Faculty & Instructors

  • Brock faculty honoured for local arts impact

    St. Catharines Arts Award winners (clockwise from front left) Emily Oriold, Monica Dufault, Kathyrn Sinopoli, Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Amy Friend and Frank Goldspink were recently honoured by the City of St. Catharines. (Photo courtesy of the City of St. Catharines)


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The impact of faculty from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is being felt in the local community.

    Amy Friend, Associate Professor and Department of Visual Arts Chair, and Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor in the Department of Music, were each recently honoured during the St. Catharines Arts Awards and recognized for their respective contributions to helping the arts thrive locally.

    Friend received the Established Artist Award during the awards celebration held Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Her work, which has been exhibited nationally and internationally, explores various methodologies through photography, installation and community-based collaborations. The focus of her work fluctuates with investigations relative to history, time, land memory, dust, oceans and connections to the universe.

    “The award is a wonderful nod to the work artists accomplish in this community and there are many of us,” Friend said. “I have grown as an artist in this region and have had opportunities to collaborate with many people. I would like to see even greater and consistent support for the arts in our community and schools. There is an abundance of amazing work happening here, but much more is possible.”

    Rensink-Hoff — Conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers — was presented with the Arts in Education Award.

    Her contributions to the local arts community have resulted in many performances and partnerships, including the co-ordination of a performance by the Brock University Choir, Avanti Chamber Singers and Sora Singers under the leadership of guest conductor, Kanaka Maoli artist, activist and cultural bearer Jace Kaholokula Sapan.

    “It is a joy to be a part of a thriving arts community here in St. Catharines and I am humbled by this recognition, particularly on the heels of a challenging two and a half years,” Rensink-Hoff said. “I have seen in my students and singers just how life-giving their participation in the arts can be. Their passion and dedication to making music throughout the pandemic has been such a tremendous source of inspiration.”

    A full list of recipients of the St. Catharines Arts Awards is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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

  • 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

  • Student-run podcast provides guidance, inspiration for future artists

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines is home to the student-run podcast, Dear Marilyn, named in honour of the late textile artist and philanthropist.

    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2022 | by 

    What started as a passion project for two Brock University students in search of career tips has become a robust podcast series providing invaluable insight to the next generation of creators.

    Produced for students by students, the popular podcast Dear Marilyn is now in its second season of connecting the student community with professional artists, with plans to continue production on an ongoing basis.

    Created in 2021 by Dramatic Arts (DART) students Danielle Letourneau and Luca D’Amico, the podcast name honours celebrated textile artist, philanthropist and arts advocate Marilyn I. Walker. In 2008, Walker made a historic donation to Brock that led to the creation of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    Letourneau, the podcast’s producer who is now in her fourth year of study with a concentration in Drama and Education and minor in History, says that she has often felt anxiety about entering theatre as a profession.

    “I started this podcast to give students like myself a resource for practical job advice,” Letourneau said. “The arts industry is not always considered the most conventional career path, but we do it because this is what we love; the arts nurture our souls.”

    Supported by Dean Carol Merriam of the Faculty of Humanities through the Dean’s Discretionary Fund in 2021, the Associate Dean of Fine and Performing Arts and MIWSFPA department Chairs, the Dear Marilyn team invites local and surrounding artists from a range of artistic disciplines to share their stories.

    Co-hosts Hayley Bando, a second-year Dramatic Arts major with a concentration in Production and Design, and Chloe Racho, a third-year Music major with a minor in French Studies, are thrilled to be part of the project.

    “We are honoured to help bring these diverse perspectives about professional journeys in the arts to the Brock community,” Bando said.

    Recent podcast guests include actor, writer and producer Thet Win, voice actor Keegan Vaillancourt and singer-songwriter Glenn Marais.

    MIWSFPA faculty have been supportive since day one, with Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, championing the podcast idea in its early stages.

    “I was happy to support Dear Marilyn initially because it’s a great idea, and a positive student-led project during the hard time of the pandemic,” she said. “I looked forward to each episode and was entertained and educated by the hosts’ sparky exchanges with guests.”

