OCC Team and Board of Directors
Listed here are the members of the Oakville Children's Choir's outstanding artistic personnel as well as its dedicated administrative staff and Board of Directors.
Sarah Morrison...Artistic DirectorMs. Morrison is in her seventh season as the Artistic Director of the Oakville Children’s Choir. She is also the Director of Choral Music at Appleby College in Oakville where she has taught vocal music for over 10 years. Her choirs have been recorded by CBC radio and have won awards at both the national and international level. Ms. Morrison maintains an active career as a choral conductor, voice teacher, clinician and soprano. She is the 2010 winner of the Leslie Bell Award for Choral Conducting awarded by Choirs Ontario and the Ontario Arts Council. Ms. Morrison was delighted to make her Carnegie Hall conducting debut in April 2013 with her Cantus Chamber Choir as part of the Carnegie Hall National Choral Festival. In 2012, Ms. Morrison was honoured to be a Conducting Associate at the Transient Glory Symposium working with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and Francisco Nunez. She was the guest conductor of the 2010 Nova Scotia Choral Federation Junior Choir Camp and adjudicated for the 2012 NSYC Composition Competition. Ms. Morrison has sung soprano with the Canadian Chamber Choir, a national professional choral ensemble, for the past decade and can be heard on their debut CD, “In Good Company.” Prior to her work with the OCC, she was involved as a vocal coach and conductor with the VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto for six years. Ms. Morrison is a frequent presenter of research papers and workshops on creative choral techniques at national and international conferences including the Ontario Music Educators Association conference, Festival 500, the Canadian Arts and Learning Symposium, the American Choral Directors Association National Convention, the International Society of Music Education conferences and the Kabalevsky conference held in Moscow, Russia. Ms. Morrison's music education articles have been published in several national journals and conference proceedings such as the Canadian Music Educator Journal, Sharing the Voices: The Phenomenon of Singing V, and Anacrusis. Ms. Morrison writes a regular Youth Choir column in the ACCC Anacrusis publication and is the President-Elect of Choirs Ontario.
Ms. Morrison holds an Honours Bachelor of Music in Voice from Western University, a Bachelor of Education and Master's degree in Music Education from the University of Toronto where she is currently a PhD candidate in Education, and is an associate in vocal performance of the Conservatory Canada. She has studied choral conducting and Kodaly pedagogy at the Westminster Conducting Institute in Princeton; opera and vocal performance at the Academie Internationale de Nice, France and the Canford School of Music, England.
David Anderson holds an Honours Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Western Ontario, where he appeared in productions of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow (Pritchitch) and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (Betto). David spent the summer of 2008 in Baden Bei Wien, Austria where he studied poetry and performance of the German Lied at the Franz Schubert Institute . He sings bass and sits on the board of directors with the Exultate Chamber Singers , and is the Assistant Conductor and bass section lead with the Mississauga Festival Choir .
David maintains a private voice studio of aspiring singers, and is a co-creator of The Acoustic Opera: Canada’s Most Positive Bullying Prevention Program.
Kate Gurnham holds a Bachelor of Music Education (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 began singing with the Oakville Children’s Choir at age 8, and has since sung with numerous choral ensembles both nationally and internationally. Once she completed her teaching degree, Kate taught full-time JK- Grade 8 Music for 3 years in Mississauga. Currently, she conducts 3 training choirs in the Oakville Children’s Choir, and sings professionally with the Grammy-nominated Elora Festival 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. Outside of choral music, Kate enjoys playing guitar and singing in an Old-Time band, the Wingback Stringband.
Jennifer Johnston holds an Honours Bachelor of Music in Jazz Voice Performance from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education from Trent University. She is an elementary music teacher at St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School in Oakville where she directs a junior choir, senior choir, and an auditioned jazz choir. Most recently, Jennifer conducted Oasis Vocal Jazz, Toronto’s longest running close harmony ensemble. She currently sings soprano and sits on the board of directors with the Exultate Chamber Singers, and sings as a section lead in the Mississauga Festival Choir.
