Jenny Crober: Artistic Director, Conductor
JENNY CROBER, B.Mus., B.Ed. (UWO) has been a collaborative pianist, coach and teacher for over 40 years. She studied piano with the distinguished pianist, coach and clinician Gwen Beamish MacMillan and choral conducting with the legendary Deral Johnson. Ensembles she has performed with include the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Operetta Theatre, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and the Orpheus Choir of Toronto. She has worked with several noted conductors, including Elmer Iseler, Lydia Adams, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor and Robert Cooper, and with numerous renowned composers, including Norwegian/NYC-based composer/pianist Ola Gjeilo, British conductor/composer Bob Chilcott, and Canadian composers Andrew Balfour, Sarah Quartel, Matthew Emery, Elise Letourneau, Stephen Chapman and Stephen Hatfield.
Jenny has had a richly varied career as a professional musician: choral conductor, collaborative pianist, choral arranger, choral accompanist, piano teacher, vocal coach, clinician, adjudicator, dance accompanist and composer, chorister and a cappella jazz vocalist. Several of her choral arrangements have been premiered by the VOCA Chorus of Toronto in collaboration with renowned guest artists, including guitarist Michael Occhipinti and percussionists Jamie Drake and Ray Dillard, and have been performed by choral ensembles (including the Bach Children’s Chorus) both in Canada and the U.S.
Jenny has also performed with/composed for modern dancers, was a founding member of and composed for the vocal jazz sextet “Union Station” (heard on CBC Radio), and has performed as a back-up vocalist and pianist on several CDs. She was the collaborative pianist on singer Patricia O’Callaghan’s critically-acclaimed classical/cabaret debut CD, “Youkali”, recipient of a “Critic’s Choice” review in Billboard Magazine, and in videos for Bravo TV.
Jenny has been invited to conduct several choral workshops, including Toronto Mendelssohn Choir ‘Singsation’ events and choral/orchestral CAMMAC Readings.
For several summers, Jenny has conducted choirs, coached and accompanied at Lake Field Music Camp, near Peterborough, Ontario. She has been invited to participate in various capacities (guest conductor, collaborative pianist, coach, and chamber clinician) with numerous ensembles, including the Elmer Iseler Singers, The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Young Voices Toronto, the Bach Children’s Chorus and CAMMAC. Last season, she greatly enjoyed her role as guest director of the Achill Choral Society in Orangeville, Ontario.
She was a member of the Claude Watson voice and piano audition panel for several seasons, and is a collaborative pianist and coach there, and at Rosedale Heights School for the Arts. She has been the pianist/coach for TDSB massed choir projects and at numerous public schools.
She was honoured to co-conduct with Pierre Perron a mass choir of singers (including 40 VOCA Chorus members) from several Canadian provinces in a performance of Scott Macmillan’s “Celtic Mass for the Sea” at Carnegie Hall in May 2015.
Jenny was also honoured to have been asked by the renowned composer Ola Gjeilo to assemble a group of choristers (as part of a massed choir) to perform his major work, “Dreamweaver” with full orchestra and the composer at the piano – at Carnegie Hall in April 2018. She was both thrilled and honoured to then perform the Canadian Premiere of this stunning choral/orchestral work by Mr. Gjeilo at VOCA’s May 2018 “Dreamsongs” concert.
In April 2020, Jenny and Jamie Drake co-produced VOCA’s first virtual choir video, Morten Lauridsen’s Sure On This Shining Night, which resulted in a glowing review in a Mirvish Productions newsletter, and currently has over 7,000 views. In April 2022, she and VOCA were thrilled to present their long-awaited “Star Songs” concert at Eastminster United, featuring guests Shawn Grenke, organ, Colleen Allen, soprano sax and Jamie Drake, percussion, which included a World Premiere of the stunning “Anang (A Star)” by celebrated Cree composer, Andrew Balfour. “Anang (A Star)” has now been published by Cypress Music Publications; VOCA’s premiere recording is the composition’s official sound file on the website. She was thrilled to conduct VOCA in front of almost 1,000 people at Roy Thomson Hall (part of its 2020 Noon hour Choir & Organ Concert Series) in April 2023, then honoured to make her Koerner Hall debut in September 2023 as collaborative pianist with Andrew Balfour and a professional vocal ensemble at its Commemorate Truth and Reconciliation event.
