Faculty & Instructors

  • The Department of Music on stage!

    Pictured above is a previous season performance of the Guitar Extravaganza (top), The Walker Quartet (left to right: Anna Hughes (2nd violin), Faith Lau (viola), Gordon Cleland (cello) and Vera Alexeeva (1st violin)), and pianist Dr. Karin Di Bella (bottom right).

    This weekend the Department of Music is presenting two spectacular concerts that will surely be among the highlights of the fall season.

    On Friday Nov. 10, as part of the Walker Cultural Leader Series, Encore! Professional Concert Series presents: The Walker Quartet with faculty pianist Karin Di Bella. The Walker Cultural Leader Series was generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker.

    Now in its second season, the Department of Music’s resident Walker String Quartet and Karin Di Bella present a program of two of the most iconic works in the string quintet repertoire, the Piano Quintets by Schumann in E-flat Major and Shostakovich in G Minor.

    This concert takes place on Friday Nov. 10, 2017 in the Partridge Concert Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, starting at 7:30 pm. For more information, please visit the Department concert events webpage and the ExperienceBU page.

    Then on Saturday Nov. 11 as part of our continuing celebration of Canada’s 150 year of Confederation, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre is once again the venue for the ever-popular Guitar Extravangaza III including a special Canada 150 performance of Carpe Noctem.

    Brock University’s annual celebration of the guitar commences at 7:30 pm on Saturday Nov. 11 in the Cairns Recital Hall.  An orchestra of 60 guitars comprised of Brock students, local amateurs and professionals will be directed by Brock University Guitar Instructor, Timothy Phelan. Special guest soloists include Matthew McAllister (Scotland) and Emma Rush (Canada).  The concert features a tribute to the late Warren Stirtzinger with George Kane (USA) and James Bryan McCollum (Canada), music composed by Timothy Phelan and the World Premiere of Carpe Noctem – a six-movement work written especially for this occasion by Niagara composer Floyd Turner.  For more information, please visit the Department concert events webpage and the ExperienceBU page.

    Tickets for both events can be ordered from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office (905.688.0722) or from their website.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Encore! Professional Concert Series, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Special Events

  • Percussion Improv at the MIWSFPA

    Join us for an outdoor improv performance!

    Percussionist Devon Fornelli will converse in real time with the city soundscape using traditional instruments and found materials.

    Mr. Fornelli has extensive experience as a soloist, an orchestral percussionist, and as a chamber instrumentalist. His range of talent covers all the diverse areas of percussion and drums from the orchestral percussion section to contemporary art music, and most traditions in-between. This is his third improv performance in the Raceway that runs adjacent to the MIWSFPA.

    The performance will take place in the Lancaster, Brooks & Welch LLP Pathway, between the MIWSFPA and FOPAC.

    In case of rain, the performance will be relocated to the MIWSFPA lobby.

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

  • Brock University welcomes Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff!

    Brock University welcomes Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff to the Department of Music at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts.

    Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff is the newly appointed Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Education at Brock University. She has also been named Artistic Director of the Niagara-based Avanti Chamber Singers.

    Former conductor of the McMaster University Choir and founder of the McMaster Women’s Choir, Dr. Rensink-Hoff completed her Doctorate and Master of Music degree at Western University, pursuing additional studies at the Eastman School of Music Conducting Institute, the Voice Care Network of St. John’s University, Minnesota, and the University of Toronto. She has engaged in master-classes under conductors Helmuth Rilling, Joseph Flummerfelt, Anton Armstrong, Dale Warland and the late Sir David Willcocks.

    Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada, Rachel Rensink-Hoff is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting awarded by the Ontario Arts Council. In 2015, her McMaster Women’s Choir was awarded first prize in the National Choral Competition for Amateur Choirs of the CBC and Choral Canada. That same year she was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award at McMaster University.