    DART Associate Professor Gyllian Raby guided the grant proposal for Dear Marilyn resulting in the expansion of the podcast to include all four departments at the downtown arts campus (Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts and Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture).

    “What’s not to like about Dear Marilyn? It relates directly to our mission to create experiential, professionalized learning for students producing, hosting, editing and broadcasting,” Raby said. “And, it’s entertaining and insightful.”

    DART Associate Professor Danielle Wilson has been working with the team on the second season. Episodes are edited by Alex Sykes, a fourth-year DART student with a concentration in Production and Design.

    Available on Spotify, the next episode goes live this week. For the latest news, follow Dear Marilyn on Instagram.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, News, Uncategorised

  • FACULTY FOCUS: Nina Penner working to create change in Canadian opera

    Image caption: Nina Penner, Brock University Assistant Professor of Music, enjoys sharing her love of opera with her students.

    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 09, 2021 | by 

    Note: Faculty Focus is a monthly series that highlights faculty whose compelling passions, innovative ideas and various areas of expertise help weave together the fabric of Brock University’s vibrant community. For more from the series, click here.

    Nina Penner’s students are always surprised to learn she’s not a singer.

    Although the opera expert has been a part of many productions throughout her career, her home has always been in the orchestral pit.

    The classical clarinetist, and now Brock University Assistant Professor of Music, has always found herself fascinated with the art form and rejoices in her ability to share it with others.

    Penner’s love for music began with the piano at age eight, but it wasn’t until a few years later when she picked up a clarinet that she truly found her fit.

    Nina Penner, now an Assistant Professor of Music at Brock University,
    spent countless hours during her childhood honing her skills on the clarinet.

    For weeks, she played as much as her lips would allow, stopping only when her muscles weakened from exhaustion.

    “I was obsessed with the clarinet,” she says lightheartedly, reminiscing about how her father went from renting her an instrument to quickly realizing a purchase was in their future.

    Penner, who grew up in Niagara, began teaching herself from books before moving on to private lessons in her adolescence.

    After high school graduation, she pursued her Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance at the University of Toronto.

    “I like performing a lot, especially ensemble music, orchestra and chamber music,” she says. “I’ve always liked playing new music, including music by student composers.”

    After time, however, Penner began to realize that the performer life — and the entrepreneurial aspects of promoting yourself and booking gigs — wasn’t for her.

    Her interest was instead starting to drift in a new direction.

    Penner’s history courses on music and music theory began to draw more of her attention and, after some discussions with her professors, she decided academia was the world she was best suited for.

    She went on to complete her master’s at the University of Toronto and her PhD at McGill University, both in musicology.

    But her love for opera never waned. She decided that as an academic, it would be her area of focus.

    During her performance days, Penner’s gaze between notes often fell to the talented singers, her mind trying to take in as much detail as possible.

    “I could see what was happening on stage and that was really fascinating,” she says. “I think that enhanced my desire to understand more about opera staging, which is what some of my early musicology work was about.”

    Since joining Brock in July 2020, Penner has expanded her work to look at opera — as well as musical theatre and film music — as it relates to various social movements.

    In high school, Nina Penner, now a Brock Assistant Professor of Music,

    performed a concerto with the Niagara Youth Orchestra.

    Her most recent project, funded by a Brock Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institution Grant, explores the experiences of Indigenous, Black and People of Colour working in opera in Canada.

    The study, “Exploring New Collaborative Models in Indigenous-led Opera in Canada,” is a collaboration with Amplified Opera, a Toronto-based collective that seeks to amplify previously marginalized voices in the industry.

    They are about to launch a survey to learn more about the frequency and severity of racial discrimination and microaggressions in Canadian opera.

    “Because I’m not a singer and I’m a white settler, it was so important to get the voices of the people who this research is hopefully going to serve, to survey them about their experiences and about what can be done to rectify these situations,” she says. “This is not about getting people to relive these painful experiences, but to document them and start thinking about what we can do to move forward.”