Dakota Scott-Digout: Collaborative Pianist
Originally from Nova Scotia, Toronto-based pianist DAKOTA SCOTT-DIGOUT has been heard in recital across North America as both a collaborator and soloist, gaining praise particularly for his performances of chamber music and art song. Dakota serves on the artistic team of the Toronto Children’s Chorus, the VOCA Chorus of Toronto, and has enjoyed collaborations with the Elmer Iseler Singers and That Choir. Recent projects have included an ongoing collaboration with Echo Chamber Toronto in their production A World Transformed, which intertwines art song and chamber music with dance. Additionally, Dakota was a featured artist alongside soprano Tracy Cantin and tenor Marcel d’Entremont during Debut Atlantic’s 2022/2023 concert season. Dakota is highly sought after in Toronto as a collaborative pianist, clinician, and serves as a pianist for voice performance classes at the University of Toronto.
Dakota holds degrees in piano performance from Université de Montréal and Mount Allison University. Currently, he is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto where he was named the 2020 winner of the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Prize in Accompanying, awarded to the top collaborative pianist at the Faculty of Music. He has further refined his skills at the Orford Music Academy, Barachois Summer Music Festival, Musique sur Mer with pianist Susan Manoff, and was an Art of Song Fellow as part of the Toronto Summer Music Festival in the summer of 2021. His principal teachers have included Stephen Runge, Jimmy Brière, and Steven Philcox. Particularly passionate about French vocal repertoire, Dakota’s research interests are centred around early twentieth century performance practice and the mélodies of Gabriel Fauré.
Noelle Slaney: Soprano Lead, Soloist
Both on and off stage, soprano NOELLE SLANEY is unapologetically herself. Born and raised in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, she is an active performer of opera and concert repertoire and strives to challenge the way people think about the world in every performance. Praised for her “lovely, rich tone” and “enviable coloratura”, Noelle was one of eight finalists in the Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition in 2018, and was awarded second place in the vocal category of the Federation of Music Festivals’ National Competition in 2016.
Recent highlights include Laurie Moss in “The Tender Land“, Berta in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia“, and Mme Silberklang in “Der Schauspieldirektor” (University of Toronto Opera), as well as Carlotta in the Atlantic Canadian debut of “Phantom of the Opera” (Opera on the Avalon). A lover of contemporary music projects, she has added her voice to performances of excerpts of R. Murray Schafer’s “Wolf Music” and “Patria IV” (Octatonic Decadence), Escape Room and Disobedience (University of Toronto Opera Student Composer Collective), and “A Window to a Dream: beloved operatic arias and choruses performed for the first time in Farsi” (Cultural Interchange – 360).
Noelle is an interdisciplinary artist and can often be found powerlifting at the gym. Bridging the gap between vocal pedagogy and kinesiology has been an obsession of hers for the past few years, and has led her to find success in both her individual practice and her private teaching. Noelle holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in vocal performance from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Master’s degree in Opera from the University of Toronto.
Zoitsa Gotziaman: Alto Lead, Soloist (Fall 2023)
Ensemble highlights for mezzo-soprano ZOITSA GOTZIAMAN include singing with Canzona, Dead of Winter, Xara Choral Theatre, and being a Toronto Chamber Consort member with the Toronto Chamber Choir. This season she’s excited to join The Nathaniel Dett Chorale and the VOCA Chorus of Toronto.
She holds a certificate in ASL and Deaf Studies from George Brown College, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Manitoba under the tutelage of Tracy Dahl.
Zoë loves running around the operatic stage, and has been in over 30 operas/operettas. Her favourite roles performed include Hansel in “Hansel and Gretel” and Bradamante in “Alcina”.
This season, she continues to conduct the Butterfly Chorus of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, and has begun teaching Music and Movement at Sistema Toronto.
Amanda Weatherall: Alto Lead, Soloist (Spring 2024)
Mezzo-soprano AMANDA WEATHERALL holds her MMus of vocal literature and performance from Western University. She is from Cranbrook, British Columbia, where she had her first taste of the stage. The highlight of her Cranbrook performances was performing with Fort Steele Heritage Town as various historical residents.
Amanda was thrilled to take part in the Yulanda M Faris Young Artist Program with Vancouver Opera. She performed as The Wife in the Canadian premiere of “The Music Shop: The Opera”, and as Carmen in “Carmen: Up Close and Personal”, a new adaptation of the classic work by Bizet during her time there. Her other operatic credits include the title role in Bizet’s Carmen (Western), the chorus in Verdi’s “Otello” (Canadian Opera Company), Romeo in Bellini’s “i Capuleti e i Montecchi” (Opera NUOVA), Fox in Janáček’s “Cunning Little Vixen” (NUOVA), Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (NUOVA), Meg Page in Verdi’s “Falstaff” (Western), and Third Lady in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (Western).
