Podium 2014 — A total success!

Well, that’s a wrap for Podium 2014! As ACCC revealed their new brand – Choral Canada – we were right there to witness this exciting change and offer two professional development opportunities to our members. Jennifer Gillis, our Podium Representative, spearheaded all of our efforts, guiding the Student Chapter conducting master classes and Poster Session to great success!


Irene Apanovitch (Co-Chair), Jennifer Gillis (Podium Representative)

The two Student Chapter conducting master classes were a great success. Congratulations to all of the participants on a job extremely well done. A special thank you must be made to Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt for leading our six conductors through some of the conducting challenges in the selected repertoire and for offering valuable insight on gesture and its relation to sound. Thank you to the National Youth Choir for being such a receptive “instrument” to work with!

We want to congratulate Liska Jetchick on receiving a scholarship from Choral Canada for her outstanding work in the early-career master class. It was fantastic to see you work!


Things really took off at the brand new Student Chapter Poster Session! As it was our first time presenting this type of event at Podium, we were really grateful to our four wonderful presenters! Below are photos of three of them:

Kendra Obach, presenter





Melissa Morgan, DMA Candidate (University of Toronto)

Thank you to all of the delegates and university professors that attended this session! We hope that you enjoyed connecting with fellow students and seeing the type of research that is being conducted across our country!


Dr. Debra Cairns (left), Carolyn Nielsen (right)


Dr. Victoria Meredith, Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff, Dr. Douglas Dunsmore


Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, Ki Adams


Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Elizabeth Shannon, Elise Naccarato

Joel Tranquila, Choral Canada’s Vice President (Advocacy) also made an appearance! Our keenest new members (also singers in the National Youth Choir) had a chance to meet Joel and talk to him about getting involved in Choral Canada’s mandate to foster and promote choral music in their communities!


Dr. Joel Tranquila, Teri Slade, Kieran Kane, Dorianna Holowachuk, Elise Naccarato

Thank you to everyone who supported our events at this past Podium conference! Stay tuned for our new logo, new submissions from members, and information about Podium 2016!

Announcing our Master Class Participants!

The results are in!
Six fantastic young conductors have been selected for the Conducting Master Classes with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and the National Youth Choir! We would like for you to meet four of them (arranged in alphabetical order by last name) – Jennifer Hart, Dorianna Holowachuk, Deirdre Kellerman and Emily Ready. Don’t miss them on the podium at the upcoming 2014 Podium Conference in Halifax!

Jennifer HartJennifer Hart is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s School of Music having studied piano under the direction of Timothy Steeves.  In May 2007, Jennifer completed a co-joint program earning Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees. A proud native of Newfoundland and Labrador, Jennifer shares her love for choral music as a vocalist with the esteemed Lady Cove Women’s Choir and the vocal chamber ensemble, Innismara.  Jennifer is also a promising choral conductor, having graduated from Memorial University in 2013 with a Master’s degree in choral conducting under the batons of Dr. Douglas Dunsmore and Dr. Jason Caslor. Currently, Jennifer is pleased to work with Shallaway: Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus as Associate Conductor and Associate Accompanist and in 2013 has assumed the role of Artistic Director and Conductor of the award-winning Newman Sound Men’s Choir.

Dorianna HolowachukDorianna Holowachuk holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Regina and is currently working towards a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. Since the fall of 2012, she has been the conductor of both divisions of the Conservatory Juventus Choir and studies conducting with Dr. Dominic Gregorio. Dorianna has studied voice privately with Diana Woolrich and Lynn Channing, has completed the Grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) certificate in voice, and the Grade 8 RCM certificate in piano, both with honours.  Dorianna is a board member of the Saskatchewan Choral Federation, sang in the SMEA Provincial Honour Choir (2004-2008), and in the 2010 and 2014 National Youth Choir. Dorianna intends to continue studying choral conducting at the graduate level in the near future.



Deirdre KellermanDeirdre Kellerman is an emerging choral conductor from Nova Scotia. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Acadia University and has studied conducting with Michael Zaugg and Christina Murray. Deirdre apprenticed with the Ontario Youth Choir (2012), Xara Choral Theatre, the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir and the Acadia University Chorus. An avid chorister, Deirdre has sung with the National Youth Choir of Canada (2010), as well as several seasons with Xara Choral Theatre and the Nova Scotia Youth Choir. Outside of ensemble singing, she has performed operatic roles including Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors. She is also an accomplished pianist, regularly accompanying for singers and choirs. Deirdre is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in choral conducting at the New England Conservatory, studying with Erica Washburn. In Boston, she is the assistant conductor of the Newton Choral Society.

Emily ReadySoprano Emily Ready is in her third year of a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at the University of Regina, studying with Lynn Channing. She is very excited to be representing Saskatchewan in the National Youth Choir this May. In previous years, Emily has participated in Opera NUOVA’s one week intensive, the University of Manitoba’s Contemporary Opera Lab, an opera production of excerpts from The Marriage of Figaro at the University of Regina, as well as many musical theatre productions with local companies in Regina. Emily has received many awards while studying at the U of R, including first place in the Regina Music Festival’s Schumiatcher Competition, the Rose E. Schmalz Bursary for Voice, and the Styles Family Foundation Bursary. As part of her degree program, Emily took a choral conducting class with Dr. Gregorio in 2012, and was presented with the opportunity to become the Assistant Choral Conductor of the U of R choirs for 2013/2014. It has been one of the most challenging and exciting experiences in her degree, and she is extremely grateful to Dr. Gregorio for his patience and encouragement!



Deadlines Extended!

We’ve extended the application deadlines for everyone applying to present at the ACCC Student Chapter Poster Session at Podium 2014 conference in Halifax.

If you’re interested in applying to conduct in one of two public Conducting Master Classes with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and the National Youth Choir, we’ve extended your application deadline as well!

