Alumni

  • Music@Noon concert series goes virtual

    Former Music students Gavino Oresta (left) and Eric Godfree perform their recitals during a previous Music@Noon Series event. This year, the concert series will be held online in accordance with public health guidelines.

    The RBC Foundation Music@Noon Series returns Tuesday, Nov. 17, albeit with a new format.

    The anticipated concert series will be held virtually this season, with Brock Music students recording solos from their own homes.

    In the past, performances have taken place live on the stage of the Recital Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC), adjacent to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). This year, the PAC and Brock’s Department of Music changed the format in accordance with public health guidelines.

    Self-recorded performances from the solo recital students will be streamed Tuesday through the MIWSFPA and PAC YouTube channels and Facebook pages, marking the first online presentation of the 2020-21 concert series.

    Generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation, the free concert series takes place most Tuesdays at noon throughout the academic year. The recitals are open to the public and feature Brock’s performance faculty and special guests, as well as talented students and alumni.

    For full event details, please visit the Music concert listings page.

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    Categories: Alumni, Alumni, Announcements, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series, Special Events, Student Solo Recitals, Uncategorised

  • Brock Choir sings new tune for virtual 2020-21 season

    (including content published THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 03, 2020 | in The Brock News by )

    Choir at Brock University will look a little different this fall by moving to a virtual rehearsal format.

    “Given the known risks of singing together in groups, we will not attempt to do what we normally do until health guidelines permit us,” says Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor of Music and Choir Director.

    While not being able to safely gather and practice in person together is a challenge for those in choir, Rensink-Hoff sees it as an opportunity.

    “We have a unique opportunity to get to know and learn from one another in new ways through online discussion and active engagement.”

    Rensink-Hoff will focus the choir on pursuing some of the things they haven’t usually had time for, such as building individual skills in vocal technique and stage presence, analyzing music as a vehicle for storytelling, and reflecting on the historical and cultural contexts of songs. There will also be a “Shared Perspectives” series of guest interviews and workshops with conductors, composers and vocal-choral specialists from across Canada and the U.S.

    Choir members will need headphones, a video recording device such as a phone, computer or tablet, as well as internet connection.

    The Treble Choir (sopranos and altos) will rehearse together virtually on Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m., and the Mixed Voices choir (sopranos, altos, tenors and basses) will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

    “Our work will emphasize the process, rehearsing, over the product, performing,” says Rensink-Hoff. “This is a tough transition for those of us in the arts, but it is also a chance to for us to strengthen our performance skills and to reflect on the significance of live performance to individuals and communities.”

    Choir auditions are open to Brock students, faculty, staff as well as members of the wider Niagara community. Both new and returning choir members may book their auditions online before the deadline on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 11:59 p.m.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Michelle Pressé, Brock University Communications, mpresse@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 905-246-1963


    SING@BROCK ONLINE EDITION: audition for choir 2020-21

    Open by audition to all students, faculty, staff and members of the Niagara community!

    For the 2020-2021 academic year, choir will be fully online until guidelines allow for other forms of gathering. As such, the course will be less about performance outcomes and more about the process of learning, connecting, exploring and innovating as key elements of ensemble participation.

    Singers will engage with a diverse body of choral repertoire in sessions on vocal technique and choral skill development, explorations of movement and stage presence, analysis of music and text, workshops with guest artists, and collaborations through innovative singing projects. Rehearsal and performance skills will be developed in the context of a supportive community that promotes cross-cultural understanding and self-expression.

    Previous singing experience and ability to read music is required.
    For more information contact:
    Rachel Rensink-Hoff, rrensinkhoff@brocku.ca
    SEE >>> brocku.ca/sing

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

  • First students to complete entire four-year degree at downtown MIWSFPA graduate June 14

    Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    The first group of students to have completed their entire four-year degree at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ downtown St. Catharines facility crossed the stage at Spring Convocation on Friday, June 14.