    She publishes regularly in the Choral Journal of the American Choral Directors’ Association as well as in Choral Canada’s Anacrusis and The Canadian Music Educator. Rachel works frequently as guest conductor, adjudicator, conference presenter and workshop clinician. Current engagements include a session on Canadian and American women choral composers at the 2017 national conference of the American Choral Directors’ Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a presentation on Canadian choral music at the 2017 World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona, Spain. She also looks forward to serving as guest conductor of this year’s 2017 Nova Scotia Provincial Youth Choir.

    Tags: , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Faculty & Instructors, News, Viva Voce Choral Series

  • Singing to National Success!

    Dr. Brian Power is seen here (wearing a red bow tie, centre-right) singing with Pax Christi Chorale at the Christmas concert for 2016.

    Dr. Brian Power, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor in the Department of Music and tenor in the Pax Christi Chorale (Toronto) sung to national success when the Pax CC Chamber Choir won first place in the chamber choir category of the 2017 CBC Choral Competition, announced Sunday.

    Says Dr. Power, “Some of Canada’s finest choirs participated in this event. The competition was stiff and the rules were strict, so we’re feeling quite satisfied with the result.”

    The biannual National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs  is ‎a project of Choral Canada  in partnership with the CBC and the Canada Council. A treasured Canadian choral tradition, the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs inspires choirs to strive for excellence, provides visibility for amateur choirs of all ages, and encourages the creation and performance of Canadian works. The Competition is open to all Canadian amateur choirs and attracts diverse participants from coast to coast. The finalists and winners are selected by a national jury of esteemed Canadian choral conductors. Each choir that enters the Competition must perform an original Canadian piece and prizes are given for the Best Performance of a Canadian Work and the Best Performance of a Canadian Contemporary Work. Cash prizes are awarded for the top performances in each category. The national jury may also award special accolades to outstanding choirs. Seventy choirs from across the country participated in the 2017 competition.

    Pax Christi Chorale is known for presenting dramatic choral masterpieces, performing with passion, conviction and heart. Past Artistic Director Stephanie Martin’s imaginative programming engages audiences with dramatic story-telling through oratorio and rarely-heard masterworks. Since its inception in 1987, the choir has grown to over 100 singers, and has performed ambitious works including the North American première of Parry’s 1888 oratorio Judith and Elgar’s masterpiece The Kingdom at Koerner Hall, Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ, and Britten’s Saint Nicolas. The Pax Chamber Choir also participated in R. Murray Schafer’s monumental 1000-performer extravaganza Apocalypsis at the 2015 Luminato Festival. Martin’s final concert, capping 20 years at the helm of Pax Christi, took place in April, 2017: the Canadian première of Elgar’s The Apostles. Stephanie Martin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Music of the Faculty of Arts at York University.

    The intense recording project by the Pax Christi Chorale was prepared by Stephanie Martin over a period of many months and submitted to the jury in March, 2017. The winning entry featured “How sweet the moonlight sleeps” (text from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice), a new work by emerging Toronto-based composer Jared Tomlinson. Recordings made by the Pax Christi Chorale for the 2017 competition can be heard on their Soundcloud channel. Winners were announced on CBC Radio 2’s Choral Concert on June 25th, 2017.  Choral Concert, hosted by Katherine Duncan, presents great choral music from the Renaissance to the present day, sung by the top choirs from Canada and around the world.

    BRAVO! To Dr. Brian Power and the Pax Christi Chorale!

    prepared with material supplied by Choral Canada, Pax Christi Chorale  and CBC Radio 2.

    Tags: , , ,
    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Brock Music instructor nominated for St. Catharines Arts Award

    The Department of Music is proud to announce that Gordon Cleland has been nominated for the Emerging Artist award at this year’s St. Catharines Arts Awards! Gordon teaches cello here at the MIWSFPA, and plays principle cello with the Niagara Symphony, as well as working with the Niagara Youth Orchestra.

    More information can be found at this news entry on the main MIWSFPA website. Congratulations, Gordon! Good luck!