Charlene Pauls...Conductor and Vocal Coach
Soprano Dr. Charlene Pauls has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras across Canada as well as on international stages in Germany, England, France and Spain. She has sung with many of the country’s leading ensembles, including the Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Symphony, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and at festivals such as the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and the Winnipeg New Music Festival.
Her career in music has also expanded into choral conducting. Over the previous two years she has led the choir at Tyndale University in Toronto, currently serves as Music Director at a church in Oakville, and this season is co-conducting the OCC chamber choir. As a clinician she has been invited to the Medicine Hat Conservatory to work with singers, and will adjudicate upcoming Vocal and Choral classes at the Woodstock Rotary Festival in Woodstock, Ontario in April 2014.
Vancouver-born Dr. Pauls completed undergraduate degrees in piano and vocal performance while studying in Winnipeg, a Master’s in Voice from McGill University, and in 2013, a doctorate from the University of Toronto where she undertook extensive work in Vocal Pedagogy and a dissertation on Bach’s Cantata BWV 210.
Cheryl Duvall is a multi-faceted musician and pianist. She is active as a soloist, collaborative pianist, teacher and adjudicator and has toured and performed throughout Canada, Italy, England, Argentina, the Netherlands and the U.S. She is especially passionate about contemporary music, which has led her along with friend and violinish Ilana Waniuk, to co-found the Thin Edge New Music Collective. Thin Edge completed a Canadian tour and has been the guest artists in residence at the SoundSCAPE Festival of New Music in Maccangno, Italy in 2013. Ms. Duvall is the pianist for the internationally renowned Oakville Children's Choir and Bell'Arte Singers. Cheryl has attended the Casalmaggiore Music Festival in Italy, the Palazzo Ricci masterclass series, the Toronto Summer Music Festival, the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and held two artistic residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts. In 2009, she was awarded a SSHRC grant for her pedagogical research on how to incorporate aspects of the Alexander Technique into lessons with beginner piano students. Besides performing, she maintains a full private piano studio and adjudicates piano competitions across Ontario. Ms. Duvall completed and 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.
Rebecca Leung completed a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Tanya Sarkissova at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, graduating with Merit standing. She holds an ARCT Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Professional Writing, and in two years earned her Bachelor of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University where she entered on scholarship and graduated with honours.
A recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, Ms. Leung 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 (Royal Academy), Hammerson Hall, the Toronto Chinese Cultural Centre, Elora Festival, Orford Arts Festival, NUMUS, among others. Ms. Leung also maintains an active teaching studio, with students earning distinctive achievements in their examinations and various festivals.
Jackie Hawken...Executive Director
Jackie is a human resources 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.
Katherine Hamilton...Administrative Assistant
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 social media 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, influencing thousands of people.
Assisting with Little Notes Prep Choir:
- Robert O'Halloran, Young Leader
Assisting with Cherub Choir:
- Emma Tingling, Young Leader
- Mitchell Watt, Young Leader
Assisting with Intermediate Choir:
- Emily Dotzlaw, Young Leader
- Laurie Johnson, Young Leader
- Blair Somerville, Young Leader
Assisting with Boys and Young Men's Choir:
- Mitchell Watt, Young Leader
- Xin-Xin Wang, Young Leader
Assisting with Senior Theory Program:
- Aleeza Ladhani, Young Leader
Senior Choir Executive:
- Blair Somerville, Head Chorister
Assisting with Senior Choir:
- Monet Slinowsky, Head Soprano
- Aleeza Ladhani, Head Alto
Board of Directors:
- Mr. Mark Stephenson, Chair
- Grace Attard, Vice Chair
- Ms. Sarah Morrison, Music Director
- Gulzar Ladhani
- Douglas Long
- Jacqueline Kalina