Our Teachers

Executive & Artistic DirectorTina Fedeski, M.S.M.

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 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 – and a hub of the classical music scene in Ottawa.

In 2007, motivated by her belief in the transformative power of youth music, Tina visited Venezuela to research El Sistema. Soon afterward, she and co-founders Gary McMillen and Margaret Tobolowska founded OrKidstra (previously known as The Leading Note Foundation.)

As Executive Director, Tina proudly accepted a Peace Award from the Mayor of Ottawa in 2011 in recognition of OrKidstra’s impact on the community of Ottawa. In spring 2012, Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre, presented Tina with the Leading Women/Leading Girls, Building Communities Award. She is also recognized as a Kickass Canadian, and late in 2012, she received, with immense gratitude, the Canadian Institute for Child Health Leadership Award. In 2017, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, awarded Tina Fedeski the Meritorious Service Medal for creating the OrKidstra program.

Wendy BerkelaarWendy Berkelaar

Originally form Nova Scotia, Wendy came to Ottawa in 1995 to pursue her master’s degree in fortepiano performance under the mentorship of the late Cynthia Floyd. Little did she know then that she was actually destined for the musical theatre world. Wendy got her theatrical start at Orpheus Musical Theatre Society as a rehearsal accompanist and pit orchestra musician. She went on to apprentice several musical directors there and conducted her first show (Guys and Dolls) in 2006. Since then, Wendy has worked nationally and internationally as a musical director and keyboardist.
Here at home in Ottawa, Wendy is a still familiar face around Orpheus, and has also worked with Ottawa Little Theatre, Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet Productions, Indie Women Productions, and recently made her debut with the Great Canadian Theatre Company. She’s also has the privilege of being the local sub for Broadway Across Canada and has performed in the orchestra with the tours of Wicked, The Book of Mormon and Les Misérables. Wendy has been the accompanist for the KidSingers program since 2013, and is thrilled to be a part of the OrKidstra family.

Trevor BowmanTrevor Bowman

Trevor Bowman is a native of Windsor, Ontario. He is a graduate of Western University and holds a BMus with an Honours Specialization in Music Education. A trumpet student of Shawn Spicer and Aaron Hodgson, Trevor’s performance experience includes WU’s Symphony Orchestra, Brass Quintet, Wind and Jazz Ensembles, as well as The Band of the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa, ON. Trevor’s teaching experience includes serving as Director of Music for the 2332 Army Cadets, Western University’s Young Winds, Rideau Cadences New Horizons Band, and Ashbury College. Trevor currently performs with the Band of the Governor General’s Foot Guards.

Kathryn CobblerKathryn Cobbler

Violist, Kathryn Patricia Cobbler is a musician who finds her creation and artistry deeply embedded in the art of pedagogy. Proud to be a Teaching Artist with the social music program OrKidstra, she is constantly finding new ways to dissect, and unpack her craft in sharing it with the next generation. Some of her teaching artist projects include, Exploring Bach Through Shape and Line through the creation of the AltArt Ensemble, and Colour Your World a six week music residency, a project’s development funded by the Ontario Arts Council. In her position working with the Experiential Teaching Artist Program (ETAP), a partnership with OrKidstra and the University of Ottawa, Miss Cobbler plays a mentoring role in leading graduate students to develop their teaching artistry skills. In her own teaching artist practice, Kathryn Patricia aims to engage with the needs of Ottawa communities both socially and artistically.

Performing as a violist since 2009, Kathryn Patricia has varied experience as solo, orchestral, and chamber musician. Performing with Toronto Symphony’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra and featured in the Southminister United Church and Trinity Anglican Concert Series, Miss. Cobbler has developed her voice and sense of style on her instrument. As a recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Miss. Cobbler has had the opportunity to research the history of the Suzuki Method and the community impact of its Pedagogy and Philosophy. Through Kathryn Patricia’s professional career she continues to explore the connection between music education, performance and social impact. Along with being a solo and collaborative musician, Miss. Cobbler has a studio of budding violists and violinist in Old Ottawa South.


