Concert Organizer


Jane Leibel

Soprano Jane Leibel has earned praise for her “crystalline, strong soprano” (Opera Canada) “vibrant, sweet, fresh singing” (The Globe and Mail) and for her acting abilities: “It remained for Jane Leibel, as Diana, the outraged goddess, to steal the show with her finely tuned comic sense.” (Opera Quarterly)


Performers & Speakers

Maria Cherwick.jpg

Maria Cherwick

Maria Cherwick is a passionate young musician with interests in many genres of music. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University, and a Master of Music from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Throughout her studies, she has premiered countless contemporary composition, performed as a soloist with the Brandon University orchestra, and taught a number of academic courses. Maria currently enjoys her work as a Teaching Artist with Strong Harbour Strings. Maria is an accomplished fiddler, and has performed from Victoria to St. John’s, as well as throughout Ukraine as a folk musician. She has played with a number of ensembles, in styles ranging from Celtic, to Old Time, to Eastern European thrash polka. In addition, she also studies, performs, and has a passion for improvisation and jazz. Maria can be seen frequently performing fiddle music in and around St. John’s. She also gigs with many groups, including her Ukrainian band  The Kubasonics, Flower Hill, and the Forgotten Bouzouki. She has also explored her passion for orchestral music while touring and holding leadership positions in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and Brandon University Orchestra. Currently, she is a member of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and the MUN Chamber Orchestra. Maria lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she plans to continue performing and blending the styles of fiddle, jazz, classical and world music.

Tina Davies.JPG

Tina Davies, speaker
Richard's Legacy Foundation for Survivors of Suicide Loss

Tina Davies is the President and founder of Richard's Legacy Foundation for Survivors of Suicide Loss. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, she moved to St. John's, Newfoundland with her husband Kim in the year 2000. Having lost their eldest son, Richard to suicide at the age of 18, she decided to start a support group for survivors of a suicide loss. That was 12 years ago. Tina is also Vice President of ASIST NL ( Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and teaches workshops for suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. She speaks about suicide across the province and is on the Steering Committee for the Community Coalition for Mental Health NL. Tina recently opened a place called The Comfort House, where support group meetings, workshops, and other events are held. It is a place where people can go if they are not feeling safe with themselves, or just drop in for a chat or a session in the Healing Room.

Stephen Eckert Headshot.jpg

Stephen Eckert, piano

Stephen Eckert is a young pianist completing his final year of his Bachelor’s in Piano Performance and Composition at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Mr. Eckert began piano lessons at the age of five and has developed a love of performing and teaching.
Mr. Eckert has participated in music festivals such as the 2016 Orford Music Festival, the 2017 Atlantic Music Festival, the 2018 Seattle Piano Institute as well as the 2018 Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival Young Artist Program, exposing him to some of today’s most prominent pedagogues. Stephen’s past teachers include Janice Gaultois and Gary Graham, and currently studies under the guidance of Dr. Kristina Szutor.

Stephen is very active in the musical community of Newfoundland and has appeared locally in solo and group recitals, as a collaborative pianist, and as a pianist and chorister for local church choirs and MUN choirs. Stephen recently appeared in the 2018 Newfound Music Festival as a lecturer and performer, and was featured in the 2018 Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival’s series of Tuckamore Talks. Mr. Eckert’s most recent recital appearance occurred this past summer in the 2018 Gros Morne Summer Music Festival where he presented two recitals near his hometown. Stephen has been awarded the Procunier Family Scholarship and the Dorothy and David Peters Scholarship for his performance and academic accomplishments.

Dan Goodyear.png

Dan Goodyear, speaker
Chief Executive Officer
Newfoundland & Labrador Division
Canadian Mental Health Association

Dan Goodyear has worked in the education field for over 35 years. Dan’s early experience was in the public school system where he was employed as a classroom teacher, instructional resource teacher and a program coordinator at the school district level.

After working in the K-12 public school system Dan moved to post-secondary education, joining College of the North Atlantic, Newfoundland and Labrador’s public College. While Dan served in various positions at the College, he spent most of his time in Learner Services.

Dan accepted the position of Director of Student Support Services with the Department of Education, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2008.  He led the implementation of the “Focusing on Students: The ISSP and Pathways Commission Report” which focused on improving services for students with exceptionalities.