Amanda has performed with Tapestry Opera’a Songbook XI, and with the Symphony of the Kootenays in multiple concerts. Most recently, she sang Filippyevna in Highlands Opera Studio’s production of “Eugene Onegin”. She is looking forward to performing the role of Mrs. Ott in Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah” with Toronto City Opera very soon.
David Walsh: 1st Tenor Lead, Soloist (Fall 2023)
Tenor DAVID WALSH, born and raised in Toronto, finished his Diploma of Opera Performance at the University of Toronto with Honours in 2022.
Since graduation, David has participated in a wide range of vocal performances. A highlight of the upcoming 2023/24 season will be his performance as tenor soloist for Chorus Niagara’s ‘Messiah’.
This past summer, he debuted the role of the Governor/Vanderdendur in North York Concert Orchestra’s production of ‘Candide’, as well as El Remendado in No Strings Theatre’s production of ‘Carmen’. In early 2023, David made his debut with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra as Count Almaviva in a performance of ‘The Barber of Seville’. In Fall 2022, David sang with the Canadian Opera Company Chorus in both Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ and Wagner’s ‘The Flying Dutchman’, and will be performing with them again in the Spring. He made his role debut as Martin in Aaron Copland’s opera ‘The Tender Land’ in Spring 2022 with U of T Opera. A highlight of 2022 was when he performed as the tenor soloist in Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ with Chorus Niagara and Robert Cooper. At U of T Opera in Fall 2021, he made his role debut as Count Almaviva in ‘The Barber of Seville’.
Along with being passionate about singing, David is also an avid biker. This form of transportation is the way he practises a lot of his repertoire. So, if you ever see a blur of red hair and hear some Rossini or Fauré on the streets of downtown Toronto, you have most likely encountered David Walsh.
Evan Morin: 1st Tenor Lead, Soloist (Spring 2024)
Tenor EVAN MORIN has been singing since the age of ten. He recently completed his Bachelor of Voice Performance at Wilfrid Laurier University, studying with soprano Leslie Fagan, and is currently studying with tenor Darryl Edwards at the University of Toronto.
Evan has won numerous awards at local, provincial, and international competitions, including four Royal Conservatory of Music gold medals for the highest examination scores in Ontario and Quebec.
In the choral scene, Evan has performed with several prominent choirs in the Waterloo and Toronto areas. A lover of both musical theatre and opera, Evan grew up performing in musicals with a variety of community ensembles. Musical theatre highlights include a variety of roles, ranging from Oliver in Lionel Bart’s “Oliver!” to Mike in Marvin Hamlisch’s “A Chorus Line“. More recently, Evan has performed in operas and operettas in the Waterloo and Toronto areas, including Massenet’s “Cendrillon“, Poulenc’s “Dialogue des Carmelites“, Copland’s “The Tender Land” and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance“.
In addition to singing, Evan enjoys swimming, classic novels and tabletop puzzles. He also keeps himself busy as a third-year law student at the University of Toronto.
Adam Wicks: 1st Tenor Lead, Soloist (Spring 2024)
Drawing on their experience as a tenor, producer, arranger and musical director, ADAM WICKS (they/them) produces unorthodox music-making opportunities and multimedia presentations. “Catch and Release” was one such event, where the intersectional quality of our lives was explored by merging live music with dance and video. Hailing from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Adam studied voice (as well as euphonium and tuba) at Memorial University of Newfoundland with E. Mark Murphy, Dr. Jane Leibel and Meg Herder. They moved to Toronto in Fall 2021, where they have been an active performer since that time.
Credits include: Händel’s “Messiah” (2023) with the Durham Community Choir, “Orphée et Eurydice” (2023) and “Dido and Aeneas” (2022) with Opera Atelier, performances with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale (2022 to present), performances with the Etobicoke Centennial Choir (2021 to present), Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” with Kittiwake Dance Theatre (2016 to 2020), Puccini’s “Tosca” (2018), Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking” (2017) and Estacio’s “Ours” (2016, 2018) with Opera on the Avalon, and Toby in Menotti’s “The Medium” (2018) with Memorial University’s Opera Workshop.
Adam spends their free time writing high-fantasy works and transcribing and arranging video game soundtracks, including their favourite, Cuphead.
Carlo Cormier: 2nd Tenor Lead, Soloist
CARLO CORMIER, an Acadian tenor born in Moncton, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Université de Moncton, and is pursuing a Master’s in Opera at the University of Toronto.
His musical journey began with piano, and he distinguished himself at renowned music festivals, while also performing with the university’s chamber music ensembles. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree in biology, Carlo’s fervour for classical singing burgeoned, compelling him to commit to it as a full-time endeavour. He further refined his skills at esteemed institutions, including the Domaine Forget de Charlevoix, the Breno Italy International Music Academy and the St. Andrew’s Opera Workshop.
