Current Students

  • Brock cello instructor to take stage for Music@Noon

    Cellist Gordon Cleland will perform on stage for the RBC Foundation Music@Noon series on Oct. 16 at the Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre


    (From The Brock News, Monday, Oct. 15)

    The 2018-19 RBC Foundation Music@Noon series continues with its second performance of the season on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

    Generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation and hosted by the Department of Music, the free concert series performance will feature Brock cello instructor Gordon Cleland. All are invited to attend the recital, taking place in the Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    Currently performing with the Niagara Symphony as the principal cellist, Cleland has also performed as a soloist for the Debut Series in Montreal as well as across North America.

    Music@Noon takes place at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre most Tuesdays at noon during the academic year.

    For more information on upcoming performances, please visit ExperienceBU.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series

  • RBC Foundation Music@Noon recital series returns for another season

    Flutist Patricia Dydnansky is the first performer in the 2018-19 RBC Foundation Music@Noon Series, opening on Oct. 2 at noon at the Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018 | by )

    The popular RBC Foundation Music@Noon series is returning this fall with another stellar lineup of free recitals in downtown St. Catharines, beginning Oct 2.

    Generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation, and hosted by the Department of Music, the series features noon-hour performances by faculty, guests and music students that take place at the Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre most Tuesdays throughout the year.

    The 2018-19 season will open with a performance by Brock’s own flute instructor, Patricia Dydnansky.

    Currently performing with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra as the Second Flute and Piccolo, Dydnansky has also performed with the Shaw Festival Orchestra, the Stratford Festival Orchestra and the Hamilton Philharmonic. A veteran performer in the Music@Noon series, Dydnansky said patrons can look forward to hearing repertoire from around the world in her recital.

    “This program includes music by composers inspired by the Native American flute and Japanese shakuhachi, a set of Celtic tunes on my new Windward Irish flute, and a delightful set of short dances for piccolo inspired by British folk songs,” Dydnansky said. “Ibert’s gorgeous Pièce pour Flûte Seule is on the bill, as well as pieces by the Baroque composers Telemann and Marais, both displaying the ability of a solo instrument to play polyphonically.”

    The series will continue with performances by Music faculty members Gordon Cleland, Zoltan Kalman, Tim Phelan, Karin Di Bella and Devon Fornelli, and conclude with student performances at the end of each semester.

    Music Chair Matthew Royal said this allows students studying at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) to watch their instructors perform on stage before having the opportunity to perform in a professional environment themselves later on in the year.

    “We are so grateful for our generous sponsors, the RBC Foundation, that allow us to host these concerts every year,” he said. “They provide a great opportunity for students to learn all that’s involved in performing in a professional-level recital, and for our talented faculty and students to showcase the hard work they have put into their performances with the local community.”

    A line-up of talented guest performances will also round out the programming this year, including Maltese-Canadian flutist Rebecca Hall, who will perform with Brock pianist Karin Di Bella on Jan. 8.  The performers first connected over their shared interest in the work of Jack Behrens, a Canadian composer, and will be continuing to work together after their early 2019 show.

    On Jan. 29, percussionist Devon Fornelli will perform with pianist John Sherwood. Fornelli, a percussion instructor at Brock, has a wide range of experience performing as a soloist, an orchestral percussionist and as a chamber instrumentalist, and Sherwood, the piano tuner at Brock, is listed as being among the top jazz pianists in Ontario.

    Royal encourages both students and those from around the community to come and experience the talented musicians that Brock University has to offer.

    The Music@Noon Recital series is generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation and will run most Tuesdays at noon throughout the academic year. The concerts are performed in the Cairns Recital Hall at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. This is a free event that is open to the public.

