Artistic Director, Conductor |Intermediate & Senior Choirs
An experienced conductor, clinician and pedagogue, Maria Conkey is a graduate of Memorial University and the University of Alberta, where she studied choral conducting under the direction of Dr. Debra Cairns and Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff. She currently holds the position of Junior Choir Conductor at St. Michael's School in Toronto, ON. Prior to this appointment, Maria was the Director of the award-winning senior choirs at St. Bonaventure’s College in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Choral Director at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, the Artistic Director of the St. John’s Choir and the Founder and Artistic Director of Farfalla Vocal Ensemble. Maria has worked with internationally acclaimed conductors such as Maria Guinand, Jon Washburn and Fred Sjoberg. She has also worked with Shallaway - Newfoundland Youth in Chorus and several children’s, youth and adult choirs, including the Alberta Youth Choir and the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers.
Originally from the Maritimes, Brenda O'Connor is a graduate of Mount Allison University and the University of Western Ontario where she received the Don Wright and Dawson Woodburn Awards for excellence in music education. After receiving her Bachelor of Education degree, Brenda taught elementary school music at the largest independent school in London, Ontario, was director of the junior music program at Colborne Street United Church, and taught the Orff component of a Sistema-inspired after-school music program. Since moving to Toronto to pursue a masters degree at the University of Toronto, she has been working with Young Voices Toronto as an assistant conductor.
Brenda is passionate about providing opportunities for youth to experience choral music at a high level. She was awarded the inaugural New Brunswick Choral Federation Youth Achievement Award for her efforts to help establish a New Brunswick Youth Choir, and for her involvement on the New Brunswick Choral Federation Board of Directors and with the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors. As well as her work as a music educator and advocate, she is also an avid choral singer and a proud former member of many choirs, including the Canadian Chamber Choir, the National Youth Choir of Canada (2004 and 2006), the Nova Scotia Youth Choir (2004), and the Fredericton SchoolGirl Choir. Currently, Brenda sings with the Tallis Choir of Toronto.
Sheldon is a graduate of St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto and of the Faculty of Music (B.Mus. Theory and Composition) at the University of Toronto. He has extensive choral experience, serving as Director of Music and Organist for more than a decade at St. Clare's Church (Toronto), as Choirmaster for the Appleby College Chapel Choir (Oakville) and as piano accompanist to the Oakville Children's Choir for seven seasons. He has been accompanist to YVT since 2006.
Sheldon has also written many fine choral compositions, many of which have been performed by Young Voices Toronto, some of which have won national awards and some of which have been published by Alliance Music Publishing (Texas) and Rhythmic Trident Music Publishing (Vancouver). You can learn more about Sheldon and his musical work at