    After the survey is completed, Penner plans to interview about 20 singers this winter to get more detailed narratives and recommendations for change.

    The intention is to ultimately improve equity and diversity in the opera industry.

    “It’s not just about hiring more people of colour,” Penner says. “We also have to rethink how we’re creating the works themselves, rethink the actual creative process. How we are we working together and at what point are people of colour involved in creating these pieces?”

    Companies led by People of Colour, such as Amplified Opera, are exploring new collaborative and leadership models, such as involving singers from the earliest stages of creating new works and productions. By documenting these new approaches, the study aims to encourage larger houses, such as the Canadian Opera Company, to consider replicating some of these collaborative models.

    “The hope is to see not only indie opera companies but also the big houses take a risk and do something a bit differently,” she says.

    For anyone new to the genre but interested in learning more about it, Penner says indie opera companies are the way to go.

    The performances are often more intimate and in smaller spaces that allow the audience to better see the facial expressions of singers, giving a better feel for what is happening, she says. Their shows are also more likely to be in English, breaking down language barriers for some first-time opera fans who may find a production in a different language intimidating.

    Tapestry Opera in Toronto specializes in producing new works that address contemporary concerns, Penner says, while Against the Grain Theatre in Toronto performs older repertoire predominantly, but does so in a way that brings out its relevance for audiences today.

    “You’re more likely to get an aesthetic that’s kind of like Rent, but they are singing Puccini’s music,” she says.

    “There’s a lot of different opera out there. I think it’s a matter of finding the kind of opera that is going to grab you — and it’s going to be different for everyone.”

    Although Penner has yet to formally introduce her two-year-old daughter to the genre, both she and her husband have ensured music has remained a part of their St. Catharines household.

    “I pick at the piano sometimes and she’ll climb up on the stool and play some things,” she says. “I’ll be playing a Handel piece, but all she really wants to hear is Three Blind Mice.”

    For more information on Penner’s upcoming survey or to participate, email npenner@brocku.ca

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

  • Popular Brock concert series back on stage for 2021-22 season

    Image caption: The Walker String Quartet rehearses on stage at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre for the 2021-22 performance season. Photo by Max Holten-Andersen.

    Originally published FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 in The Brock News | by 

    After a year of performing from their homes, musicians featured in Brock University’s RBC Foundation Music@Noon series will return to the stage at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) for the 2021-22 season.

    Although there will be no live audience this fall, performances will be livestreamed for the Brock and wider community to enjoy online.

    Presented by the Music Department at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) and sponsored by the RBC Foundation, the free concert series takes places most Tuesdays at noon throughout the academic year and features the department’s performance faculty, special guests, Brock students and alumni.

    In partnership with the PAC , the Music@Noon season opens Tuesday, Sept. 28 with the musical stylings of the John Sherwood Trio. Featuring John Sherwood on piano, Kieran Overs on bass and Terry Clarke and drums, the trio will delight audiences with selections from the Great American Songbook.

    With concerts booked for most Tuesdays until the holiday season, the fall program will feature faculty performances as well as recitals from Music students later in the year. The livestream concerts can be viewed on the Facebook pages and YouTube channels of the MIWSFPA and PAC, as well as on the PAC website.

    A  return to in-person concerts may be possible in January, depending on Brock University and provincial protocols for COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

    For a full listing of upcoming concerts and to check for live audience updates, please visit the Music@Noon website.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series, Special Events, Uncategorised

  • Virtual auditions for Brock University choirs now open to community

    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, JULY 14, 2021 | by 

    Image caption: Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor of Music at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and Artistic Director of Brock University Choral Activities, is excited for Brock choir auditions to get underway in advance of the fall 2021 season.

    Brock choirs are back this fall and singing a hopeful tune for a busy season of choral activities for the University and wider Niagara community.

    Choir auditions are now open and will be running online throughout the summer for two ensembles: University Choir and Sora Singers.

    University Choir is a mixed voice ensemble for soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices and is open to all members of the Brock community, including students, faculty and staff.