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

  • Dr. Brian Power joins the choir of Central Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, in their Good Friday performance

    Dr. Brian Power, choral tenor, will be singing in the first modern performance of the Requiem Mass by 18th-century French composer François Giroust, chapel composer to King Louis XVI of France. The work has likely not been heard since its composition in 1775, when it was performed for the King and Marie Antoinette at Versailles.

    Power joins the choir of Central Presbyterian Church, Hamilton for this modern premiere of a pre-Revolutionary French work performed as part of their annual Good Friday concert, April 14, 2017 at 8:00 PM.

    (Central Presbyterian Church: 165 Charlton Avenue West, Hamilton ON , L8P 2C8  – (905) 522-9098)

    See more in today’s Hamilton Spectator.

    Tags: , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Local choral groups release debut CD of Christmas music

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, November 08, 2012 | by )

    The Avanti Chamber Singers and Brock University Festival Chorus have released a new CD, entitled Voices of Niagara 3: Glorious Light, which features Christmas choral music written by local Niagara composers.

    This is first CD released featuring the 30-voice Avanti Singers and 60-voice Brock Chorus. Conductor and Brock associate professor of music Harris Loewen leads both ensembles, as well as other regional instrumentalists on the recording.

    The main work on the CD is the six-movement piece Gloria, composed by Peter Landey, associate professor of music at Brock, and sung in Latin by the combined groups. All of the works on this recording are unpublished and presented here for the first time.

    The music on Voices of Niagara 3: Glorious Light was recorded in multiple sessions at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake in May 2011 and May 2012, and at St. Thomas Anglican Church in St. Catharines in November 2011.

    The CD will be launched Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Avanti Chamber Singers concert happening at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, 31 Queenston St., St. Catharines.

    Information about tickets and start times for this event.

    The CD will also be on sale at the Brock University Choirs’ performance of Cantemus that takes place Saturday, Nov. 24 at Knox Presbyterian Church, 53 Church St., St. Catharines.

    The CD is available for online purchase from Brock’s Department of Music and the Avanti Chamber Singers.

    This is the third CD in the Voices of Niagara series. The previous two CDs by the Niagara Vocal Ensemble, also conducted by Loewen, are also still available.

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Viva Voce Choral Series

  • Brock Music professor elected Chair of national committee

    Dr. Brian E. Power, Department of Music

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, June 16, 2011)

    At the Annual Meeting of the Canadian University Music Society, held June 3-5, 2011 at Mt. Allison University, Brian E. Power was elected Chair of the Standing Committee of Institutional Members, a national body charged with consulting and advising on new university Music programs in Canada, monitoring existing programs, and providing nationally recognized guidelines for best practices in University Music curriculum and administration. Power has just completed two terms as Chair of Brock’s Music Department.

    Tags: ,
    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Recent Community Work By Harris Loewen

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, February 4, 2010)

    Harris Loewen served as clinician for a choral workshop for regional United Church choirs, held at First Grantham United Church, St. Catharines, on Jan. 16. He also served as a vocalist with the Lincoln and Welland Ambassadors Swing Band for a series of community service and dance events in Beamsville and St. Catharines on Nov. 7 and Dec. 10, 2009, and Jan. 2 and 23, 2010.

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

  • Music Faculty, Instructors & Staff Featured in New CD

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, January 21, 2010)

    Harris Loewen is the conductor on the Niagara Vocal Ensemble’s seasonal CD (released December 2009) entitled Voices of Niagara 2: A Niagara Noël. Instrumental musicians also performing on the CD include present and former faculty, instructors and staff: Karin di Bella, Jonathan Earp, Devon Fornelli, Ross Inglis, Michael Phelan and Laura Thomas.  As with the Niagara Vocal Ensemble’s first CD, all of the repertoire is by composers with a Niagara connection, including works by former Brock instructor John Butler, the late Professor Emeritus Ronald Tremain, alumni Penny Blake and  Matthew Tran-Adams, and current staff and faculty Anne Adams and Harris Loewen.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News