Our Teachers

Paul Casey

paul_casey_headshot__portrait_222Paul Casey was born and raised in Ottawa and is an avid orchestral, chamber and solo musician and pedagogue.

Paul is one of the newest additions to the National Arts Centre Orchestra viola section; as a soloist, Paul has performed with NACO as part of FanFair, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and has given recitals in Canada and the United States. He was the 2011 recipient of the NACO Bursary Competition’s Harold Crabtree Foundation Award.

Paul obtained a MMus and BMus from Indiana University and the University of Ottawa, respectively, and most recently studied at McGill University.

Paul is on faculty at OrKidstra and was string coach for the Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra. He is also a member of the Silflay String Quartet with his wife, cellist Karen Kang, and violinists Leah Roseman and Mark Friedman.


Kathryn Cobbler

Violist, Kathryn Cobbler holds a Bachelor of Music (honours) degree and Master’s degree in Viola Performance from Western University and the University of Ottawa respectively. ‎Performing on the instrument since 2009, she has varied experience as an orchestral, and chamber musician. Performing with Toronto Symphony’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and featured in the University of Ottawa’s Nexus Chamber Music Concert Series, Ms. Cobbler has developed her voice and sense of style on her instrument. Drawn to Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy that Every Child Can‎, Kathryn has pursued Suzuki Teacher Training for Violin and Viola Books 1 and 2 with Karen-Michele Kimmett. This season, Kathryn Cobbler is very excited to be performing with the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra and as an artist apart of the Music at Trinity Anglican Concert Series.

Ms. Cobbler continues to be inspired by all of her mentors and teachers, Joanne Wojtowicz, Nicholas Penny, Annette-Barbara Vogel on violin and Virginia Barron, Kelvin Enns, Kathy Rapoport and Rennie Regehr on viola. As a recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Ms. Cobbler has had the opportunity to research the history of the Suzuki Method and the community impact of its Pedagogy and Philosophy.

Through her professional career she continues to explore the connection between performance, music education and social impact. Along with being a chamber musician, Ms. Cobbler has a studio of budding violists and violinists in Old Ottawa South. Kathryn Cobbler currently teaches with the El Sistema Inspired OrKidstra Program in Ottawa, Ontario.

Tina Fedeski

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After a life-transforming experience in UK’s Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra, Tina went on to study at the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England, and then played principal flute in the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra for four seasons.  After spending a six-month sabbatical on full scholarship at the Banff Centre for the Arts, she moved to Ottawa where she played with all the established orchestras and festivals in Ottawa including the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.

In 1999, in partnership with her husband Gary McMillen, she opened The Leading Note, now recognized as one of Canada’s leading classical print music stores – which is also a popular hub of the classical music scene in Ottawa.

Since then she has continued playing musicals and chamber music and has been featured soloist with local community orchestras.  She has been a passionate teacher since she was fifteen years old and her wide pedagogical experience includes teaching privately, coaching the Junior Youth Orchestra wind section at the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy and conducting the Waverley Winds Flute Choir (since early 1990’s). She held the position of Associate Professor of flute at Carleton University and is presently the Supervising Professor for the Experiential Teaching Artists’ Program at the University of Ottawa.

In 2007, in pursuit of her belief in the transformative power of youth music, Tina visited Venezuela to research El Sistema and soon afterwards The Leading Note Foundation, now OrKidstra, was created with co-founders Gary McMillen and Margaret Tobolowska.  Almost 10 years into the adventure, OrKidstra is a proud community building program through music – and very Canadian – with 42 languages spoken amongst 500 children!


Roxanne Goodman

Roxanne Goodman is many things—teacher, musical coach, composer, singer, motivational speaker and author. She graduated with a B.A. in Music Studies from Concordia University and has performed in countless concerts from the Montreal Jazz Festival to intimate wedding ceremonies in Canada and internationally.

Roxanne is a well-known figure in the Ottawa musical community and was awarded the community Engagement Award in 2012 for her contribution to creating healthy communities through song.
Roxanne is a passionate and dedicated facilitator who is committed to empowering people of all ages, while allowing their true voices to emerge and develop.

“I believe that every human being on this earth is here to share their gifts and talents with others. We are here to make this world a better place by fully developing who we are and making our contribution.” – Roxanne Goodman


Jon Heffernan

Jon Heffernan is a Kingstonian and new addition to the Ottawa teaching community. Growing up in an artistic family Jon became interested in music as a teenager playing bass and electric guitar as well as euphonium in high school band. Upon graduating Jon made the choice to continue developing his brass instrument skills and applied to university accepting enrolment at Queen’s university.

His studies had him focus on areas of music such as theory, performance, history, education and composition/arranging. After gaining a deeper understanding of his art form Jon decided to put his combined skills of patience, communication and knowledge towards a second degree and applied to concurrent education at Queen’s. Being accepted to the prestigious Artists in Community Education program, Jon worked with many great programs and learned a lot during his education and placements. Jon plays over fifteen instruments and currently works with several music schools and initiatives in the Ottawa community.