    Sixty-three students from Brock’s Departments of Music, Visual Arts and Dramatic Arts graduated from the downtown arts school, which opened its doors in 2015. Nine students who minored in programs at the MIWSFPA will also graduate on Friday.

    The milestone is not lost on the 2019 graduating class.

    “It’s a cool honour to be part of Brock history and I’m grateful to have trained in such a professional environment,” said Emma McCormick, who completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts, Performance Concentration. “I feel that I’ve gained a lot of skills that will serve me in my career, specific to the learning I received at the MIWSFPA.”

    The London, Ont. native is the recipient of the Jean Harding Prize, which is awarded to the student who achieves the highest standing in fourth-year Dramatic Arts. She plans to remain in St. Catharines after graduation, where she will continue her studies in Brock’s Adult Education program and working in the performing arts sector.

    Providing students like McCormick with a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility was the vision of the School’s namesake, the late Marilyn I. Walker.

    When the famed textile artist and philanthropist donated $15 million to Brock University in 2008, she envisioned the creation of an arts facility that would revitalize downtown St. Catharines and encourage students to study and practice the arts here in the Niagara region.

    Her generosity and foresight allowed for the historic Canada Hair Cloth Building to be converted into the new home for the Departments of Music, Dramatic Arts and Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, which had previously been housed at Brock’s main campus.

    The $45.5-million project also received a $26.2-million investment from the Ontario government, numerous private and corporate donors, and relied heavily on the insight and contributions of hundreds of partners such as then-Dean of Humanities, Rosemary Hale, and the City of St. Catharines.

    MIWSFPA Director Elizabeth Vlossak, who joined the School on an interim basis from the Department of History, said she has seen first-hand the impact the facility and its programming has on students.

    “Although the School is a cultural hub that acts as a living, breathing connection between the city’s past and future, it’s also so much more than that,” she said. “In my short time here, I have seen how these incredible facilities and engaged, passionate faculty benefit our students.”

    Graduand Alyssa Shanghavi, of St. Catharines, said she appreciated the availability of unique practice spaces on campus for music students like herself, which allowed her to focus on her studies and hone her skills on the trombone.

    The Bachelor of Music recipient said being around other artists all the time and in such close proximity to the downtown core was an invaluable complement to her education.

    Gianna Luisa Aceto, a graduand from Mississauga, said that as a painter, she “enjoyed and most definitely appreciated the space the MIWSFPA provided.”

    As well as making new friendships and plenty of memories, Aceto attributes the successful completion of her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art to the artistic identify she forged while studying at the School.

    “One of the biggest takeaways for me is finding my passion, my niche,” she said.
    “I struggled a lot in finding out what I wanted to create and the reasons for creating it. My time spent within the walls of the MIWSFPA allowed me to uncover that knowledge.”

    She also said she has an undeniable gratitude for her professors, and that “the drive they instilled in me has not gone unnoticed.”

    Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam said this milestone serves as time to reflect on the importance of the arts and its ability to create healthy and flourishing communities.

    “This first class of students to have spent their entire Brock careers in this splendid facility serve this mission in downtown St. Catharines and in the broader community, but they have also been a defining force within the MIWSFPA itself,” she said. “They have been largely responsible for creating the culture of the School as a place to learn, create and serve as a community. Their impact will last a very long time, and we are proud to see their graduation day.”

    Longstanding former MIWSFPA Director Derek Knight echoed Merriam’s sentiments.

    The Associate Professor said the class of 2019 should receive their degrees with pride having been part of an extraordinary university experience and contributing to the legacy of the arts, both at Brock and in the community.

    With the MIWSFPA’s fifth anniversary on the horizon, the School will continue to offer students unique teaching and learning experiences while honouring the spirit of its benefactor, he said.

    “What was interesting about Marilyn is that she was always very curious and engaged with how we, the faculty, envisioned the future,” Knight said. “She thought it was our job to rise to the challenge and define the potential of what she had given to us in the form of this extraordinary gift. I think, in many ways, we’ve done that.

