Board of Directors

Director

Vancouver, BC

Adam was born and raised on the traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. As a 4 th generation descendent of the Chinese Diaspora in Canada, he is grateful to be able to embrace his rich cultural and spiritual lineage while living and working as a guest on the beautiful traditional lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples in Victoria, British Columbia. Dr. Adam Jonathan Con is Co-Head of Music Education and conductor of the UVIC Symphonic Chorus at the University of Victoria. In addition, Dr. Con coordinates Graduate Choral Conducting, and serves as graduate faculty supervisor for the accordion applied area. His invitations to perform, conduct and present workshops include: Foro Coro Americano in Argentina, I Foro Internacional De Educación Musical in Mexico, HCES Music Festival in Australia, Podium Choral Conducting Symposium, ISME The International Society for Music Education, the Canadian GALA Conference, the Canadian and the American Orff-Schulwerk Conferences, the Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia Provincial Music Educator’s Conferences, the British Columbia Choral Federation, the Unitarian Universalist Musicians National American Conference, the Ohio and Georgia State Music Educator’s Conferences and the American Choral Directors Association. Adam has recently completed his role as principal investigator for the historic National Study on the State of Music Education in Canada.

Director

Toronto, ON

Anne is a strategic communications specialist for the cultural sector, helping arts organizations to be relevant and successful.  She developed and managed integrated marketing campaigns and strategic communications for the Royal Ontario Museum and the Ontario Science Centre, and is currently Director of Marketing for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.  New initiatives that Anne has undertaken for the TMC include developing the TMC’s concert webcast programming and creating an active social media presence for the Choir. Anne taught Strategic Communications Planning in the Humber College post-grad Public Relations program for a number of years, and has conducted workshops and webinars for small non-profits that provide practical knowledge and build skills in online marketing. She has conducted these workshops for Choral Canada, Chorus America, Choirs Ontario, and the Association of California Symphony Orchestras. Choral music has been a part of Anne’s life since high school. She sings Alto for the Choir of the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Toronto.

Provincial Choral Organizations Representative

Choir Alberta – Edmonton, AB

Recognized for his unique blend of artistic and administrative abilities, Dr. Brendan Lord is equally comfortable in the boardroom and on the podium. As administrator, he is Executive Director of Choir Alberta, Project Manager of Music Conference Alberta, and Advisor for Alberta Music Advocacy Alliance. Dr. Lord also served as Producer for Podium 2016, Canada’s national choral festival and conference. Artistically, he has conducted choirs at all levels including Spiritus Chamber Choir, Edmonton All-City Children’s Choir, Sherwood Park Festival Singers, and Sangkor Women’s Ensemble at the University of Alberta Augustana Campus. Between 2001 and 2016, Dr. Lord was a Sessional Instructor at the University of Alberta where he taught courses in the areas of conducting, music theory, and musicianship.

Director

Toronto, ON

Diane Kolin is a singer and a musicologist. She sings jazz and classical music, in choirs and smaller ensembles. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Musicology in York University, Toronto. Her research interests are diverse and include Critical Disability Studies, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Liszt. She is the editor in chief of the Journal of the French Beethoven Society - Association Beethoven France et Francophonie. The study of Beethoven’s deafness and her personal history led to her research in disability and music. She specializes in disability awareness and inclusion in the artistic world, particularly in music. Her collaboration with disabled musicians in the professional musical world allows her to expose new ideas on making music more accessible to a broader audience.

Director

Georgetown, ON

Hailing originally from the Canadian prairies, Diane Murray-Charrett is a PhD student in Music Education at the University of Toronto. She holds a Master of Music Education from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music Education from Brandon University, and Orff Certification from the University of Manitoba. Diane was the founding conductor of the Gaudeamus Choirs of Halton Hills and now conducts the newly formed Cantando Women’s Choir, a community choir in her current hometown of Georgetown, Ontario. Over a 30-year career as an elementary music educator, most recently with the Halton District School Board in Milton, Ontario, she has developed a great passion for teaching young people to sing, working to help thousands of students find their voice. Her choral conducting experience encompasses community children’s choirs, including previous positions with the Oakville Children’s Choir and the Hamilton Children’s Choir, public school choirs at the local and regional level, musical theatre programs, as well as community and church choirs. 

