Concert Organizer


Jane Leibel, soprano

Soprano Jane Leibel has earned praise for her “crystalline, strong soprano” (Opera Canada) and “vibrant, sweet, fresh singing” (The Globe and Mail).

Her performing career has taken her to venues throughout Canada and internationally to cities such as Paris, Prague, Vienna and New York City. She has released 2 CD recordings:  Songs and Sonnets and Songs of the Bubble Ring: The Music of John Greer and Clifford Crawley (with the composer, John Greer, as pianist). She has been a prizewinner in the Friedrich Schorr competition, a semi-finalist in the Belvedere International Competition and the winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Competition for the performance of twentieth-century music.

Jane holds a Masters Degree in performance from North Texas State University, a Diploma in Opera Performance from the University of Toronto  and a Doctorate from the University of Michigan.  She has been a faculty member at Memorial University’s School of Music since 1999 where she teaches voice and vocal pedagogy.

It is an honour for Jane to serve as the concert lead in St John’s and bring together speakers and artists who celebrate life and hope, and believe that music is a healing, and connective force that unites and transforms.


Concert Host

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Ian Sutherland, Dean of the School of Music at Memorial University

Born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Dr. Ian Sutherland is Dean of the School of Music at Memorial University. Internationally he has developed a dynamic career as an academic leader, educator, researcher, and consultant.

Prior to his Memorial University return he served as Associate Dean for Research and Director of PhD Studies at IEDC–Bled School of Management (Slovenia) and Research Fellow of the Centre for Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter (UK). Other appointments include: Adjunct Professor of Leadership at the Warsaw University of Technology Business School (Poland), Fellow of the Peter Pribilla Stiftung – Technische Universität München (Germany), Co-Convener of the Deans, Directors and Chairs Affinity Group of the International Leadership Association (USA).

A leading expert in the art and business nexus, Ian was originally trained as a professional musician. Holding B.Mus. (Hons) and M. Mus. Degrees from the School of Music of Memorial University (Canada), he completed his PhD in Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Exeter (UK) under Prof. Tia DeNora. Today he brings these backgrounds together combining expertise in sociology, philosophy, creativity, music and leadership studies. A globally active speaker, facilitator and organizational development practitioner he has worked across numerous industries in more than 40 countries.


Speakers & Performers

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Jennifer Beynon-martinec

Jennifer Beynon-martinec

Atlantic Girls Choir, choir
Conductor: Jennifer Beynon-Martinec

The Atlantic Girls Choir is an Internationally recognized choir based in the province of Newfoundland, Canada. In May 2019, the Atlantic Girls Choir received a Gold standing and the overall highest mark in the children's choir category at the Festival of Songs in Olomouc, Czech Republic. As one of the five overall highest marks in the entire festival the Atlantic Girls Choir was honoured to receive an invitation to perform in the final concert featuring choirs in the winner's circle.

Consisting of thirty strong young women between twelve and nineteen, the Atlantic Girls Choir’s senior ensemble has a mandate to bring the experience of world class collaborative experiences, musical excellence and friendship to all parts of the province: thus, creating a wider community of girls who sing together and build each other up! The Atlantic Girls Choir strives to bring the joy of singing and the heart of Newfoundland culture - song -to the world! We believe HER voice is our future!

Jennifer Beynon-Martinec, Artistic Director strives to provide life changing opportunities to girls in the province of Newfoundland. She is committed to excellence in vocal production, providing opportunity for musical growth and encouraging leadership skills. 


With Melissa Cooper, Assistant Artistic Director and a cross-provincial team of excellent music educators: Wendy Woodland and Linda Carr (Corner Brook), Esther Oostherban (Stephenville), and Annabeth Loveys (St. John’s); the AGC, provincially, fosters community and the joy of singing. As an organization, we hope to inspire strength, resilience, and intelligence whilst working towards the common goal of creating beautiful music. We aim to encourage a lasting community of young women who strive to be the voice our future.

The 2019 – 2020 Season for the Atlantic Girls Choir will entail a concert tour across the island of Newfoundland and the recording of a new CD.