Noteworthy accomplishments include his portrayal of Samuel in COSA Canada’s virtual production of “Pirates of Penzance”, as well as live performances in productions such as “Les Mousquetaires au Couvent” and “Too Many Sopranos” with the Université de Moncton’s Opera Workshop. Carlo has also enthralled audiences in concert settings, showcasing excerpts from Massenet’s “Cendrillon” and Lehár’s “La veuve joyeuse.” You can anticipate seeing him in upcoming roles, including Lo zio Vézinet in “Il cappello di paglia di Firenze” by Nino Rota, and as le Doyen in Jules Massenet’s “Cendrillon” with UofT Opera.
James Coole-Stevenson: 1st Bass Lead, Soloist (Fall 2023)
At the age of 23, baritone JAMES COOLE-STEVENSON has impressed audiences with his vocal maturity, musicality and dynamic performing range. His performance history includes Demitrius in Britten’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” as a participant in the Opera NUOVA performance program, where he also played the role of Clerval in the premier of Andrew Ager’s “Frankenstein“. As the lead in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” with the University of Ottawa, James was praised for his contemporary and thoughtful portrayal of the lascivious adulterer. He continued to develop his stage skills in Harry Somers’ “Louis Riel” as a chorus member at the National Arts Centre, Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” as Antonio with the University of Ottawa, chorus member in Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci“, and the role of Superintendent in Massenet’s “Cendrillon“.
James has appeared as a soloist in numerous sacred works, including Rossini’s “Petit Messe Solonelle”, the Fauré “Requiem“, and Brahms’ “Ein deutsches Requiem” with the Pontiac Enchanté Music Festival. He was also a solo recitalist in Music and Beyond’s Emerging Artist Series, which will be repeated this coming summer. He has won numerous awards, including the 2016 Ottawa Chamber Fest’s Rising Star Award, the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association’s Provincial Championship Prize, and the Schubert Performance Scholarship every year while he was a student at the University of Ottawa.
James is truly passionate about music, and hopes to pursue a career which integrates his interests in both vocal performance and computer science. Following his graduation from the University of Ottawa in 2021, he began a Master’s degree in Opera at the University of Toronto, where he is currently studying with the world-renowned countertenor Daniel Taylor.
Lachlan Mason: 2nd Bass Lead, Soloist (Fall 2023); 1st Bass Lead, Soloist (Spring 2024)
Bass-baritone LACHLAN MASON has a strong passion for choral singing that has grown since the age of 6, when he began singing as a boy chorister with the Australian Boys Choir and the St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Lachlan has had a wide range of experiences with Australian vocal ensembles, from sextets, to chamber groups to large chorales. He has sung numerous professional engagements with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and has toured to Eisteddfods and other competitions, both within Australia and internationally. In 2013 he helped form a sextet, ‘Perfect 6th’, which toured throughout Australia, and was invited to work with The King’s Singers on their Australian tour.
Since moving to Canada, Lachlan has enjoyed participating in Toronto’s exciting and busy choral scene. He sings with a range of choral groups in Toronto, and is comfortable performing in a variety of choral styles. Select groups include the Exultate Chamber Singers, Babεl Chorus, St Thomas Anglican Choir and Timothy Eaton Memorial Church Choir.
Parker Clements: 2nd Bass Lead, Soloist (Spring 2024)
Originally from Prince Edward Island, baritone PARKER CLEMENTS graduated with his Master’s in Music in Literature and Performance from the University of Western Ontario. While there, he had the opportunity to perform with the Opera Workshop as Escamillo (“Carmen“, 2017), and Marco (“Gianni Schicchi“, 2016), as well Don Giovanni at l’Accademia Europea dell’Opera (2017).
Since graduating, Parker has appeared as soloist in Handel’s “Messiah” with the Confederation Centre Chorus and members of the PEI Symphony, as well as Brahms’ “Requiem” with Luminous Ensemble (Charlottetown).
After moving to Toronto, he sang the role of The Lecturer in Dominick Argento’s solo baritone opera, “A Water Bird Talk” in a joint project with Opera by Request and Abridged Opera. He also performed in SOPAC’s (Ottawa) production of Menotti’s “The Telephone“.
Parker recently graduated from the University of Toronto Opera Diploma program, having played Bartolo in “Le Nozze du Figaro” and Edmund in the Canadian premiere production of Jonathan Dove’s “Mansfield Park“, based on the novel by Jane Austen.
Parker is also a two-time alumnus of the National Youth Choir of Canada (2014, 2016), working under the direction of Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and Michael Zaugg.