In 2016 Dan joined the Canadian Mental Health Association-Newfoundland and Labrador Division as the Chief Executive Officer. Dan is a strong advocate for inclusive education and supportive environments where all can reach their full potential. Through collaboration, cooperation, creativity and thinking outside the box, Dan believes that together we can better support all of our citizens to achieve and enjoy full citizenship.

Heather Kao.jpg

Heather Kao, violin

From St. John’s, Heather Kao is the concertmaster of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and first violinist of the Atlantic String Quartet since 2015. She studied at Memorial University with Dr. Nancy Dahn. She has played in masterclasses for Martin Beaver, Lorand Fenyves, Mark Fewer and Pinchas Zukerman to name a few. She is a past member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Quintessential Vocal Ensemble, and Lady Cove Women’s Choir. Heather has been a guest performer on countless recordings, as well as on TV and radio. She has enjoyed performing in many genres, from pop music with Rod Stewart and Hey Rosetta! to traditional music with Ennis and the Once. She has played in pit orchestras for many local productions, including White Christmas, Our Divas Do Broadway, West Side Story, Evita, and Annie. In addition to the NSO, Heather teaches with the MUN Chamber Program for Youth, Suzuki Talent Education Program, and in her private studio.

Lady Cove.jpg

Lady Cove Women’s Choir

Founded in 2003 by Kellie Walsh, Lady Cove Women’s Choir was named after the community of Lady Cove on Newfoundland’s rugged yet beautiful east coast. The name Lady Cove is representative of the spirit and philosophy of the choir: a community of women – a haven where members come, not only to explore their own musicianship, but to share their lives and experiences in a sisterhood. The choir’s mission is to reveal the strength, versatility and beauty of women’s choral music and to provide talented and dedicated women musicians with exceptional musical and interpersonal experiences.

Over the past fifteen years, Lady Cove has garnered a national and international reputation not only for its high level of performance but also for its innovation and creativity. Twice the winner of the CBC National Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs, Lady Cove has also represented Canada on the international stage – winning first place in the Female Choir category at the European Grand Prix Béla Bartók International Choir Competition in Hungary (2008) and as featured performers at the 9th World Symposium on Choral Music in Argentina (2011). Lady Cove represented Canada in Latvia at Interkultur’s World Choir Games, winning two gold medals and a 3rd place ranking in the Women’s Choir category (2014). Most recently, in May 2016, Lady Cove was invited to represent Newfoundland & Labrador at PODIUM, Choral Canada’s national conference in Edmonton, Alberta.

Performing regularly to sold-out audiences, Lady Cove has been recorded numerous times for national radio programming, worked closely with some of Canada’s most distinguished composers, and released two recordings Lady Cove (2006) and Heart’s Delight (2012), which were respectively nominated and awarded MusicNL’s Classical Album of the Year.

Lady Cove strives for excellence beyond singing and eagerly seeks opportunities to engage with the community. The choir has a strong commissioning mandate, steeped in the culture of its home province, and maintains an active bursary program to support young musicians. In winter 2016, Lady Cove travelled to Labrador to work and sing with children from isolated northern communities, providing choral workshops and private music instruction.

St Johns Gay Mens Chorus.jpg

St John's Gay Men's Chorus

St. John's Gay Men's Chorus is a non-auditioned community choir for LGBTQ men and allies. 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 launched in April 2017 by the founder/director, Yohei Sakai. In May 2018, they performed at Unison Festival 2018, the quadrennial national LGBTQ choral festival which was held in Calgary.  StJohn'sGayMen'

Sheilagh business photo.jpeg

Sheilagh O’Leary, photographer, filmmaker and art educator

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.

Quintessential Voice.jpg

Quintessential Vocal Ensemble, Susan Quinn, Conductor

Celebrating 25 years among Canada's most accomplished amateur choirs, the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble (QVE) brings together more than 60 singers from the thriving musical city of St. John's, capital of the Atlantic Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Its members encompass a range of experienced singers, instrumentalists, teachers, students, and other professions and diverse backgrounds, sharing a love for eclectic and engaging repertoire and an exceptional standard of performance. QVE is known especially for its a cappella singing and in recent years has also taken on major classical works and collaborated in large-scale productions for symphony and stage. The group is organized into two ensembles: “Ventus” (for adults age 18 and over) and “Aquae” (for young adults age 18 to 23), named for the wind and waters that shape its island home of Newfoundland.

QVE has received multiple awards in national and international competitions, is actively engaged in education and outreach through school workshops and touring in smaller communities around the province, and promotes the province’s culture through touring abroad and commissioning new work by Newfoundland and Labrador composers.

