Concert Organizer

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Kimberly Barber, mezzo-soprano

Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber’s international operatic and concert career has taken her to the world’s major opera houses and orchestras (Paris Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Seattle Opera, ENO, London Symphony Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Chicago, Montréal and Toronto Symphonies, among many others). She has performed with virtually every Canadian opera company in repertoire ranging from the baroque (the title role in Xerxes for COC) to the contemporary (Sister Helen Préjean in the Canadian premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking for Calgary Opera; Asa in the world premiere of Aaron Gervais’ acclaimed Oksana G for Tapestry Opera). Her discography includes Ravel’s L’heure espagnole on Deutsche Grammophon under André Previn, as well as recordings for Naxos, CBC Records and Dutton Classics.

Kimberly Barber is a Professor of Voice at Wilfrid Laurier University, and since July 2017, Associate Dean, External in the Faculty of Music. A suicide survivor and passionate advocate for mental health and suicide prevention and awareness, Kimberly has been concert lead and performer in Laurier’s segment of the live streamed coast-to-coast Mysterious Barricades concerts since their inception in 2016.


Speakers & Performers

Kimberly Barber, mezzo-soprano

See biography above under “Concert Organizer”.

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Few Mara Duo
Guy Few (trumpet), Stephanie Mara (piano)

Guy and Stephanie are a force to be reckoned with.  Two artists with technique to burn and an artistic drive that is a joy to experience.  The duo is in demand for festivals in Canada and the USA including the Ottawa International Chamber Festival, the Elora Festival, Festival of the Sound and Quad City Arts.  They have toured for Prairie Debut in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Yukon, performed in Iqaluit for the celebrations of the visit of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and recorded their own Indie CD, Vocalise.  Guy and Stephanie are sessional lecturers at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. 

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Rene Meshake, pipigwewin

Rene Andre Meshake is an Ojibwe elder, visual and performing artist, award-winning author, storyteller, flute player, new media artist and a Recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. He works to fuse Ojibwe and English words into his stories, poetry and spoken word performances, Rene communicates his Ojibwe spiritual heritage to the contemporary world.

He was born in the railway town of Nakina in Northwestern Ontario and was raised by his Okomissan grandmother. His education includes: Anishinaabe oral tradition, language, arts and culture. Rene has a diploma in Graphic Design from Sheridan College and a certificate in Creative Writing from the Humber School for Writers.

Rene’s body of artwork, stories and his flute improvisations create a strong, expressive, and entertaining presentation for an ever-increasing audience. He also has an active on-line and performing presence as a Funky-Elder.

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Penderecki String Quartet
Jeremy Bell, Katie Schlaikjer, Jerzy Kaplanek, Christine Vlajk

The Penderecki String Quartet, approaching the third decade of an extraordinary career, has become one of the most celebrated chamber ensembles of their generation. These four musicians from Poland, Canada, and the USA bring their varied yet collective experience to create performances that demonstrate their “remarkable range of technical excellence and emotional sweep” (Toronto, Globe and Mail).

Their recent schedule has included concerts in New York (Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Los Angeles (REDCAT at Disney Hall), St. Petersburg, Paris, Prague, Berlin, Rome, Belgrade, Zagreb, Atlanta, as well as appearances at international festivals in Poland, Lithuania, Italy, Venezuela, Brazil, and China.

The PSQ champions music of our time, performing a wide range of repertoire from Haydn to Zappa as well as premiering over 100 new works to date. Described by Fanfare Magazine as “an ensemble of formidable power and keen musical sensitivity”, the PSQ’s diverse discography includes the chamber music of Brahms and Shostakovich (Eclectra and Marquis labels) and their recently released Bartok cycle. They enter their 20th year as Quartet-in-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

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Anna Ronai, piano

Anna Ronai has performed at major venues in Europe, North America and China, including the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York, Gläserner Saal, Musikverein, and Schubert Saal, Konzerthaus in Vienna.

Anna is a graduate of the Music University of the Arts Vienna, where she earned two Masters degrees, one in Piano Performance and the other in Collaborative Piano. She maintained vocal and instrumental coaching positions at the Vienna and Innsbruck Conservatories, and a faculty position for piano chamber music at the Institute for European Studies in Vienna. She has played for master-classes with esteemed artists including Brigitte Fassbaender, Christa Ludwig, Thomas Hampson and Linda Watson.

Anna has appeared and placed in several major Lied Duo competitions such as the Robert Schumann Duo Competition in Zwickau, Germany, the East & West Artists International Auditions in New York, and Schubert und die Moderne in Graz, Austria. 

In 2009 Anna moved to Canada, and took the position of vocal coach and accompanist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. She is an active performer at concerts and recitals across Ontario.

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Safe as Houses, band
Elliot Anton, Bensen Carter, Andrew Laughton, Thomas Laughton, Lauren Taylor

Armed with a collection of youth-driven anthems, this kinetic quintet has amassed a cult following, spiraling out from their hometown of Kitchener, ON, where Safe As Houses’ bandmates Elliot Anton (guitar, vocals) and Bensen Carter (cello, bass, vocals), along with brothers Andrew Laughton (guitar, vocals) and Thomas Laughton (drums, vocals), and Lauren Taylor (violin, vocals) laid the band's monumental foundation.


Gerard Yun, shakuhachi

Dr. Gerard Yun, conductor, composer, and global music improvisor, specializes in large group improvisations, cross­cultural and interfaith collaborations, and contemplative, sacred musics. He conducts choirs at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in music and meaning, community music, music and social justice, and global citizenship at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. He teaches and performs on the Japanese Zen Buddhist Shakuhachi (vertical, bamboo, meditation flute) in the World Music program at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Dr. Yun researches cross­cultural music ethics and community musics.



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Thank you to Wilfrid Laurier University for their continued support and encouragement. We are especially indebted to the Faculty of Music and the Office of the Dean of Students for their sponsorship of this concert.

We respectfully acknowledge that this concert is being held on the Haldimand Tract, traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosauonee peoples.