Donnie DeaconDonnie Deacon

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Donnie Deacon studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. He continued his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London under the tutelage of Natasha Boyarskaya and Lord Menuhin. He finished his schooling at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Jaime Laredo and Ida Kavafian.
Mr. Deacon has performed all over the world with such distinguished orchestras as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, BT Scottish Ensemble, London Soloists, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Pablo de Sarasate Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music. He became principal second violin with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2001, the youngest player to do so in the history of the Orchestra. He has also been guest Concertmaster of both the Vancouver Symphony and The National Arts Centre Orchestra.
As an advocate for Canadian music, he has given the world premiere of Gary Kulesha’s 2nd violin concerto and William Rowson’s violin concerto. Mr. Deacon was named Resident Artist in the Community for the National Arts Centre in 2016, which sees him teaching and conducting all over Ottawa.
Mr. Deacon is currently the Music Director of the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, the Conductor of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra and a Guest Conductor with OrKidstra.

Christina DeavilleChristina Deaville

Christina Deaville began her musical journey at the age of four, raised in an environment that nurtured and inspired her love for music. Her passion for playing took off when she had her first professional orchestral experience in Ireland with Summer Music on the Shannon performing Mendelsohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The following year she attended McGill University where she received her Bachelor’s in Violin Performance and 5 years later she went on to complete her Master’s at the University of Ottawa.
Over the years she has been so fortunate to study with incredible teachers and mentors including Yehonatan Berick, Elaine Klimasko, Thomas Williams, Axel Strauss and the concertmaster of the NACO, Yosuke Kawasaki. Her music has given her opportunities to travel around the world to places such as Québec, Nova Scotia, Ireland and China.
She enjoys performing with her String Quartet, Quatuor Mousaï, which formed during her time at the University of Ottawa. They have performed in recitals, gigs and concerts and have tackled works such as Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 and Janacek’s Kreutzer Sonata.
She joined the OrKidstra family in the fall of 2016 as an ETAP student. After falling in love with the organization and the children, she has decided to continue her time with them this upcoming year as a part-time Teaching Artist.

Cendrine DespaxCendrine Despax

Professional violinist, Cendrine Despax had as masters Calvin Sieb and Anne Robert. She is a graduate of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal where she obtains in 2008 the “Prix à l’unanimité” in violin, in 2009 the “Prix à l’unanimité” in chamber music and the “Certificat de stage de perfectionnement en musique” and in 2010 the “maîtrise en musique, profil interprétation, spécialité violon.”
She is the first violinist of the Quatuor Despax. She is also part of the Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau (OSG) from the foundation thereof, in 2007. She performs regularly in the national capital, Outaouais, Ottawa and in Europe.
In addition to being a teacher at OrKidstra, she teaches violin at the École Élémentaire Publique Trille des Bois, the École Secondaire Publique De La Salle and in private. Cendrine Despax is the founder of the festival “L’Art de la Musique | The Art of Music” which takes place in Gatineau during the summer in July.