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Alex Burdock, violin

Alex Burdock is an active violist in the St. John’s music community. Originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, he was previously enrolled at Memorial University's Bachelor of Music program majoring in performance. Alex has also been involved with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra since 2014 as part of a student performance program between the orchestra and Memorial University. Also, Alex participated in Memorial’s Prestige Instrument Competition back in September 2017 and was awarded the ‘Tadioli’, an instrument graciously donated to the university from the estate of Rita Love. Most recently, Alex has performed in Opera on the Avalon’s productions of the Sound of Music, under the direction of Judith Yan, and Into the Woods, under the direction of Jeffrey Huard earlier this 2017-2018 season.


Tina Davies, speaker

Tina Davies is the founder and President of Richards’s Legacy Foundation, an organization formed to assist those who have lost loved ones to suicide and also for those having thoughts of suicide. She started and has facilitated a survivors of suicide loss support group for the past 15 years in St. John’s, Newfoundland. An ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and SafeTalk trainer for the past 9 years, she travels all over the province teaching workshops for suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. She does presentations and speaking engagements throughout the country and offers counselling for families and individuals grieving a suicide loss. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, she and her husband Kim moved to Newfoundland in the year 2000 for his work. They had lost their oldest son, Richard to suicide in December of 1995.

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Les Ms., choir
Conductor: Valerie Long

Based in St. John’s, NL, Les Ms. are celebrating twenty years together! This women’s choir is recognized for their high quality music and unique performance style. Delivering diversified repertoire that spans from sacred music and spirituals to traditional, pop and vocal jazz, Les Ms. performances are known for their high-energy presentation, and engaging audience connection.They are directed and accompanied by Dr. Valerie Long.

As a non profit organization, Les Ms. takes great pride in collaborating with other choral ensembles, particularly for events benefitting the community. An annual concert, Les Ms. & Friends Sing for Care, was created to support the H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation. This event provides a unique opportunity to highlight and celebrate other ensembles, while sharing in the spirit of collaboration and good will. Les Ms. & Friends Sing for Care has donated over $150,000 to the local cancer centre.

Recently acknowledged for their excellence in musicality and performance, Les Ms. performed in Magnificat for Women's Voices in Carnegie Hall in celebration of International Women’s Day in March, 2019. Les Ms. are honoured to participate in Mysterious Barricades 2019, as they connect with others across the country, in solidarity, through choral music.

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Kelly Neville, speaker

Kelly has been an advanced practice nurse since 2002 after completing her Masters in nursing focusing on Individual Counselling using Brief Solution Focused Therapy. She has worked in psychiatry and mental health since 1991 and has had extensive experience in both Acute Psychiatry and Intensive Outpatient Mental Health Programming while conducting both group oand individual therapy. And Kelly has been a certified psychiatric and mental health nurse since 1994 through the American Nurses Association. Kelly has worked with individuals who have experienced anxiety and depression, personality disorders, thought disorders, substance, gambling and sexual abuse and eating disorders.

In the past, Kelly has taught at Memorial’s School of Mursing instructing in the clinical area of mental health and teaching “therapeutic communication techniques”. Kelly currently supervises students who coordinate wellness education and outreach events, mental health screenings and mental health first aid. Kelly provides supervision to nursing, MUCEP, SWASP, HKR and Counselling Psychology graduates and volunteer students. Kelly uses a case management model focused on problem and solution focused interventions when meeting with students with Health and Wellness concers and for students who are on the Pervasive Development and Autism Spectrum.


Kelly maintained a private practice from 2002-2012 counselling individuals who had difficulty with stressful situations, who needed to learn and refine skills to change behavioural, emotional and thinking patterns associated with problems that cause misery and distress, self-esteem enhancement, assertiveness and communication training (including setting limits and boundaries), and wellness/health promotion and prevention (including personal problem solving, and goal setting).

Research includes MCHA comprehensive health survey for university students, evalutation of an online alcohol treatment program for university students and the healthy minds study with university students. Kelly’s current role as case manager for students is intricate in the inter-professional treatment team involving residents, faculty, physicians and nursing and is a collaborative leader with student support and crisis management, internationalization office, resident and the Blundon Centre.