    Sora Singers (formerly the Brock Women’s Choir) is an upper-voice ensemble for anyone with a soprano or alto voice. Auditions for Sora Singers are open to the Brock community as well as the wider Niagara community.

    Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor of Music at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) and Artistic Director of Brock University Choral Activities, is hopeful that choir members will be able to sing together in person, pending public health and Brock University protocols.

    “It has been a really tough year and as singers, we are all feeling rusty,” she said. “Building our vocal technique will certainly be the top priority when we convene in the fall to rebuild our singing community.”

    While the past year posed challenges for Brock’s choirs, Rensink-Hoff feels there were key lessons learned through experimentation with digital platforms, which she hopes will be integrated into the program going forward.

    “Because we are all familiar with collaborative opportunities in online formats, this coming year we will be virtually welcoming several composers whose works we will be studying and performing,” she said.

    Diversity and inclusion are also top of mind for Rensink-Hoff as the she plans for the coming season.

    “I am committed to diversifying our performance repertoire and spending more intentional time together exploring the voices of under-represented composers and communities,” she said.

    All audition details and rehearsal times can be found on the Sing at Brock! website. The audition is a two-part process involving a singing recording followed by a meeting over Zoom. Students who are interested can enrol in a choir for credit as a Brock course elective.

    The last day to audition for both the University Choir and Sora Singers will be Monday, Sept. 13.

    Choir rehearsal and performance formats are subject to change and will be delivered in adherence with Brock and public health protocols.

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

  • Fine and Performing Arts grads poised to shape the future with creative skills

    Image caption: Soo Myung Oh, at her piano, will graduate with a Bachelor of Music and plans to perform professionally in addition to pursuing teaching performance after completing her degree at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Image credit: Photo by Shannon Peebles, Ventures & Vows Photography.

    Students graduating from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) are ready to make their mark in the world.

    From creating innovative art in support of social justice causes, to utilizing professional art practices in the mental health field and pursuing careers in live performance bringing joy to audiences, MIWSFPA grads are drawing on their academic experiences and diverse skill sets to propel them forward on their career paths.

    For Ian Ball, who will graduate Friday, June 18 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts and History of Art and Visual Culture, continuing his creative work in digital media is a top priority.

    Music graduand Nick Braun will continue to write and record his own music after graduation.

    Ball is currently working with Toronto-based [elephants collective]’s Telethon Telethon! This collaborative project is a monthly digital performance experiment that aims to provide aid to various social justice causes and is currently supporting the Anishnawbe Health Foundation.

    Ball is looking forward to the easing of public health restrictions within the arts when it is safe to do so.

    “I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to develop a follow-up to work I co-created in 2019’s Nuit Blanche in Toronto,” he said.

    Combining his interests in dramatic arts and visual culture, Ball will be pursuing a master’s degree in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University in the fall, with hopes of one day completing a PhD and working in the cultural field.

    As Music graduand Soo Myung Oh looks to the future, she reflects on her time at Brock. The busy mother of three pursued her degree during the day, reserving her evenings for family time.

    “My four years in the Music program were about the process of identifying myself as a musician,” said Oh, who graduates Friday with a Bachelor of Music, Concentration in Music Education and Minor in Applied Linguistics. “Although I played piano for years in my youth, I was completely new to public performance and I had to learn how to play music and deliver it to audiences.”

    Oh fondly remembers the experience of performing in the Recital Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, adjacent to the MIWSFPA in downtown St. Catharines. Performing on a professional stage was a defining moment for the musician.

    “I can still recall the way the piano sounded as I played, and the interaction between the sound and the air in the hall on that special day. It was simply an amazing experience,” she said.

    After she graduates, Oh will continue to perform professionally and would like to eventually teach performance, inspired by her concentration in Music Education. Her current interest for further study is therapeutic recreation and gerontology.

    “Since my musical experience at Brock started from my own experience of retrieving memories, and my process for preparing my solo piano recital relied heavily on the cognitive process of music and brainwork, I became interested in the connection between the two and implications of aging,” Oh said.