Diane was honoured to recently share her research on Singer Identity in children at Podium 2022 and The Singing Network’s EXchange 2022 at IFCM’s World Choral Expo in Lisbon, Portugal. In her doctoral studies, Diane continues to examine how social, cultural, and political dynamics influence participation in group singing. A longtime member of Choral Canada, she is excited to be joining the Board of Directors and further support initiatives for our national group singing community.

Director

Winnipeg, MB

Described as “innovative, expressive, and dynamic,” Elroy Friesen is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Manitoba where he heads the graduate studies program in choral performance, conducts numerous choirs, and teaches graduate conducting.


 His award-winning ensembles tour nationally and internationally, and are frequently recorded and broadcast by the CBC.  They enjoy collaborating with many outstanding local and national arts organizations, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, WSO New Music Festival, Soundstreams Canada, Groundswell, Vancouver Chamber Choir, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
 
 
Dr. Friesen studied at the University of Manitoba (B. Mus., B. Ed., M. Mus.) and at the University of Illinois (DMA), receiving numerous scholarships and grants from the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Foundation for Choral Music in Manitoba.  He is the conductor and Co-Founder and Co-Artistic director of Schooner Cove Singers (Parksville, BC), as well as past Artistic Director and founder of the Winnipeg-based youth choir, Prairie Voices.  He is also co-founder of fikamusik: a choral conducting intensive based at the University of Manitoba, and has recently appeared as guest conductor with the Winnipeg Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestras. He is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and conductor throughout North America and Northern Europe.

Director

Vice President of Advocacy – Halifax, NS

Heather Fraser maintains an active career as a choral conductor, music educator and collaborative pianist in Nova Scotia.  She is the Artistic Director of the Annapolis Valley Honour Choirs (150 singers Grades 3-12), the Aeolian Singers (Halifax based women’s choir), and is an accompanist and music specialist in the Halifax Regional Centre for Education. 

Heather is grateful to have had the opportunity to study conducting and choral pedagogy with mentors across Canada, the USA and the UK.  She was honoured to be a Conducting Fellow with the Canadian Chamber Choir (2015), the first conductor in Pro Coro Canada’s emerging artist program (2016), and was Apprentice Conductor of the National Youth Choir of Canada under the guidance of Dr. Victoria Meredith (2010). 

A dynamic teacher, Heather is an active clinician, presenter and adjudicator. As the Program Director for the NS Choral Federation for seven years, she is passionate about the power of choral music to build community and foster our humanity.  After having served Choral Canada on both the Advocacy and National Youth Choir committees for many years, Heather is honoured to be elected to the VP Advocacy role, and feels humbled to be a part such a talented and invested team working on behalf of our diverse choral community. 

Treasurer

Edmonton, AB

Past President

Edmonton, AB

With a doctorate in choral conducting (U of A / IRCAM, Paris) and a master’s degree in vocal pedagogy (U. Laval), there is nothing Laurier Fagnan enjoys more than inspiring singers to make the most beautiful sound possible. He has served as guest conductor and vocal coach for many choral festivals and has offered hundreds of workshops in vocal technique to choirs from Whitehorse to Seattle to Paris. He was awarded a generous grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to establish Canada’s first Vocal Acoustics Laboratory at Campus Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta, where he has conducted the very dynamic Chorale Saint-Jean since 1995.  Dr. Fagnan was keynote speaker at the general assembly of the European Choral Federation in Bulgaria and has presented his research on choral acoustics and bel canto vocal principles at several international conferences. He has recently launched a DVD on vocal technique for choirs, which incorporates bel canto vocal principles applied to choral singing and is currently writing a book on bel canto vocal pedagogy. Recent highlights include conducting at international festivals in Vaison-la-Romaine, France and Domaine Forget, Québec as well as presenting at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors’ Association and the Acoustical Society of America in Salt Lake City. Dr. Fagnan recently completed a post-graduate certificate in Vocology in the US and served as co-Chair of Podium 2016, Canada’s national conference and festival of choral singing. He was guest conductor at the 40th anniversary of the Académie internationale du Domaine Forget (Québec) and made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in New York in May of 2018. Dr. Fagnan has previously served as president of Choir Alberta and was recently named President Elect of Choral Canada, Canada’s national association of choirs and choral conductors.