    For more details about future performances, please visit brocku.ca/miwsfpa/music/concerts

    2018-19 RBC Foundation Music@Noon Series:

    Oct. 2: Patricia Dydnansky (flute)
    Oct. 16: Gordon Cleland (cello)
    Oct. 23: Zoltan Kalman (clarinet) and Gary Forbes (piano)
    Oct. 30: Piano, vocal and instrument students
    Nov. 6: Tim Phelan (guitar)
    Nov. 20: Voice, guitar and piano students
    Nov. 27: Instrumental students
    Dec. 4: Piano students
    Jan. 8: Rebecca Hall (flute) and Karin Di Bella (piano)
    Jan. 29: Devon Fornelli (percussion) and John Sherwood (piano)
    Feb. 5: Voice, guitar and piano students
    Feb. 12: Instrumental students
    Feb. 26: Karin Di Bella (piano)
    March 5: Walker String Quartet: Vera Alekseeva and Anna Hughes (violins), Faith Lau (viola) and Gordon Cleland (cello)
    March 12: Piano students
    March 19: Instrumental students
    March 26: Voice, guitar and piano students
    April 2: Piano students

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series

  • Music majors to make an impact in Niagara with new Practicum course

    A group of Music majors are taking their learning into the real world this fall as they complete the new Music Practicum course. Led by Music Chair Matthew Royal (back left) and Course Co-ordinator Tim Stacey (back right), this year’s students include (front, from left) Jesse Day, Shaniqua Goodridge, Brielle Kaminsky, Sarah Hollick, Ryan Baxter and Gavino Oresta.


    (From The Brock News, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    A group of Brock Music majors will put their classroom learning into practice this fall as the first students enrolled in the new Music Practicum course.

    The multi-year conjunction course allows students to complete for-credit volunteer placements in either music education, music health/therapy, music administration or music in the community.

    Music Chair Matthew Royal said the course is unique because it provides real-world learning experiences while also giving students course credit and volunteer hours that are often required for those applying to Faculties of Education down the road.

    “The idea is to introduce students to real-world settings that might line up with their future career goals and to have them apply the skills and knowledge they’ve learned from their courses in those settings,” he explained.

    It also helps students discover what they are interested in career-wise and how they can achieve their long-term goals, added Koreen McCullough, Experiential Education Co-ordinator, Faculty of Humanities.

    “Learning what you don’t like is just as valuable as learning what you do like,” she said. “Students are not only getting the valuable placement experience through this course but are also being taught up front to set their own goals. At the end of term, they will have a chance to reflect on challenges and achievements, access resume coaching and really apply what they’ve learned to help achieve their future career goals.”

    Six Music majors signed up to work in schools and community organizations around the Niagara region this year.

    Course Co-ordinator Tim Stacey (BA ’15) said the students have already shown themselves to be extremely dedicated and enthusiastic.

    “They’ve worked on these placements over the summer, made connections and did their own research to find them,” said Stacey, who has worked for community choirs as well as the Niagara Symphony and Youth Orchestras since graduating from Brock’s Music program. “They didn’t get to just pick a selection from a list. They had to find the placement themselves, so it’s evident how engaged they are.”

    Gavino Oresta, a fourth-year Music student, will be completing his placement working with music classes at Saint Michael Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, alongside his former high school music teacher, coincidentally.
    With plans to become a music teacher himself, Oresta is looking forward to the challenge of leading his own lessons with the high school students this year.
    “For anyone interested in teaching, it’s a great environment,” he said. “It’s also good to get different perspectives on how teachers go about their lesson structure because every school goes about their music program a bit differently.”

    Learning about different teaching styles was what piqued the interest of second-year student Brielle Kaminsky, who will be working with extracurricular music ensembles, such as the choir, jazz band and string ensemble, at Ridley College in St. Catharines.

    “I’m going to be working with students from all over the world in my placement and it’s really cool seeing how different cultures practice music,” she said. “Not only am I learning in the classroom myself, but I also get to go out and teach what I’m learning in the class to students, too.”

    Adds Oresta: “Plus, you’re hanging around in a music class, which is just fun and exciting to me on its own.”For the first few weeks of the course, students will engage in workshops that will identify their learning outcomes for the term and outline the benefits of experiential learning. They will begin their work placements in late September, with the aim of completing 50 volunteer hours by April.

    The course is open to all Music majors in second year and above and can be taken consecutively year after year. Applications for next year’s practicum course will open in the spring and anyone interested in applying is encouraged to  contact Matthew Royal or Tim Stacey.

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    Categories: Current Students, News

  • Auditions for Brock’s new Women’s Choir open to the public

    Brock’s new Women’s Choir, to launch this fall, is open by audition to Brock students and Niagara community members.

    (from The Brock NewsWednesday, June 20, 2018 | by )

    Voices from the Brock and wider Niagara community will come together in harmony this fall as the Department of Music launches a new Women’s Choir.

