle, where he completed a Master of Music in choral conducting and a Master of Arts in music theory at the University of Washington in 1981. Following his move to Vancouver in that year, he established himself as a leader in the city’s cultural community, working in choral music, education, musical theatre, and most notably, as the conductor of the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, a position he still holds today. He also trained in arts administration at The Banff Centre School of Management and at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. 

At the core of Zwozdesky’s career are his choral arrangements, many of which regularly appear in concert programs and recordings across Canada and abroad. In 1990 he established Rhythmic Trident Music Publishing, which focuses on his own and new Canadian work. An active choral clinician and adjudicator, Willi has also volunteered on a number of national and regional organizations, including the Canadian Music Centre, GALA Choruses, Inc., the World of Children’s Choirs 2001 and, presently, Choral Canada. In 2004, his dedication to choral music was recognized with both a Legacy Award from GALA Choruses for his contributions to that movement and a Willan Award from the British Columbia Choral Federation for outstanding service to British Columbia’s choral community. In addition to his freelance work, he serves as the Executive Director of the British Columbia Choral Federation.

Choir Alberta

Brendan Lord, Executive Director

Brendan-LordBrendan Lord holds a Bachelor of Arts(Music) degree from Augustana University College, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Alberta, and a Doctor of Music degree in choral conducting, also at the U of A.  His conducting teachers have included Dr. Marc Hafso, Dr. Robert de Frece, Dr. Debra Cairns, and Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff.  Mr. Lord has recently completed two major recitals which included J.S. Bach’s rarely performed Easter Oratorio and the Canadian premieres of James MacMillan’s Cantos Sagrados and James Bassi’s Harpsonnets.Recent awards include the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada fellowship, and the University of Alberta President`s Award.  He is a frequent adjudicator and clinician with choirs of all ages and abilities, and is an active composer and arranger of choral music having had his pieces performed across Canada and the United States.  In addition to his work as a freelance musician, Mr. Lord is the Executive Director of Choir Alberta and a member of Pro Coro Canada. 

Saskatchewan Choral Federation

Denise Gress, Executive Director

Denise-GressDenise Gress is Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Choral Federation (SCF). A born organizer and administrator, Denise has many years experience in project, event and organizational management. A business owner for 10 years, Denise is committed to providing exceptional service to both the SCF and Choral Canada and looks forward to meeting members and forging new relationships.

Denise’s interest in choral and instrumental music was rekindled during her involvement as Administrator of a large Regina high-school music program. “I enjoyed working within the musical community and I am very pleased to be involved in this capacity again”, she says. Although not a musician herself, she is an excellent audience member and appreciates all musical endeavours (or tries to!).

Denise has worked at all levels of government, in the co-operative sector and with private business. Her forte is organizing systems and events and she is excited about collaborating with her counterparts across Canada and the volunteer Board members of Choral Canada to increase opportunities for choral music study, performance and appreciation across Canada. 

Manitoba Choral Association

Robert Neufeld, Executive Director

robert-neufeldRobert Neufeld holds a Bachelor of Arts (Music)degree from the University of Winnipeg and a Bachelor of Religious Studies (Choral conducting concentration) degree from Mennonite Brethren Bible College, now known as Canadian Mennonite University.

He was self-employed for many years as a contract cleaner. He conducted the 50-voice choir at Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church in Steinbach, Manitoba for 14 years. He is busy as accompanist (piano and organ) for weddings, funerals, festivals, grad recitals and church music events. He is a member of Canzona (Winnipeg’s premiere baroque ensemble), the CMU Alumni Choir and has sung occasionally with the Winnipeg Singers, Renaissance Voices and Ecco. He was on the board of the EastMan Choral Association from 1989-2006 and was their representative on the MCA Board in the early 1990’s. Robert has served as Executive Director of the Manitoba Choral Association since August 2006. 

Choirs Ontario

Matthew Otto, President

Matthew Otto is a passionate and innovative conductor, clinician, and pedagogue. As President of Choirs Ontario, he is quickly establishing himself as a leading voice on the Canadian choral scene. Currently, Matthew serves as the Associate Conductor of the award-winning Toronto Children’s Chorus where he directs the Toronto Youth Choir, Chorealis, and co-conducts Chorale. Matthew is also Choir Director & Organist at Christ Church Deer Park, and founder/artistic director of Incontra Vocal Ensemble, a project-based, professional level choir in Toronto.

Twice-recipient of the Elmer Iseler Fellowship in Choral Conducting, and finalist in both the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting (2014) and Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Fellowship Award in Orchestral Conducting (2010), Matthew holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition (2007) and a Master of Music in Conducting (2009). In September 2016, Matthew begins a PhD in Music Education at the University of Toronto. His research interests include cultural identity as seen in the choral music of Canada in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and choral music education in a pluralistic context.


Alliance des chorales du Québec

Charles Decroix, Executive Director

Picture Charles Decroix OKCharles Decroix is the Executive Director of Alliance des chorales du Québec. After having worked in France for the Ensemble intercontemporain (Cité de la Musique), the Orchestre National de France (Radio France) and the Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, he moved to Canada in 2012.

CEO of the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute (Montréal, QC) for 2 years, he stepped into the role of ED for ACQ in March 2015.

Charles has a Masters Degree in Music Research and Musicology from Sorbonne University and a Specialized Masters Degree in Arts Management from HEC Paris.

New Brunswick Choral Federation/Fédération chorale du Nouveau-Brunswick

Shawn Henry, Executive Director

Shawn is an actor, singer, writer, and director born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick. His foray into the world of the performing arts began at the age of 12 with the song and dance troupe Characters Incorporated. Though they traveled the world, it was through that group that he began to cherish the artistic community that exists in New Brunswick. Shawn holds a Bachelor of Music from Dalhousie University, and taught music in Toronto for 15 years before returning home to Fredericton a few years ago.  A member of the New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Cooperative, Shawn was the recipient of the NB Joy Film Award and the Short Film Venture Award for his short film script Il Sole (currently in post-production) at The Silver Wave Film Festival.

Shawn’s observance of the deep connectivity of people in this community is what prompted him to found Blind Faith Productions. The name truly resonates with Shawn as to why he returned to New Brunswick – acting solely on the feeling that great things awaited him. In August 2013, the company debuted their first theatrical production when Next To Normal opened to rave reviews and nearly sold out audiences.

Shawn also recently directed the final instalment of Christmas @theplayhouse as well as Tonight’s the Night: An Evening of Comedy and Song – a fundraiser for The York Foundation which featured prominent New Brunswick artists.  Most recently he served as music director for St. Thomas University’s production of Spring Awakening, directed by Dawn Sadoway, and is currently the Executive Director of the NB Choral Federation.

Nova Scotia Choral Federation

Tim Callahan-Cross, Executive Director

timTim Callahan-Cross is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He worked with the Nova Scotia Choral Federation as Program Coordinator from 1987 until 1997 when he assumed the position of Executive Director. Prior to working with the federation he owned and operated the acclaimed Halifax restaurant Café Quelque Chose, worked as a dietetic supervisor at the Halifax Infirmary Hospital and was a qualified fitness instructor with the YMCA.

He has served as a volunteer on committees and boards of several choirs as well as the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council, the YMCA, the Family Pride Camping Association and Kinap Community Centre. Currently he is treasurer of the Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia and a board member of Mocean Dance. Tim makes his home in Halifax with his husband Thomas and three sons. He has enjoyed singing with a few local community choirs and currently sings with Nova Voce.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]