Zakari FrantzZakari Frantz

Zakari Frantz is a musician and educator currently living in Ottawa, Canada. Known best for his early work with guitarist Marcus Eaton and his current role as alto saxophonist and flutist in Canada’s epic groove collective, the Souljazz Orchestra, Zakari also leads his own groups and performs regularly with the Atlantis Jazz Ensemble, the Bank Street Bonbons, and Greece’s Agios Lavrentios Brass Band, among others.
A positively charged, in-demand saxophonist, Zakari has performed on hundreds of stages in over 20 countries throughout North America, Europe, and most recently Africa. He has appeared on dozens of albums and compilations as well as numerous live recordings produced by KLOS (Los Angeles), CBC (Canada), BBC Radio 6 (UK), Funkhaus Europa (Germany), NTR TV (Netherlands), Radio France Internationale, Radio Nova (France), and En Lefko 87.7 FM (Greece).
Originally from Twin Falls, Idaho, Frantz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Boise State University where he was an inaugural recipient of the Gene Harris Jazz Endowment Scholarship. A proud student of late woodwind virtuoso Lawrence Curtis from the age of 13, Zakari has gone on to study with a number of notable educators including Mark Taylor, Brent Jensen, Loren Stillman, Samuel Blais, and Hayden Chisholm.
From 2012 to 2014, Zakari acted as curator of “Les Lundis Jazz,” a weekly series at Le Petit Chicago in Hull, QC. Zakari is also an active music educator, currently working as a private woodwind instructor in Ottawa’s west end. He began working with the OrKidstra program in September 2016.

Roxanne GoodmanRoxanne 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

Jeannie HunterJeannie 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.

Declan KinghornDeclan Kinghorn

Declan Kinghorn began playing music at the age of 10 after receiving a bursary to learn French horn from the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. From there, he joined Orkidstra the year after to continue playing music. Declan attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute where he also picked up the electric and upright bass, euphonium, and tuba, going on to play with the Orkidstra string quintet, the Ottawa Youth Orchestra, the Strings of St. John’s, and all of Lisgar’s musical ensembles.
Since graduating from high school and the Orkidstra program in 2015, Declan has been working towards obtaining a Bachelor of Music, majoring in euphonium. For two years he studied at the University of Ottawa and now attends Carleton University. Declan currently performs with the Velvet Brass Quintet, the University of Ottawa Wind Ensemble, and is a volunteer with the Governor General’s Footguards Band. He also continues to play bass with various jazz and funk groups in Ottawa.

Venessa LachanceVenessa 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 starting at age 12. Bringing change in the world through music is Venessa’s passion.

Ed ListerEd Lister

Ed Lister is a professional trumpeter/composer/arranger and educator from London, England and has been based out of Ottawa, Canada for the past 6 years. Ed runs five bands of his own and performs in a further 17 as a session musician/recording Artist. The bands that Ed runs range from an 11-piece Big Band to a 4-piece funk fusion band. For the last three years, Ed has been successfully running his own independent record label London Gentleman Records. The label has booked several across Canada tours for a few of its Artists and currently manages six bands ranging in style. Before moving to Canada, Ed worked aboard Carnival Cruise Lines as a Showband musician for two and a half years. Ed has a BA Hons degree in Jazz studies and was classically trained in trumpet from the age of 10 to 19 and obtained Grades 1 – 8 in Classical trumpet from the Guildhall School of Music in London, England. insert

Louise MortimerLouise Mortimer

Louise 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.

Lisa NazarenkoLisa Nazarenko

Lisa Nazarenko recently moved to Ottawa from the Prairies where she was a cello teacher with Sistema Winnipeg, the Douglas Kuhl School of Music, and the University of Manitoba Prep Studies Division. A certified Suzuki Instructor, Lisa is passionate about the transformative power of music and is thrilled to be joining the OrKidstra family.
As an avid chamber and orchestral musician, Lisa holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Manitoba and has furthered her studies through summer programs including the National Arts Centre Young Artist Program and the Banff Centre Masterclass Program. Lisa has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg New Music Festival Ensemble and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. As soloist Lisa has been featured on Classic 107 Radio and has performed the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the University of Manitoba Orchestra. Lisa’s main passion lies in collaborating with other musicians through chamber music, with a particular focus on sharing music in unconventional settings. Lisa completed her Masters in Cello Performance through the University of Ottawa in 2017 and is happy to be part of the thriving Arts community here in Ottawa.

Chris NealeChris Neale

Chris 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 “Loulou” PaquetteLouise “Loulou” 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 Quebec City, in Orford (Quebec) and Kingston (Ontario) with internationally 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.

