MARIA CONKEY is emerging as an inspiring and innovative conductor, clinician and pedagogue in Canada’s choral scene. She is currently the Artistic Director of Young Voices Toronto. In addition to her work with YVT, she is also the Junior Choir Conductor at St. Michael’s Choir School. Ms. 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 has worked with internationally acclaimed conductors such as Maria Guinand, Jon Washburn and Fred Sjoberg. Past engagements include the Conductor of the award-winning senior choirs at St. Bonaventure’s College and the Choral Director at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s, Newfoundland. 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.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, ELIZABETH CATTELL graduated from Mount Allison University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and has taught in New Brunswick, Montreal and Toronto. She retired in 2017, after a 32-year teaching career at the elementary and junior levels with the Toronto District School Board. Elizabeth has taught a variety of subjects with a focus in music, dance, special education, and French. Elizabeth has always aimed to share her love of choral music, dance and the arts through teaching. She built and developed the choral music program at Rosethorn Junior School, with choirs for Primary and Junior students, and later included specialized choirs for grade one students as well as a boys’ choir. These choirs competed at The Kiwanis Music Festival with high levels of success, winning scholarships, best of class, gold and platinum recognition and provincial qualifier. Community endeavours are also an integral part of Elizabeth’s music philosophy. While working at the Toronto District School Board, she collaborated with a local community choir, and created an annual school-wide production featuring all students and choirs in the school. Recognizing that not all students want to express themselves through vocal music, she pursued courses in Orff at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and has used Orff, voice, dance, ASL, drama and visual arts to develop alternative approaches to music and creativity in every child. Throughout her teaching career, Elizabeth has lived by her belief that music is tantamount to creating a child with a strong understanding of their inner selves. She uses music and the arts to give students confidence and a sense of freedom. She has dedicated her career to the value of the arts in an ever-changing world. Elizabeth is delighted to share her passion for music in collaboration with young minds.
SHELDON ROSE 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 pianist 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 and some of which have won national awards. these and many more compositions have been published by Alliance Music (Texas), Rhythmic Trident Music (Vancouver) and Cypress Choral Music Publishing (Vancouver). You can learn more about Sheldon and his musical work at his website. (click to visit)
NICKY SCHRIRE is a vocalist and composer, and a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music. She has performed in the USA, Europe and her native South Africa with musicians including Gerald Clayton, Florian Hoefner, and Gil Goldstein.
Her work has seen her likened to vocalists Joni Mitchell, Norma Winstone, and Esperanza Spalding with The Boston Globe’s Jon Garelick noting that “though her approach has earned her comparisons to Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens, the similarities are superficial…she’s got her own thing, and it’s very much worth listening to.”