    “My degree has allowed me to write music and produce my own recordings,” Braun said.Nick Braun, who will also graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, is excited to continue writing music.

    His studies have given him a unique skill set “to make modern, unique and refreshing music,” he said, adding his style fits somewhere in the alternative rock realm.

    Braun will take some time after graduation to work locally, save money and continue to work on his personal music projects.

    “Between me and my network of friends in the music industry, I will be taking on opportunities to work with various people and explore our creative potential as young artists,” Braun said.

    Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture graduand Maya Meyerman is excited to continue her scholarly and creative work in the cultural field and will pursue a graduate certificate in the arts and culture sector at Humber College in September.

    Graduand Maya Meyerman, who will receive her Bachelor of Arts in Studies in Arts and Culture with a concentration in Cultural Management on Friday, discovered her career pathway through diverse experiences within the interdisciplinary program.

    Gaining a critical view of contemporary culture and connecting with the local arts scene led Meyerman to pursue a graduate certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management at Humber College.

    “I’m excited to pursue opportunities in Toronto and build upon my experience at Brock,” she said. “The MIWSFPA is such an inspiring place to learn and connect with the arts, and I have made deep connections with the arts community.”

    Meyerman recently produced an arts festival for youth ages 13 to 30 in Kingston and will be spending the summer preparing for next year’s edition.

    “As someone who didn’t want to study just one branch of the arts, the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture and the MIWSFPA provided me with a creative and safe venue to explore my personal interests, introducing me to the many versions of what ‘the arts’ can be,” she said. “I know that it has prepared me to take on the next step towards my career in the arts industry.”

    Visual Arts (VISA) graduand Kendra Bosse has developed her art practice and realized her passion for photography as therapy.

    Bosse, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Psychology and Minor in Indigenous Studies, is committed to engaging with her art to positively impact individuals experiencing mental health issues and addiction.

    “After graduation, I will be attending Canadore College to study mental health and addictions counselling to gain experience in the field before pursuing graduate school,” she said.

    Bosse and fellow VISA graduand Cree Tylee are capping off their final year at Brock with a double exhibition “treasured | (A)part,” currently on view virtually in the VISA Gallery on the first floor of the MIWSFPA until Monday, July 5.

    Relationship as Deep as The Ocean, 2021, Cyanotype on Cotton (24 in x 36in) by Kendra Bosse as featured in the double exhibition “treasured” and “(A)part.”

    The bodies of work were developed under the supervision of Visual Arts Chair and Associate Professor Amy Friend for the students’ independent studies courses in the Visual Arts.

    “The double exhibition of treasured and (A)part was a cathartic way to finish the end of an unconventional graduating year,” said Tylee, who will graduate with her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Minor in the History of Art and Visual Culture. “Working with Visual Arts Media Resource Co-ordinator Max Holten-Andersen to create a virtual exhibition for our show (including a 360 virtual tour) was an insightful experience that wouldn’t have happened under different circumstances.”

    Even though they were unable to have a traditional gallery opening, the ability to learn and become well-versed in the creation of virtual exhibits is a valuable skill the students will take with them, she said, calling it a “silver lining.”

    Title wall of Cree Tylee’s body of work entitled (A)part. Tylee describes this exhibition as a “very introspective and multi-faceted body of work with multiplicities of concepts I’ll be able to draw on for further graduate studies.”

    Both artists agree that bringing this final exhibition into fruition has been an enlightening process, acknowledging that completing a thesis under the supervision of Friend and having a final exhibition made their final year very fulfilling.After graduation, Tylee, recipient of the Distinguished Graduating Student Award in Visual Arts, will be taking an accelerated studio program in Ceramics at the Haliburton School of Art + Design while preparing for further graduate studies.

    The virtual exhibition and 360 gallery tour of treasured | (A)part can be viewed on the Visual Arts website.Fine and Performing Arts grads poised to shape the future with creative skills

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, News, Uncategorised