Director

Toronto, ON

Leo Li, an active choral conductor, focuses on cross-cultural and cross-language choral conducting. He has served the role as a choral conductor officially since age 18; in the same year, he conducted the choir and won the Gold Prize in Czech International Music Festival. He is pursuing his PhD at University of Toronto. 

Mr. Li experiences in conducting mixed choir, women’s choir, university choir, youth choir, children’s choir, community choir, school choir, and vocal ensembles in both Canada and China. He is passionate in building connections and bringing possibilities for different choirs/singing groups. His master’s major research paper, “Preparing and Conducting English Choral Works: a manual for Chinese choral conductors”, contributes to the Chinese choral community. 

Leo Li has performed and conducted in Australia, Canada, China, Czech, Russia, and Ukraine. In 2016, Mr. Li conducted Chinese and Russian pop and folk pieces in the Friendship Concert in The 9th World Choir Games, Sochi, Russia. 

In 2022, Mr. Li served as the Co-Chair of Community and School Engagement Portfolio and Local Choir Liaison Portfolio in PODIUM2022 with his colleagues; a new series of event – the Connections Series – is launched for creating a sharing platform for mainstream choral society and community/ethnic based choral/singing communities.

Secretary

Charlottetown, PEI

An active conductor, performer, and teacher, Dr. Margot Rejskind has directed choirs of all kinds, from beginner to professional, in both Canada and the United States. Known for her adventurous and eclectic programming, choirs under her direction have been praised for their musicality, artistry, and radiant sound. Dr. Rejskind is in demand as a guest conductor and adjudicator, appearing at conferences, festivals, and workshops throughout North America. She is the founding artistic director of Luminos Ensemble, a PEI-based professional chamber choir; artistic director of Forte Men's Choir, and music director of Island Choral Society; and also maintains a busy private voice and conducting studio, and lectures at UPEI. Until recently, she was a member of the Executive of the PEI Registered Music Teachers’ Association, and she currently serves as VP for Membership Development for the Atlantic Canada Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Margot is a native of Montreal, where she received formative conducting training under Iwan Edwards and Dr. John Baboukis, and earned a degree in Voice Performance (Jazz) from Concordia University. She earned her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Choral Conducting and Vocal Pedagogy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying with Dr. Chester Alwes, and Donald Schleicher.

President

Vancouver, BC

Morna Edmundson is one of Canada’s best-known choral conductors with a strong reputation for excellence. Based in Vancouver, she is Artistic Director of Elektra Women’s Choir and also EnChor Choir, an auditioned SATB ensemble for mature voices. Passionate since childhood about choral singing, Morna obtained degrees and diplomas in vocal music in Vancouver, Bellingham, and Stockholm, Sweden where her teachers included Eric Ericson. Under her leadership, Elektra is a proud leader in the women’s choir community, programming a season of concerts, commissioning, recording, and engaging with women of all ages and their conductors through a suite of outreach programs. For 14 years Morna shared her love of quality repertoire with a new generation of singers in her role as Associate Artistic Director of Coastal Sound Music Academy. Morna has adjudicated in North America and Asia, conducted state honour choirs, co-directed the American Choral Directors Association National Women’s Honour Choir, and gives frequent workshops with choirs of all ages. She curates a series of Canadian compositions and arrangements for accomplished treble choirs at Cypress Choral Music. Her accomplishments have been recognized with the BC Choral Federation’s Healey Willan Award (2000), a BC Community Achievement Award (2009), YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, Arts and Culture category (2011), and UBC Alumni Builder Award (2017). She served on the board of Chorus America for 9 years (2013-2021) and currently serves the BC Choral Federation as chair of its Willan Council. 

Morna is proud to serve Choral Canada as President from 2022-2024 and looks forward to working closely with staff, board, and members in this wonderful and unique organization.