Susan Quinn is from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, where she is the Artistic Director of the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble (QVE) and Choral Director at St. Bonaventure’s College, and recently retired after nearly 30 years of leading the award-winning choirs at Holy Heart of Mary High School.  Susan received her early musical education from the Sisters of Mercy, and has degrees in Music and Music Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland, with a major in violin, and a Master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Maine.  She is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Arts in Education Award. Her choirs have received numerous national awards and honours at international competitions in Austria, Wales, Ireland, and France, and recorded six CDs.  She is in demand across Canada as an adjudicator, guest conductor, clinician and expert in choral intonation.


Bill Brennan, collaborative pianist
Quintessential Vocal Ensemble

Bill Brennan is Assistant Professor of Instrumental Conducting at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His expertise as a pianist, percussionist, composer and producer can be heard on some 100 albums to date. His album “Solo Piano 2” won the MusicNL Instrumental album of the year in 2008. His album of 2006 Solo Piano received nominations for MusicNL and ECMA “Instrumental Album of the Year”.

Brennan has recorded with the Heillig Manouevre, Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan and Vuja De. He appears on CDs by Juno-nominated Teresa Doyle, ambient-pop-rocker Andy Stochansky, guitarist Kevin Breit, torch folksinger Andrea Koziol and by fellow Newfoundlanders Sandy Morris and Patrick Boyle. He has backed up such greats as Cab Calloway, Placido Domingo and Dizzy Gillespie.

Always in demand as a folk and jazz pianist, Brennan performs regularly with his own projects. He has performed across North America and around the world: Indonesia, Austria, Germany, France, Japan, Norway, the Czech Republic, England, Scotland, Portugal and Switzerland.

Over the past three decades, Brennan has been involved with some of the best-known organizations in Canadian culture. He has performed with the National Ballet and the Canadian Opera Company. He was musical director of CBC’s beloved Vinyl Café (hosted by Stuart MacLean), and a documentary composer for David Suzuki’s The Nature of Things.

More than 30 years of relentless experience have garnered Brennan a solid reputation as a player, composer and arranger of contemporary classical, jazz, folk and world music — always exploring, always open to new ideas, Brennan’s talents resist classification. Geoff Chapman of the Toronto Star says: “Brennan … is a central figure in this country’s music.”

Brennan was named the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Artist of the Year for 2006. He directs the Memorial University Wind Ensemble and Gamelan Sagara Asih (the Memorial University Gamelan Ensemble).


Shallaway Youth Choir

Widely recognized as being one of the world's finest youth choirs, Shallaway Youth Choir was founded in 1992 and is a multi-award winning cultural agency that expresses itself through choral music. Its mandate is to foster the development of outstanding independent choral musicianship; to celebrate cultural diversity and connection within Canada and around the globe; to promote, preserve and transmit the rich folk culture of Newfoundland and Labrador; and to develop its young people as leaders and active members of their community.

Most recently, the Camerata, the senior ensemble, received a first and second place win in the prestigious Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod. At that same festival, the choir received the highest mark overall for all of the children and youth choirs, winning the 2015 Children's Choir of the World award. Camerata has also been recognized with the third place overall in the Youth Choir Category and highest marks in the Treble Youth Choir Category (Bela Bartok International Choral Competition 2012); Canadian choral representative at the 2010 International Society for Music Education Conference (Beijing) and presentation on the Americas Stage of the World Expo (Shanghai); presentation of Ann & Séamus Opera at the 8th World Choral Symposium, Copenhagen Opera House (Denmark 2008); first place in the Youth Choir and first Grand Prix runner-up (Tolosa International Choral Competition 2005).

We aim to enrich the cultural and musical education of the children of Newfoundland and Labrador. We aspire to not only train wonderful choral singers but also strive to help children explore their leadership potential in a supportive and caring environment. Shallaway Youth Choir is also committed to the ongoing preservation and growth of the culture of our Province and we feel one of the most powerful ways to do this is through the choir experience.

Shallaway is a family where we encourage our choristers to be who they are in a safe and supportive environment. We work with each chorister to ensure that their experience is one of learning, growth and development.

Leslee Heys.jpg

Leslee Heys, collaborative pianist
Shallaway Youth Choir

Now in her fourteenth year of collaboration with Shallaway Youth Choir, Leslee Heys is more committed than ever to the moral ideals and artistic goals of this ensemble.

