Articles by author: ckim2

  • Local arts awards give nods to Brock faculty

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts Associate Professor Donna Szoke engages with a class in her Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games exhibition space.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The nominees for this year’s St. Catharines Arts Awards include some familiar faces from the Brock community.

    Associate Professors Rachel Rensink-Hoff, from Brock’s Department of Music, and Amy Friend and Donna Szoke, from the Department of Visual Arts, have each been recognized for their contributions to the arts.

    Rensink-Hoff, who conducts the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and is the Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers, was nominated for the Art in Education Award. The past Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada and past President of Choirs Ontario, she maintains an active career as an adjudicator, workshop clinician and juror both locally and across Canada.

    A woman wearing all black leans against a wall covered in vines.

    Art in Education Award Nominee and Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff.

    Friend and Szoke were each nominated in the Established Artist Award category.

    Friend, Chair of Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, has exhibited in a generous roster of national and international exhibitions, including the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize Exhibition (U.K.), Gexto Photofestival (Spain), DongGang Photography Museum (Korea) and many more. Her work has also been featured in numerous publications such as California Sunday Magazine (U.S.), Archeology of Photography – Lux (Poland), Musée Magazine (U.S.) and Wired (U.S.).

    Szoke is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been shown in public art, interactive video installation, outdoor site-specific installation, publications, film festivals and galleries in Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. She has received numerous research awards and grants for her work, including from the Canada Council for the Arts, B.C. Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2017, she was awarded the Brock Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.

    A female holds flowers under a tropical shelter with glass and film on a table.

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts

    Chair Amy Friend works on cameraless images in the field.

    Friend and Szoke recently collaborated for a shared exhibition this past summer in conjunction with the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. Small Movements showcased their two projects, both funded by Brock’s VPR Canada Games Grants.

    City of St. Catharines Cultural Co-ordinator Ashley Judd-Rifkin says the awards celebrate the best of the local artistic community. “The outstanding individuals and organizations that have been nominated for the arts awards are all very deserving. Their commitment, creativity and contributions have made St. Catharines a more beautiful, vibrant and exciting place to live.”

    The St. Catharines Arts Awards will be livestreamed from Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 29 starting at 6:30 p.m. Details for the livestream will be shared through the City’s social media channels closer to the event.

    A full list of nominees is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News

  • Guest conductor to lead Brock choirs in Decolonizing our Music-Making performance

    Jace Kaholokula Saplan will be the guest conductor for a collective of choral groups Friday, Oct. 28 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Recital Hall.


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    An upcoming choral performance will bring together the Brock University Choir, Avanti Chamber Singers and Sora Signers under the leadership of a guest conductor.

    As part of the 2022 Walker Cultural Leader Series, the Department of Music is welcoming Jace Kaholokula Saplan, who will conduct The Songs We Sing, The Land We Stand On: Decolonizing our Music-Making on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Recital Hall.

    During their time together, Saplan — a Kanaka Maoli advocate, artist, educator and culture bearer — aims to share their knowledge and research with the choral groups and create a space of understanding and artistic exploration.

    Saplan currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music Learning and Teaching and Choral Conducting at Arizona State University (ASU). They oversee the graduate program in choral conducting, conduct the ASU Concert Choir, and teach courses in choral literature and pedagogy that weave decolonial and critical theories with communal vocal practice.

    Their research focuses on the performance practice of Pasifika choral traditions and Queen Lili’uokalani’s choral compositions, while using decolonial approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion in the choral classroom. Saplan also works in the intersections of choral pedagogy, gender and sexuality in communities of colour, addressing trauma-informed practice and boundary building with Black, Brown, Indigenous and Asian music educators.

    “We are thrilled to be welcoming Jace Kaholokula Saplan to our Brock campus this week and to learn about how our art form might be expanded to welcome richer and more diverse approaches to choral singing,” says Associate Professor of Music Rachel Rensink-Hoff.

    During Saplan’s residency at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, both Brock and community choirs will explore the intricate connections and responsibilities associated with choral practices, specifically focusing on Indigenous ties to the choral arts.

    “I look forward to the building of a beloved community with the choral artists of Ontario. Together we will understand the diverse complexities that root forth when the choral arts are intersected with Native and Indigenous ways of being,” says Saplan. “I hope to weave our time together with an empathetic understanding of the power of our art form, and an instilled responsibility of how we consume and propagate the craft — all while joyfully singing.”