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Sheilagh O’Leary, speaker

St. John’s native, Sheilagh O’Leary is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker and art educator.  As a small business owner, Sheilagh is experienced in the areas of visual media including film, video and stills production, radio broadcasting, education, and not-for profit organizations specializing in areas of diversity and inclusion. She has run a successful business for over 25 years. Her work has been exhibited and collected internationally, appearing in numerous art journals and publications. She published two books including NL Book award winner “Island Maid: Voices of Outport Women”, which documents rural women’s lives pre-fishing moratorium.

In her many years of advocacy, Sheilagh O’Leary has been a strong, passionate voice in supporting positive change in our communities. She has been an energetic volunteer for over three decades, a nature enthusiast and a mother of three. As a member of the Qalipu M’ikmaq First Nations Band, issues of cultural diversity and respect are  paramount in Sheilagh’s work. She has been active on numerous boards, including North East Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program, The Irish Newfoundland Association of NL, The Canadian Mental Health Association of NL, Clean & Beautiful, The St. John’s Native Friendship Centre, and is a former Chair of Equal Voice NL.


With a bucket list wish to swim the five kilometres from Portugal Cove to Bell Island colloquially know as the Tickle, Sheilagh conceived and established the ‘Tickle Swim for Mental Health’, a fundraising, awareness campaign for The Canadian Mental Health Association NL, now in its sixth year. Sheilagh is the City's lead for Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, and sits as co-liasion to the Environmental Advisory Committee, council representative on teh Pippy Park Commission and on the Downtown Advisory Committee.

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Noelle Slaney, soprano

Noelle Slaney combines the edgy honesty of her favourite punk bands with the “lovely rich tone” of her coloratura soprano voice to tell a story in every performance. Born and raised in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, she is an active, award winning performer of opera and concert repertoire. Her recent highlights include Monica in The Medium (MUN Opera Workshop), Cunegonde in Scenes from Candide (Memorial University Wind Ensemble), La Pastourelle and Un Chauve-souris in L’enfant et les Sortileges (Atelier d’Opera de l’Université de Montréal), and First Witch in Dido and Aeneas (Atelier d’Opera de l’Université de Montréal). In 2018, she was one of eight finalists in the Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition as well as the second place winner in the vocal category of the Federation of Music Festivals’ National Competition in 2016. Noelle holds an undergraduate and a graduate degree in vocal performance from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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St. John’s Gay Men’s Chorus
Director: Yohei Sakai

St. John's Gay Men's Chorus is a non-auditioned community choir for men and allies of the LGBTQ community. Based in the beautiful city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, the choir aims to create a safe social space, where people of diverse background can sing and make music together.
The chorus was founded by the current artistic director, Yohei Sakai, in April 2017. Its very first performance on December 7th 2017 was a joint concert with the Newfoundland-own soprano, Noelle Slaney. In May 2018, the chorus had its first appearance in the Unison Festival, the quadrennial Canadian queer choral festival. Learn More

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Kristina Szutor, piano

Praised by the American Record Guide for the "brilliance and meticulous sensitivity" of her playing, pianist Kristina Szutor is both an accomplished solo artist as well as a sought-after collaborative pianist.

Her performing career has taken her to venues throughout Canada and internationally to cities such as Barcelona and Rio De Janeiro while her list of solo piano recordings includes Bookends in Time and Après Scarlatti. Collaborative recordings include Songs and Sonnets with soprano Jane Leibel and Voyage to Canada with soprano Caroline Schiller.

Kristina holds a Masters Degree in performance from the Juilliard School of Music and a Doctorate from the University of British Columbia and she has been a faculty member at Memorial University’s School of Music since 1991. Kristina is honored to be participating in this concert which helps raise awareness of an issue that impacts the lives of so many.


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Thank you to Memorial University for their continued support and encouragement.

We respectfully acknowledge that the territory on which we gather for this concert, as the ancestral home-lands of the Beothuk and the island of Newfoundland as the ancestral homelands of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk. We would also like to recognize the Inuit of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut and the Innu of Nitassinan, and their ancestors, as the original people of Labrador.