Jeannie Hunter

A classically trained trumpet player, Jeannie Hunter teaches instrumental and vocal music at Hillcrest High School in Ottawa. She has been a teacher with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board for 23 years and was the founding director of The World Voices Choir. She has been recognized by the school board with several Arts Advisory Committee awards of distinction and in 2013 was the recipient of the OCDSB Director’s award for her contributions. Jeannie has presented to music educators locally, nationally and on an international level with topics ranging from incorporating global perspectives, world music and social justice into the music classroom, to building the capacity for creativity in young musicians. Her work has been published in the OMEA’s Journal “The Recorder” and she created a number of provincial resources to support the Ministry of Education’s revised Music Curriculum. Jeannie believes strongly in the use of music as a tool for cross-cultural understanding and awareness and has studied traditions from West and South Africa, the Middle East, Brazil, Latin America, Indonesia and Jamaica. She happily joined the OrKidstra family in 2012 and is currently our Band and KidSingers Director.


 Karen Kang

Karen 2Winner of the Holland America Music Society Competition, Korean born Canadian cellist Karen Kang is an avid soloist and chamber musician. Karen has performed in numerous venues including the Mozarteum Recital Hall in Salzburg, Mozartsaal in Hamburg, and gave recitals at the Chicago Cultural Centre as part of the ‘Dame Myra Hess Concert Series’. An avid chamber musician, Karen performed the Mendelssohn Octet with violinist Pinchas Zukerman during the 2004 National Young Artists Program in Ottawa. Until recently, Karen resided in Hamburg, Germany while giving performances as the cellist of the Saguaro Piano Trio. As a full scholarship student, Karen holds a Bachelors Degree in Cello Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Laurence Lesser, and a Masters Degree from Northwestern University where she studied with Hans Jørgen Jensen. Karen currently resides in Ottawa where she teaches cello and chamber music at OrKidstra, is Artistic Director of Cultures in Concert Chamber Series, and a faculty at The National Capital Suzuki School of Music. Karen and her husband Paul Casey (violist) are also regular extra musicians with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and are members of the newly formed Silflay Quartet with Leah Roseman and Mark Friedman.


Venessa Lachance

 Venessa Lachance hails from a small French community in Northern Ontario and launched her musical career in Ottawa.  Since her arrival in the capital, the young composer worked as the music director for several theatre productions.

Among these are Turcaret, the financier (Odyssey Theatre, 2014), Prosodie in Le promenoir (NAC’s Théâtre français, 2014), Le long de la principale (Théâtre la Catapulte, 2016), and On verra (Théâtre du Trillium, 2016).  Venessa is currently completing her sixth year’s residency in composing for Théâtre Tremplin with 72 mirroirs cassés.  She was nominated for a Rideau Award in 2015 in the Emerging artist of the year category.

In 2014, she released her first album consisting of solo piano compositions.  Venessa’s classical background and her interest in using music as a story-telling device can be heard throughout the narrative-like short pieces on the album. It’s to this recording that Venessa owes her Trille Or Award nomination in the Discovery of the year category (2015).

Venessa had the opportunity to share her skills starting at a very young age and is passionate about music pedagogy. She’s walking in her mother’s footsteps, having taught piano tutorials start at age 12.  Bringing change in the world through music is Venessa’s passion.  


Erin Macdonald

Violist Erin Macdonald is an active violin and viola Teaching Artist and freelance musician in the Nation’s capital city of Ottawa. Erin is an avid supporter of music education as a means of social justice and is the Senior String Director with the OrKidstra Program. With Tina Fedeski, E.D. of OrKidstra, Erin co-teaches a University of Ottawa practicum course that offers music students pedagogy training and hands on experience teaching in a group setting. Erin is a certified Suzuki teacher and previously served as Faculty Liaison and Vice-President on the Board of Directors of Ottawa Suzuki Strings.

Ms. Macdonald holds a Masters of Music degree in Performance from the University of Ottawa, a post-graduate Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music, major in Music History and Literature from the University of Victoria. Erin’s primary teachers in viola performance have been Steven Dann, Joanna Hood and Rennie Regehr, for whom she was teaching assistant during her Masters studies.

When not playing the viola, Erin enjoys traveling, cycling, iPhone photography and is a self-proclaimed kitchen diva. Erin is currently undergoing her certification course to become a teacher of the Alexander Technique, graduating in the spring of 2017.


Louise Mortimer

!cid_imageE6AA5F32-D55A-418D-9626-A56A82138D5FLouise is a native of Ottawa. She studied cello with Joyce Sands and André Migneault in Ottawa Gatineau Region, with Marcel Bardon in France and with Derek Aviss in the UK.