Leslee also enjoys many other aspects of music-making in the community: she plays for the award-winning women’s choir Lady Cove, has a dynamic private piano studio, is a sought-after accompanist and adjudicator, and composes in her free time. Her choral settings, particularly of Newfoundland and Labrador songs, have gained national recognition, and are introducing Canadian choirs to the richness of our provincial musical heritage.

Leslee’s skills as coach/ accompanist have led to international performances in more than a dozen countries, as well as participation in Canadian events such as Festival 500, Opera on the Avalon, the National Music Festival, and the rESOund Festival of Contemporary Music. Leslee holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music Performance from the University of Western Ontario, and an Associateship from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (Performance).


Kate Reed

In 2013, after almost 10 years, Kate Read returned to Newfoundland and rejoined the Atlantic String Quartet and Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra as principal violist, where she had already played for 3 seasons between 2001 and 2004.  In 2004 Kate won a position with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London, England where she was a member of the viola section for 6 years. Kate also regularly played with the renowned Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra of London. As a member of the Elgin String Trio, with fellow BBC colleagues, Kate never strayed far away from opportunities to play chamber music. In 2011 the draw of chamber music combined with astonishing nature led Kate to the north of Norway to play with chamber group MiNensemblet, with whom Kate performed all over Norway and internationally. Kate has been recorded by CBC for Two New Hours and Musicraft and made numerous recordings with orchestras in the UK for the BBC as well as for top record labels. Kate is also the violist of Dark by Five, resident ensemble at Gros Morne Summer Music.


Inclsion Choir.jpg

Stella’s Circle Inclusion Choir

Stella’s Circle has a mission to transform lives with Real Homes, Real Help and Real Work. Housing, counselling and employment programs are provided for people who face many barriers to successful inclusion in the community. Building community is an important part of that work. The Stella’s Circle Inclusion Choir is a joyful place of acceptance where people sing simply for the joy of singing. Currently in its eleventh season, the Choir is comprised of Stella’s Circle participants, staff, and volunteers. The choir has taken the stage for more than 100 performances, thriving under the dedicated direction of volunteer Helen Murphy. The non-audition choir increases social connections for the members and for some, it is a step towards engaging in other community activities. Singing as a group and sharing messages of social justice is empowering for the 35 plus members. 


Andrea Stowe, collaborative pianist
Stella's Circle Inclusion Choir

Andrea is a graduate of Memorial University's Bachelor of Music Performance Program, where she studied piano with Dr. Kristina Szutor. During her time as an undergraduate student, she was actively involved as an accompanist, as a pianist with Memorial's Jazz Ensemble, and as a member of the Chamber Choir and Chamber Orchestra.

Since completing her performance degree, she has been fortunate to have the opportunity to accompany for music students and choral groups, and to work with students in her private studio.

As a recipient of an entrance scholarship to Memorial's Bachelor of Music Program, and a recipient of a scholarship to the Chautauqua Summer Music Program in New York. She feels most fortunate to have had the mentorship of music educator Jane Steele,  Jill Dawe and Dr. Kristina Szutor, and for the richly rewarding musical experiences in her role as both an accompanist and in her private studio.

Ian Sutherland.png

Ian Sutherland
Dean, School of Music, 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.

Theo Weber.jpg

Theo Weber

Theo Weber has been the principal cellist for the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra for the past twenty years now. Originally from Michigan, Theo received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where his teachers included Samuel Mayes, longtime principal cellist of the Philadelphia and Boston Symphony Orchestras. He then went on to earn his Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Allan Harris. In addition to sitting principal in the symphony, Theo is also a member of the Atlantic String Quartet as well as Sinfonia, the NSO’s subsidiary chamber orchestra. Theo is a versatile musician, comfortable with a wide variety of musical styles from classical to pop, folk and jazz and in demand as an engaging performer as well as a recording artist. He has collaborated with classical luminaries such as Anton Kuerti, Angela Cheng, Rivka Golani, Andre La Plante, Colin Carr, and Shauna Rolston. Outside of the classical field he has performed and recorded with many well-known popular artists and groups such as Ron Hynes, Duane Andrews, The Pathological Lovers and Rasa, in venues ranging from Ottawa, St. Pierre and Miquelon to Rio de Janeiro where he was twice invited to sit principal in the Orchestre Sinfonica do Brasil and to participate in the Rio International Cello Encounter. In June 2014 the Atlantic String Trio was invited to participate in the Saint Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar in Stanford California. 



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.

Concert Poster
Available Here

Concert Program
Available Here