Mika PosenMika Posen

Mika started her Violin studies at the age of 9 and enjoyed her first ensemble experiences as a member of the Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra and the Lisgar Collegiate Orchestras. She went on to study music at the University of Guelph, completed a Masters at York University, and received her Suzuki Violin teacher training at the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute in Waterloo for Levels 1, 2, and 3.
After completing her studies, Mika spent 10 years working in the popular music industry as a studio violinist/violist, string arranger, and live performer. She has toured to nearly every corner of Canada, the US, Europe and Australia, and has had the pleasure of working with artists such as Timber Timbre, Agnes Obel, Basia Bulat, Feist, and the Weather Station.
After retiring from touring life, Mika returned to teaching; she was a faculty member of the Toronto Suzuki Studio, the Strings teacher for grades 1-8 at Fieldstone Day School, and a regular substitute at Sistema Toronto. She happily returned to Ottawa in 2016 and is thrilled to be a part of the OrKidstra family.

Erin PickeringErin Pickering

An active member of Ottawa’s arts community, Erin Pickering has dedicated much of her professional life and education to music performance. She has studied and performed across Canada and internationally, including at summer festivals Domaine Forget, New York Summer Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and most recently InterHarmony International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy. Erin holds a Bachelor of Music from Western University and a Master of Music from the University of Ottawa, both in cello performance. She enjoys performing with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and as a member of various chamber ensembles.
Passionate about creating opportunities in the arts for musicians and audiences across Ottawa, Erin is happy to be working with the talented students and teachers at Orkidstra. She also works in philanthropy with Ottawa Chamberfest, and is a volunteer with the AOE Arts Council and the Ottawa Arts Council.

Greg PrestGreg Prest

Mr. Greg got his music degree from McGill University specializing in School Music instruments, all brass, woodwind and percussion. He also majored in performance on the Classical Guitar. He has been teaching music full time in High School since 1989 and his bands have won Gold standings at Musicfest more that twenty times. He is enjoying teaching the beginner band this year and loves conducting all levels of young musicians.

Melanie ReeksMelanie Reeks

Growing up in the Ottawa area, Melanie graduated from the Arts Canterbury Music Program at Canterbury High School on flute. She obtained her Bachelor of Music from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, followed by her Bachelor of Education from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
While in the Maritimes, Melanie was a member of the New Brunswick Winds, as well as the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra performing in Parma, Italy, and was involved in many recordings, recitals, and performances.
As a high school music teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Melanie shares her enthusiasm and love of music with all her students. She currently teaches band and strings at Hillcrest High School and plays principal flute with The National Capital Concert Band. Melanie joined the OrKidstra staff in 2015 and is excited to continue teaching the program’s flute studio.

Deborah ReidDeborah 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.

Margaret Maria TobolowskaMargaret Maria Tobolowska

In 2012, Margaret Maria was awarded the Leading Women Building Communities Award by the Government of Ontario for her work in the Ottawa community with OrKidstra (an El Sistema inspired program) she co-founded in 2007 along with two of her musical colleagues, Tina Fedeski and Gary McMillen. OrKidstra is a thriving charity that brings musical opportunities to children who would otherwise be unable to participate. Margaret Maria is also an Honorary Board Member and the conductor of OrKidstra. You can find her sharing her love of music with the kids every Thursday at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa. Her passion for social justice and music continues to hold strong and true even though she is focused on composing and creating music. In 2012, Margaret and Tina were recognized as Kickass Canadians (www.kickasscanadians.ca).
Margaret Maria is very passionate about teaching and has given master classes in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. She has taught at the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, the National Arts Centre’s Summer Music Institute, the Southern Ontario Suzuki Institute and currently teaches at the National Capital Suzuki School of Music and OrKidstra.
In 2011, Margaret Maria decided to change her career from her professional post as cellist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada to follow her dream of composing and producing her own music and Enchanten Productions was born. Working in the contemporary Classical, Electro Acoustic, New Age, Instrumental, Cinematic, and Steampunk genres, Margaret Maria creates stunning new music with her phenomenal cello playing at the heart of it. Her two children’s albums, A Cello for Chelsea (2005) and Zara the Maggini (2006) were her first creative musical stories that incorporate her narration, musical compositions, and arrangements, into delightful performances that sparks the imagination of children and adults alike. Her 8th album, Carried By An Angel, a love story told through music was just released October 2017.