Materials for both events are due on 3 February 2014. For more information, please contact us at incanto.blog@gmail.com





22-26 July 2014

2014 HSCCS

The Halifax Summer Choral Conducting Symposium (July 22-26, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia) is now accepting applications for their second installation!

The Halifax Summer Choral Conducting Symposium is a 5-day intensive workshop offering group instruction in choral/vocal pedagogy, conducting technique, choral repertoire, and Dalcroze Eurhythmics; and individual instruction in conducting, voice, piano and organ. Designed to support the practical work of all levels of choral conductors, Halifax Summer Choral Conducting Symposium invites school/university educators, church musicians, studio teachers, and undergraduate/graduate music students to participate.

Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Toronto, will be the guest clinician for this session. Other teaching faculty includes Dr. Caron Daley (Choral Pedagogy, Dalcroze Eurhythmics), Dr. Susan Boddie (Vocal Pedagogy), Lynette Wahlstrom (Church Music, Piano), and Shawn Whynot (Church Music, Organ).

There are four ways to participate in the symposium:
* Active Conductor (8 spots) – deadline to apply May 15
* Auditing Conductor (unlimited spots) – deadline to register June 1
* Daily Registrant (unlimited spots) – deadline to register June 30
* Member of the Symposium Chorus (by audition) – email halifaxsummerchoral.com for more information

To learn more about the event, or to register, please visit http://www.halifaxsummerchoral.com*

To join our list-serve for monthly updates, please email halifaxsummerchoral@gmail.com.


Conducting Workshop with Leonard Ratzlaff

Conducting Recitative with Leonard Ratzlaff

These sessions at Podium 2014 will address a potentially complex but very important skill for conductors to develop – the ability to conduct recitative in dramatic choral-orchestral works.  Selected through a competitive application process, conductors will work through a selection of excerpts from commonly performed oratorios, including Handel Messiah, Bach St. Matthew Passion and Mendelssohn Elijah. These sessions will focus on effective conducting gestures, effective anticipation of responses to singers’ text delivery, and matters of performance practice and style.

  • a video/DVD up to 15 minutes in length including footage of the candidate in 10 minutes maximum of rehearsal and 5 minutes maximum of performance
  • a video/DVD up to 10 minutes in length showing their vocal ability – in a song, scales showing range and in a warm up exercise
  • a covering letter explaining the candidate’s interest in the program 
  • Curriculum Vitae outlining the candidate’s education and choral conducting experience
  • Repertoire list/programs the candidate has conducted
  • two letters of reference

Send application materials postmarked/date stamped Monday, February 3, 2014 to:

Department of Music
3-82 Fine Arts
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2C9

Student Chapter at Podium 2014

We’re organising some exciting events during Podium 2014!

Are you coming to Podium 2014 next May? If you’re involved in choral music, you definitely should!! Podium 2014 is happening in Halifax, NS from May 15 – 18, 2014. There are so many great session to go to, and so many things to do.

The Student Chapter is proud to co-host 2 fantastic sessions at the conference – the Student Chapter Poster Session and Two Conducting Master Classes with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and the National Youth Choir!

We all want to add things to our CV and resumes. There is no better way to do that than to present at a national conference or conduct the National Youth Choir in a public master class! Don’t miss these fantastic opportunities – apply!

We’ve also extended the deadline for applications! Please submit your materials by the new deadline of 3 February 2014.

Reflections on 2013 U of T Choral Conducting Symposium

Calling all choral conductors!  The University of Toronto, Faculty of Music welcomed conductors of church, community and school choirs July 2nd to the 5th for the 2013 edition of the Choral Conducting Symposium Conductors.  Hosted by resident faculty Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and Dr. Lori-Anne Dolloff, and featured guest clinician Dr. William Weinert from the Eastman School of Music, the Symposium included sessions on planning successful rehearsals, choral pedagogy, and choosing quality repertoire. Representatives from Music Plus (Kitchener, Ontario) were also on hand to provide access to quality music resources.

As a workshop participant, a highlight of the week for me was singing in the Director’s Chorus, conducted by Dr. Weinert and accompanied by Christopher Dawes.  The chorus was made up of workshop participants and members of the U of T MacMillan Singers. This group functioned as a lab choir, where in Dr . Weinert explained his conducting methods throughout the rehearsal. This allowed workshop participants to reflect as both singers and conductors.    

Other notable components of the Symposium included the presentations made by voice faculty member Elizabeth McDonald.  She tackled the often-murky topic of the solo singer in the choral setting.  Her expertise in vocal pedagogy and her experience as a choral singer helped to dispel several myths about the voice.  Ms. McDonald also offered individual sessions in which conductors could learn more about their own voices.  Individual sessions were also offered by clinician Nancy Sicsic  for further explanation of the Alexander technique with specific relation to the singer and conductor.  

Each day of the Symposium ended with practical conducting sessions. These consisted of a masterclass with Dr. Weinert, or conducting classes taught by Dr. Apfelstadt and Dr. Dolloff.   Earlier this year, conductors were eligible to apply for participation in a formal masterclass where they conducted members of the McMillan Singers. Two excerpts were prepared from Beethoven’s Mass in C ‘Kyrie’ movement or Brahms’ Nanie. The conducting classes allowed each conductor a brief opportunity conduct their classmates and receive some feedback on their technique from either Dr. Apfelstadt or Dr. Dolloff respectively.    

In addition to the quality sessions and presentations, this choral conducting symposium facilitated a wonderful opportunity for networking.  In a profession that is often quite isolating, sharing experiences and finding peers makes Symposiums such as these invaluable professional development opportunities.  Make sure to add the Choral Conducting Symposium 2014 to your calendar today!     

Submitted by Angela McKeown