    The all-female ensemble will be open by audition to Brock students as well as the general public.

    “I am hoping that this choir brings together women from the University and the Niagara region to offer something very special to our local arts community,” says Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Assistant Professor of Music who will direct the new group.

    The Women’s Choir will rehearse on Thursday evenings beginning this fall, readying for performances with Brock’s Chamber Choir on Dec. 1 and March 30 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The department’s established mixed-voice Chamber Choir is also open by audition to all Brock students and staff.

    Also included among Brock’s choirs, an integral part of the Music program, is the Avanti Chamber Singers. The community-based adult ensemble, also directed by Rensink-Hoff, is the department’s Choir in Residence.

    “The choirs allow students the opportunity to rehearse and perform in the fantastic FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre,” says Rensink-Hoff. “My hope is that more students from across campus and members of the public will consider joining us.”

    To audition, previous singing experience and some ability to read music are required.

    Students who successfully audition can enrol in choir for academic credit.

    For more information or to schedule an audition, please visit the Music Department’s website.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Future Students, Media Releases, News

  • Student completes music degree started 18 years ago in Mexico

    Mexico’s Luis Gerardo Molina will graduate from Brock Friday with a degree in Music.

    (from The Brock News,  Tuesday, June 05, 2018 | by )

    For 20 years, Luis Gerardo Molina worked his way up the corporate ladder of a growing computer software firm in his home country of Mexico.

    After high school, he had made what he viewed as a responsible decision to choose a stable career in technology over a fragile one as a classical pianist, but his love of music kept pulling at him like a magnet.

    Eventually, he gave in, and on Friday, June 8, at the age of 48, his career change will be official when he graduates from Brock University with a degree in Music.

    “It means everything,” said Molina. “That was a dream that I always wanted to make happen and I really struggled to get it.”

    Born into a family of talented musicians, Molina grew up around choirs and instruments, and by the age of six it was obvious he had a gift. At nine, he started working with a piano teacher and for eight years he attended a specialized school of music that turned his hobby into a craft.

    “I finished my high school and I had that dilemma many people face — should I devote my life to music? Is that a safe path for the rest of my life?” Molina said. “I decided to follow an alternative career. I always really liked the maths, so I decided to choose engineering.”

    A literal flip of a coin at the age of 17 made Molina choose computer engineering over civil engineering, and that set in motion a software career that lasted 20 years.

    But while his career progressed to the point of becoming a manager, so did his ongoing love of music. Having never truly given up his dream of being a professional pianist, Molina went back to the University of the Americas part time in 2000, completing two years of a four-year degree before realizing the workload wasn’t sustainable.

    Luis Molina’s music career has taken him to competitions and performances around the world.

    “It was just too much,” he said.

    But an invitation to an international piano competition in Paris in 2003 ramped up his duelling interests. After beating out nearly 100 competitors from 35 countries to win the contest, he was invited to more international performances and competitions, leading to the production of his first album of live recordings.

    “I got very good support from the company I was working for. The owner was a kind guy who was also involved in music and he always felt proud to tell them he had an employee with this background in competition and music,” said Molina, who traveled to the U.S., Germany, Russia, Poland and elsewhere over the years.

    “After doing all that, I decided the music is calling me more and more,” he said. “The company I was working for was growing and every day it was getting more complicated to do both things together.”

    Finally in 2015, the door opened to make music his full-time endeavour. He was hired as a pianist with a philharmonic orchestra in Mexico and went back to university for his third year of music school.

    Then, in 2017, a trip to Canada to visit friends in Niagara led to another big change.

    “I loved the Niagara region so I thought, if I’m going for my passion in music, I found the perfect place to do it,” he said.

    A tour of Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and a meeting with Associate Professor of Music Karin Di Bella confirmed that Brock was where Molina would finish his degree.

    “I fell in love with what I found here. And now that I’m almost done, I feel very lucky to have had this great opportunity in this great country and at this great University,” he said.

    Di Bella called Molina “the real deal.”

    “He possesses a rare combination of drive, discipline, musical maturity, technical facility, innate musicality and a true flair for performance,” she said. “Despite his many accomplishments, he is very humble and always eager to learn, making him a true joy to work with.”