    “Now, we are charged to think about not only what we will offer today, but in the long-term, and how we will define pedagogy and the School’s identity long into the future.”

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    Categories: Alumni, Alumni, News

  • Brock Music grad creating change one song at a time

    Music grad Danny Lamb (BA ’12) has been using his Music degree to create positive change locally and internationally.


    (From The Brock News, March 14, 2019 |

    When Danny Lamb began singing lessons as a child, he never could have predicted the role music would play in his life.

    Whether he’s travelling the world raising money for charity or contributing to initiatives in Niagara, the Brock alumnus and singer-songwriter now uses his Music degree to create positive social change and give back to aspiring artists in need.

    One year after graduating, Lamb (BA ’12) embarked on his first major international tour to raise funds and awareness for hydrocephalus and spina bifida.

    Diagnosed with the conditions himself at age three, Lamb created the A Song, A City tour in collaboration with the International Federation of Hydrocephalus.

    He travelled to five cities in Europe and, quite literally, wrote one song per city to promote the benefits of music therapy for those living with the conditions.

    The initial tour ended in Izmir, Turkey, in 2013, where Lamb co-facilitated a music workshop called P.U.S.H (People United For Spina Bifida) and co-wrote a song with a group of young people who live with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

    Since then A Song, A City has turned into a successful social enterprise and continues to support similar initiatives today.

    Lamb’s most recent venture took place this past summer, when his band, Danny Lamb and the Association, set out on a six-city fundraising tour to send a child to ME to WE Take Action Camp.

    The Bethany, Ont., leadership camp gives children from ages nine to 18 the opportunity to make a difference in their communities.

    Lamb, who spent many summers working there as an ambassador and workshop facilitator, wanted to provide a child in need with the chance to take part in the unique experience.

    “The whole idea snowballed from a single song really,” he said, explaining the tour began after facilitating a workshop for a group of particularly inspiring youth from Trinidad and Tobago.

    Lamb wrote a song about the experience, called Army of Love.

    With the support of ME to WE, he then translated the song’s message of hope and desire to make the world a better place into the Army of Love tour.

    The tour started in Windsor and made subsequent stops in St. Catharines, Ottawa, Montreal and North Bay, before concluding in Halifax.

    In each city, as the band played Army of Love, the audience was asked to toss donations into the body of an old, beaten-up guitar. Lamb also auctioned off a different guitar — this one donated by friend Adriana Cinapri on behalf of Hydrocephalus Canada — to raise the additional funds needed to send 13-year-old Indya Kennedy to Take Action Camp.

    As the initiative’s beneficiary, the young visual artist attended the camp last summer, where she discovered a passion for women’s rights.

    “I wanted the grant to go towards a young person who is passionate about using their music or art to create positive change in their community and who potentially would not have been able to go to camp without the support,” explained Lamb. “Indya, among so many incredible young folks who applied, jumped out at me.”

    Lamb said the initiative would not have been possible “without the support of the local champions, partners and businesses who see music and the arts as having an impact locally and globally.”

    “It worked out better than I could’ve imagined.”

    Now, after a whirlwind couple years, Lamb is back living in Niagara. He said he is honoured to be part of a supportive community that encourages musicians to achieve their goals.

    “I love the community that I’ve grown up in and it’s given me a really good sense of what community is,” he said. “There are so many people in the world who are searching for a sense of community and trying to find what community really means. That’s a privilege I’ve always had, wherever the world takes me.”

    Lamb also noted that Brock instructors Deborah Linton and Lesley Kingham, were “huge champions” in helping him earn his Music degree and achieving all that he has today.

    The young musician has no plans of resting on his past achievements and slowing down anytime soon.

    “I think too much; I have way too many ideas,” he said with a chuckle.

    With plans to release new music and another tour in the works, Lamb hopes to keep using his music to create change — both in Niagara and around the world.

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    Categories: Alumni, Alumni, News