Jo Ann SimpsonJo Ann Simpson

Bassoonist Jo Ann Simpson received her Bachelor of Music Performance degree from the The University of Ottawa, where she studied with Gerald Corey. A year of post graduate studies with William Waterhouse in London England, where she also worked with the BBC Symphony, was followed by a stint as principal bassoon of the Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Caracas, Venezuela from 1979-1986. Since returning to Ottawa, Jo Ann has worked as a free-lance player with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, the Quebec Symphony and the Orchestra of Northern New York. She is principal bassoon of l’Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau. Jo Ann Simpson has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Venezuela, Uruguay and Canada. She performs recital and chamber music regularly.
Jo Ann Simpson is professor of bassoon at the Conservatoire de Musique de Gatineau, Québec and Carleton University in Ottawa. She teaches the bassoonists at Canterbury High School and Centre d’Excellence Artistique De Lasalle and runs the Beginner Bassoon Program for The Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. She has taught bassoon at The Crane School of Music, SUNY in Potsdam New York. Jo Ann Simpson is the founder and director of the only residential bassoon camp in Canada – Brooke Valley Bassoon Days.
Jo Ann Simpson is one of the few bassoonists in North America who plays both the German and the French system bassoon. She is a member of The North American French Bassoon Quartet and is frequently invited to perform at conferences of the International Double Reed Society.

Sheila VaselenakSheila 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 pursuing 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-BrowneRaphael 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 70 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. In January 2017, he traveled to Sweden to record the string arrangements for Norwegian progressive metal band Leprous’ latest album ‘Malina.’ He will join the band for their European headliner tour in fall 2017.
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.

Become a Teaching ArtistA life-changing experience

OrKidstra’s Teaching Artists are extraordinarily talented musicians and music educators who are passionate about OrKidstra’s social mission of success through music. Are you passionate about music education and social change? Do you live in the Ottawa area? OrKidstra invites all experienced musicians and music educators to learn more about becoming a Teaching Artist with OrKidstra.

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Teaching Artist Development WorkshopsLearn valuable skills in a hands-on environment

Are you a musician or music educator who is interested in learning more about social development through music? Do you want to add valuable skills to your resume? OrKidstra offers Sistema-inspired Teaching Artist Development Workshops that allow participants to develop their understanding of social development through music in an experiential, creative environment. Don’t miss a beat! Sign up for updates to learn more about this exciting new initiative.

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Experiential Teaching Artists Program (ETAP)Gain real, practical experience

In partnership with University of Ottawa Music Department and Community Service Learning Department, OrKidstra offers a 3-credit course to undergraduate and masters level students at the University of Ottawa. Since 2008, the Experiential Teaching Artists Program (ETAP) has offered valuable teaching experience through hands-on teaching assistant placements within the OrKidstra program.

This unique partnership also covers a broad overview of music teaching philosophies, the philosophy and history of El Sistema as it applies to OrKidstra’s uniquely Canadian Model, and its implications for society and social justice.

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I was able to gain real practical experience at OrKidstra: it was a great opportunity for me to take the skills I was learning in my university pedagogy and conducting classes, and apply them in real-life situations.

Kaley Duff


There is a very caring and welcoming atmosphere at OrKidstra, and no matter how I felt coming in each week, I always left with a very positive attitude, and I expect the same can be said for the students.

Heather Bourne


I look forward to every session that I teach, from the kids to the staff to the atmosphere, it’s so full of love and community. The whole entire OrKidstra organization is just amazing.

Arthurine Duhaney