    After graduating Friday in the final day of Brock’s Spring Convocation, Molina will move on to do his master’s in musical literature and performance at Western University.

    From there, a PhD and potentially a teaching career are in his sights.

    “I’ve been performing for more than 30 years and I want to continue doing that, but I’d like to share my perspectives and teach others,” he said.

    Molina credits his wife, Marcela Lagunas Burgos, herself a talented musician who plays the cello, as playing a major role in his career success.

    “We’re definitely on the same frequency. She has supported me with everything and all the decisions.”

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Future Students, In the Media, News

  • New for 2018: the Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award

    Beginning in 2018 the Executive of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be awarding the Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award.

    This award will be made to an undergraduate student who is graduating from the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), Brock University; who is awarded, by vote of the Executive Committee of the MIWSPFA, the top prize for a piece of textile art produced and submitted by said student.

    As the award must be granted to a student for the purposes of his or her continuing education and or development, students must also submit an expression of their intention to continue this education and or development.

    For the purposes of this award, textile art is defined as a work of art that utilizes any and all forms of textiles, either natural or man-made, and in any form of original artistic expression.

    For the purposes of this award, continuing education or development is defined as any form of post graduate education and development which the student may wish to pursue whether at a college, university, by way of apprenticeship at a technical institute or at a research facility.

    For more information about Marilyn I. Walker see: brocku.ca/miwsfpa/marilyn-i-walker

    We thank Marilyn I. Walker and her estate for the legacy of her generosity.

    See the article about the first recipient of the new award, Victoria Reid (Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Studio Art, with First-Class Standing, 2018).

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  • Music@Noon season to end on high note

    Sherry Yu is one of six pianists who will perform in the last Music@Noon concert of the 2017-18 season on Tuesday, April 3.

    The curtain will close next week on this season’s RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series.

    The final performance of the 2017-18 season takes place Tuesday, April 3, with first- and second-year Bachelor of Music piano students taking the stage at Cairns Recital Hall.

    Short videos of this season’s Music@Noon performances are available on the Department of Music Instagram page.

    The free recital series will return to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in late September.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series

  • Recital series to showcase student talent

    Second-year violinist Jessica Tigchelaar takes centre stage at the Concordia Seminary Chapel on Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.

    The stage is set for the stars of Brock’s Department of Music to shine.

    Student talent will be highlighted during a month-long recital series that begins Friday, March 2.

    The inaugural performance will feature violinist Jessica Tigchelaar, a second-year student, accompanied by Luis Molina on the piano. The show will take place at the Concordia Seminary Chapel on campus, where half of the recitals will take place. The remaining shows will happen at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    Luis Molina solo recital

    Fourth-year pianist Luis Molina accompanies Jessica Tigchelaar on stage Friday, March 2. Molina then has his own solo performance Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The series will feature Brock’s most talented performers, who enrol in recital courses for credit following a rigorous audition process.

    Details for the following performances are available at the respective links:

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Student Solo Recitals

  • Music presents the first Choral Concert for 2018!

    Avanti Chamber Singers

    Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Artistic Director
    Lesley Kingham, Pianist
    Guest Artists: Walker String Quartet

    With Strings Attached

    Featuring Ola Gjeilo’s Dark Night of the Soul & Eric Whitacre’s Hebrew Love Songs, with other works of love and longing by Lassus, Telemann, Pearsall, Dan Forrest, Laura Hawley and Jonathan Quick.

    Saturday, February 17 7:30 pm
    St. Thomas Anglican Church, 99 Ontario St., St. Catharines, ON

    Take advantage of a $5 ticket discount by purchasing tickets in advance from a choir member. avantichambersingers.com

    for more information about this concert on Saturday February 17, 2018

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Viva Voce Choral Series

  • Final Music-at-Noon concert for 2017

    Guitar majors, Gavino Oresta (left) and Eric Godfree (right), as they performed for a Music@Noon recital in the 2016-17 season.

    Tuesday Dec. 5 will be the last RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital for 2017.

    This concert will feature Brock’s piano and guitar students as they wrap up 2017 with the first half of the RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series.

    But don’t worry, this series of performances isn’t going away for good! There will be many more performances to come in the new year, taking place at noon in the Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    Stay informed with the Department of Music events throughout the new year through at ExperienceBU.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series