    In anticipation of the choirs’ performance with Saplan, Rensink-Hoff added, “We look forward to being challenged and inspired, and to sharing our learning with the community on Friday evening in a presentation of Indigenous Hawaiian story and song.”

    Attendance to the lecture-performance is free, but tickets must be reserved through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre website.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News

  • Music students’ talent shines on provincial stage

    Brock University Music students Lee Bakker, Isaiah Burry and Caroline Young join Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff after their Ontario Youth Choir performance.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    After spending the summer fine-tuning their choral skills, three Brock Music students are ready to start the school year on a high note.

    Third-year student Caroline Young and fourth-year students Isaiah Burry and Lee Bakker found themselves surrounded by talented and inspired chorists from across the province after successfully auditioning for the Ontario Youth Choir (OYC) earlier this year.

    The OYC is an honour choir that showcases the skills and abilities of Ontario singers between the ages of 16 and 23. The 10-day summer training intensive gives students the chance to be part of a large group of motivated and enthusiastic singers, with their hard work culminating in a final performance.

    The OYC’s selection process began with an audition, which included a solo piece, vocal warm-ups to gauge the performer’s vocal range and a piece chosen by the OYC to be performed acapella.

    Having successfully completed the audition process Bakker, Burry and Young quickly came to realize that they were among a collective of gifted chorists.

    “I was surrounded by so many voice majors and talented instructors, it really challenged me,” Young said. “This opportunity definitely helped me grow as a musician.”

    Prior to living in Ontario, Burry was part of the B.C. Youth Choir. His time with OYC, however, left him impressed by the talent he found himself immersed in.

    “Everyone was studying voice in some manner on a university level and being surrounded by those like-minded individuals was really cool,” he said.

    As the program got underway, it became clear that it had a different dynamic than most choral programs, Burry said. Rather than creating a student and teacher environment, it offered more of an artistic collective.

    “They treat you as a colleague and because of that, there’s a lot more responsibility,” Burry said. “We rehearsed, on average, eight hours a day and by the end of the day, if there was something that still needed to be worked on for you personally, then that was your responsibility. You had to do your part because the next day everyone was going to be working on something else.”

    The program and its final performance was a rejuvenating experience for all three Brock students as they prepared to head into the new academic year.

    “I feel like I can take more risks now, especially with solo performances,” said Young. “If I can stand up and audition for the OYC then I can definitely stand up and perform for the Brock Choir.”

    Burry said the final performance left him with a “feeling of motivation reignited in me.”

    “In my mind, I chalked it up to the fact that what I was getting through OYC was a glimpse at the next step of being a professional chorister,” he said.

    In attendance at the final performance was Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers.

    “The Ontario Youth Choir has played a significant role in the lives of young choral singers across the province for many decades and it was very special to have three of our own students representing Brock’s Music program in this prestigious choral ensemble,” Rensink-Hoff said. “To witness the energy and passion in their culminating performance, particularly given the obstacles faced by choral musicians over the past two and a half years, was heartwarming. I look forward to encouraging future students to audition for this tremendous musical experience.”

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News

  • Brock’s Niagara Choral Workshop open to community


    Originally published in The Brock News MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2022 | by 

    A three-day workshop this summer is inviting the community to learn the ins and outs of choral singing at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Led by Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff, the Niagara Choral Workshop is designed for choral conductors, teachers, song leaders and those with a general interest in the topic. The workshop, for which applications are now open, will be taught through engaging and interactive sessions on sound exploration, rehearsal strategies, conducting techniques and repertoire perspectives.

    Alongside Rensink-Hoff, the learning experience will also feature guest speakers Karen Burke, Associate Professor at York University School of the Arts, Performance, Media and Design, and Elroy Friesen, Professor and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Manitoba.

    The workshop will run from Aug. 24 to 27 at the MIWSFPA. Each day will comprise of hands-on masterclasses, group discussions and group sessions with choral colleagues on current topics in choral singing.

    “Our three-day choral workshop is designed to inspire and equip choral educators and conductors of all levels of experience with hands-on workshops and discussion-based explorations of relevant topics, including the joy of singing with others,” Rensink-Hoff says.

    Registration for the workshop is open to professionals and students, as well as the general public. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, June 15. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. To apply or for more information, please visit the Brock Music web page.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, News