Provincial Choral Organizations Representative

Alliance chorale du Québec – Montreal, QC

Roxanne discovered what a choir was in high school when her French teacher started her school's first choir. It was love at first sight and she has been navigating the choral world ever since, whether as a chorister, alto conductor, pianist-accompanist or conductor. She studied piano at the University of Montréal, started teaching piano at the age of 14, is part of many choirs, among others on the south shore of Montreal, founded the female only Ensemble vocal Écho de la Montagne in 1996 and joined the Chœur Ste-Dorothée as a pianist-accompanist in 1997. In 2001, she took over the musical direction and still holds this position. She was secretary of the governing board of Saint-Luc school for 9 years and was actively involved for several years in the organization of Automnie, provincial choir gathering of the Alliance chorale du Québec, as responsible of the thematic workshop, and in 2005 as musical coordinator of the event. At the same time, she worked for the international humanitarian organization World Vision Canada for 22 years, of which the last 13 years as a manager of the Québec Office. Roxanne is therefore very excited to be able to combine her passion for choral singing with her management skills by joining the Alliance chorale du Québec, in July 2021, as Executive Director.

Director

Montréal, QC

Sebastien Duckett is currently a student at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, where he is completing the joint BCL/JD degree program. He is also a Student-at-Law at Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, a leading national law firm. Sebastien holds a bachelor’s degree in music from McGill, where he majored in vocal performance under the tutelage of Brett Polegato and John MacMaster. He has sung in numerous ensembles, including the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Ontario Youth Choir, McGill University’s Schulich Singers and the choirs at St. Michael’s Choir School. For several years, Sebastien served as a director and officer at Young Voices Toronto, a Toronto-based children’s choir. In his time at YVT, he played a pivotal role in the organization’s governance reform, financial planning and pandemic response.

Provincial Choral Organizations Representative

NS Choral Federation – Halifax, NS

Tim 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 his current position as 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, Mocean Dance, and Kinap Community Centre. Currently he is a board member and Past President of the Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia and Past President and board member of Halifax Gay Men’s Chorus and Board member of of Unison Choruses Canada.  He helped host Podium 1998, Podium 2014 and is Co-chair of Unison Festival 2023. Tim makes his home in Bedford. He has enjoyed singing with a few local community choirs. Tim is a founding member and currently sings with Halifax Gay Men’s Chorus.

Provincial Choral Organizations Representative

BC Choral Federation – Vancouver, BC

Willi 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.


 

President Elect

Montréal, QC

Staff

Executive Director

Toronto, ON

Since 2014, Meghan Hila has been the General Manager of Choral Canada, the national arts service organization for the Canadian choral community. In January 2019, Meghan was promoted to Executive Director. Meghan has extensive experience in arts management and has worked for organizations such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra & Dance, University of Windsor's School of Music, Windsor's Capitol Theatre, the Kiwanis Music Festival of Greater Toronto, Bowman Media, Talisker Players, and Choirs Ontario. Meghan has a Bachelor of Music Therapy (Voice) degree from the University of Windsor, as well as a Certificate in Arts Management. Meghan has performed as both a volunteer and professional choral singer. Until recently, upon becoming a new mother, Meghan was singing with the Orpheus C​hoir of Toronto directed by Robert Cooper and the St. Thomas Anglican Church Evensong Choir directed by Matthew Larkin. ​

Programs & Services Manager

Fergus, ON

Sarah comes to Choral Canada from a diverse career background, primarily focused on the arts and agricultural sectors. She learned about the power of connection through music while singing in choir as a youth, and that was reinforced during her involvement with Alberta’s Kokopelli Choir Association as a volunteer and later as Choir Manager. She is excited to bring her creativity and marketing, communications and project planning skills to Choral Canada.

Communications Manager

Keswick, ON

Originally from Nova Scotia, Colin Frotten is a pianist, tenor, music director and arts administrator. He graduated from Mount Allison University where he was a chorister with the Elliott Chorale for five consecutive years, often acting as section-lead and tenor soloist, in addition to working as the choir's manager and librarian.

Most recently, Colin sang with That Choir for eight seasons and was their General Manager from 2015-2022. He also continues to work as an active performer throughout Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. Past highlights include work with Bloor Street United Church, First Act Productions and First Act Youth Company, the Fredericton Symphony Orchestra, Halifax Summer Opera Festival, Maritime Concert Opera, Opera Atelier, Opera by Request, Opera York, OperOttawa, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, and the Toronto Chamber Choir.

As a passionate educator and arts advocate, Colin also has an active private piano/voice studio and is currently working as Communications Director for both Choral Canada and the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts.

Banner: Scott Leithead and Dominic Gregorio, PODIUM 2016. Photo: Friday Design and Photography