She has played with the University of Sussex Chamber orchestra under Laszlo Heltay, New Sussex Opera, and the Cambridge Philharmonic Society with whom she had the pleasure of playing many times in King’s College Chapel. A highlight of her time in the Cambridge Philharmonic was playing the Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts in Ely Cathedral where she thought the roof was going to cave in during the Dies Irae! She plays in the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra and Parkdale Orchestra where she leads the cello section and played in the Ottawa Symphony between 1993 and 2015. 

She holds a post-graduate certificate of education from The University of Sussex, UK and a master’s degree in linguistics and applied language studies from Carleton University.  She has retired from teaching ESL at Carleton, but enjoys teaching cello both privately and for OrKidstra.

She is the proud mother of three sons, is becoming obsessed with her garden and plays a 215-year-old English cello called Groucho.


Chris Neale

A picture of teacher Chris Neale with his familyChris Neale is thrilled to be the KiddlyWinks teacher with the OrKidstra program at the Bronson Centre. After numerous years as a volunteer, supply band, and KiddlyWinks teacher in the OrKidstra program, Chris has moved into this teaching role. Chris is a primary, junior and intermediate music teacher within the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, has a background in classical, jazz, blues and folk music, and is a multi-instrumentalist. It has been an absolute pleasure working with the enthusiastic and high energy KiddlyWinks and their supportive parents, grandparents and the community that makes it possible for these young musicians to make it every week to the OrKidstra program and the many opportunities it provides.


Louise Paquette


Louise Paquette began violin studies at the age of 7 in Montreal and furthered her performance studies with teachers from the University of Montreal and the Conservatory of Quebec.  Ms. Paquette graduated from Laval University in Violin Pedagogy.  Louise also studied violin pedagogy with Claude Létourneau for two years in Quecbec City, in Orford (Quebec) and Kingston (Ontario) with international renowned teacher trainers of the Suzuki Association of Americas from the United States, Europe and Canada. Ms. Paquette has her Certification in the Violin Suzuki Method and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Louise has run private studios in Montreal, Quebec City and Gatineau (Quebec) and Paris (France) providing lessons to hundreds of children over her thirty years of teaching experience.  Ms. Paquette joined the OrKidstra family in 2012 where she is known as Ms. LouLou providing love as well as violin experience to her students. 


Deborah Reid

Deborah Reid is originally from Ottawa, but spent her childhood and teenage years in Jordan and Germany before returning to Canada for university. In her time overseas, she studied at international schools and had the opportunity to travel and interact with people of many different cultural backgrounds. She also participated in a number of choirs and learned to love singing in a variety of languages and musical genres. She began studying classical voice as a teenager, which grew her interest not only in performance and singing, but in classical music in general.

Deborah returned to Canada to study her Bachelor of Arts with a Specialization in Music at the University of Ottawa. She most appreciated her classes in music education and choral conducting and received the University of Ottawa Choir Choral Direction Scholarship in her final year. She now enjoys teaching choir with OrKidstra and directing music at her church.


Sheila Vaselenak

Born and raised in Southern Alberta I attended the University of Lethbridge where I earned my Bachelor of Music (Clarinet Performance) and Bachelor of Music Education degrees. Peggy Mezei was my primary teacher during this period. Before pursing my Masters, I studied at Mount Royal University with Jocelyn Colquhoun, Assistant Principal Clarinetist at the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

After graduation, I moved to Kalamazoo Michigan to study with Mr. Bradley Wong at Western Michigan University where I obtained my Master of Clarinet Performance. While in Michigan I had the opportunity to study and learn from important teachers which included Richard Hawkins (when he was on Faculty at Interlochen Centre for the Arts), Phyllis Rappaport, and orchestra conductor Eric Shumsky. While in Michigan I was actively involved with mentoring and assisting with local band programs. It was while in Michigan I made the conscious decision to place an importance of giving back to our communities while fostering an awareness of the importance of Music and the Fine Arts in our schools.

Since moving to Ottawa I have been actively involved with working with the clarinet band students at Glebe Collegiate Institute, as well a running a private clarinet studio. I am humbled and thrilled in equal measure to be part of OrKidstra


Raphael Weinroth-Browne

Cellist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, Raphael Weinroth-Browne is rapidly making a name for himself as an exceptionally versatile musician both in Canada and internationally. With his groundbreaking duo, The Visit, Raphael has toured through France, Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic performing all original compositions. In 2015, Raphael was commissioned by the Royal Conservatory of Music to compose and perform a new work for solo cello in their esteemed 21C Festival for contemporary music. He made a return appearance at the festival in 2016 with The Visit, performing in the RCM’s prestigious Koerner Hall.

Raphael has played on over 60 full-length albums (including the Juno Award-winning Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light) and has appeared in music videos with acclaimed artists such as two-time Juno Award-winner Gowan.

Raphael graduated Summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa’s School of Music and holds an Artist’s Diploma from Toronto’s Glenn Gould School. He is also a former artist-in-residence at The Banff Centre. In addition to composing and performing, Raphael is the Artistic Director of Ottawa New Music Creators, Ottawa’s only concert presenter solely devoted to new music.