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Staff Bios

 

Leadership Team

 

Katherine Semcesen – Executive Director
(She/Her)

Maternity Leave

The CCOC is very pleased to welcome Katherine Semcesen to fill the new role of Executive Director of the CCOC.

Katherine comes to us with many years of management experience working in the arts and culture sector, most recently as the Associate Director of Education and Outreach for the Canadian Opera Company where her focus was on building partnerships within the community and developing engaging and inspiring programmes for young people, families and students, as well as adults.

She very much looks forward to collaborating with our amazing Artistic and Administrative teams to lead the CCOC into the New Year and for years to come with exciting creative opportunities for our choristers and our organization.

 

Kyra Millan - Artistic Director
(She/Her)

The CCOC is pleased to announce that Kyra Millan has been named our new Artistic Director. Since October, Kyra has been leading the development of new performance and programming initiatives for all our choristers. Kyra is an Artist Educator, Voice coach, Adjudicator, Opera Comedienne and proud CCOC parent.

A passionate and dedicated educator, over the past two decades, she has been the leading artist educator for the Canadian Opera Company, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Opera Atelier, and in over 200 TDSB and TCDSB schools. As a music teacher, Kyra runs her own private studio of aspiring professionals and professional singers and adjudicates throughout Ontario for numerous festivals including Kiwanis, ORMTA, and NATS.

From 2011 - 2016, Kyra was the founder and Artistic Director of Gleesical; a "create your own musical" theatre company for kids. Currently, she is one part of comedy duo "Millan & Faye," and has toured throughout Ontario, including peformances at Ottawa's Chamberfest and the Elora Festival, and she has written 8 comedy shows for Canadian Opera Company's RBA Series.

Kyra is thrilled to bring her comedic, energetic, and wildly creative programming to the CCOC and we are looking forward to building exciting new opportunities for all our choristers with her.

 

Teri Dunn – Music Director,
Conductor – Principal & Youth Chorus

(She/Her)

Teri has been the Music Director of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company since 2015. In addition, she is Dean of Choral Studies at the St. Michael’s Choir School. She has also held conducting posts with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Her choirs have been awarded first prize in the National Competition of Canadian Amateur Choirs. She has led several operas with the CCOC including the world premiere of Alice Ho’s The Monkiest King and a European tour of Hans Krasa’s Brundibar. She has prepared the CCOC for Canadian Opera Company productions  including La Boheme, Carmen, The Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel.

 

 

 

 

Artistic Staff

 

Andrea Donais
Head of the Junior Division, Intermediate and Ruby Chorus Conductor

(She/Her)

Andrea is a lyric soprano and choral conductor who has dedicated her career to teaching and inspiring young artists. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music. Andrea received her Master of Music degree from the University of Toronto in 2008; focusing much of her research on collaborative arts learning environments. Andrea is a Royal Conservatory of Music certified teacher in Voice and Piano.

Andrea was the Director of Choral Music at Pickering College before joining the Upper Canada Chorus as Director of Education in 2010-2018. Andrea is the Founder and Artistic Director of Donais Studios.

 

 

 

Asher Farber
Pianist – Ruby & Intermediate Choruses

(He/Him)

Asher Farber completed his Masters of Collaborative Piano Performance from the University of Toronto (2014) and his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Ottawa (2011). Ever since his musical debut at age four, Asher spent his early years in Ottawa, Canada, working through all ten grades of RCM, performing and competing in local concerts and festivals, often placing at the top of his class. Now situated and proudly serving the Toronto community, Asher remains true to the 'collaborative' title and nature of his education. Currently, Asher conducts and accompanies for several community based choirs In the GTA. He also frequently accompanies and collaborates with many singers and instrumentalists for performances, lessons, auditions, festivals, recordings, and competitions. He has been a repetiteur and vocal coach for a variety of operas, shows, and music festivals. 

 

 

Christina Faye
Accompanist – Principal & Intermediate Choruses

(She/Her)

Christina is an accomplished pianist making her home in Toronto. In 2007 she earned a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University, and graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Master of Music in 2009. Christina works with a number of choirs and opera/theatre organizations, currently including the Pax Christi Chorale, Canadian Children’s Opera Company, Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s ‘Singsation’ series. She holds the Principal Keyboard position with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and is the music director for Donway Covenant United Church. Recently, several tracks she recorded for StudioMDHR's hit video game Cuphead were featured on an album that reached #1 on the Jazz Billboard charts.

 

 

 

 

Hyejin Kwon
Accompanist – Youth Chorus

(She/Her)

Pianist and co-founder of Muse9 Production, Korean Canadian pianist Hyejin Kwon is currently based in Toronto, actively working as a vocal coach. She received her Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music degrees from Peabody Conservatory and an Artistic Diploma from University of Toronto Opera. She is also a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company's ensemble studio.

Hyejin has worked at the Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Children's Opera Company, University of Toronto Opera, Long Reach Opera Workshop, St. Andrews Opera Workshop by the Sea, Repertory Opera Theatre in Washington, Lyric Opera Baltimore, and Shoestring Opera, and was a vocal accompanying fellow at Aspen Music Festival. 

 

 

 

Sophia Mackey
Rehearsal Assistant
– Butterfly Chorus
(She/Her)

Sophia is a CCOC alumni with a passion for working with children in the performing arts! She recently completed her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance Degree with Honours from the University of Toronto, and is so excited to be joining the CCOC team. She has spent numerous summers choreographing and music directing children’s camp productions with Triple Threat Theatre, and has had the opportunity to perform in several of their shows. Sophia has very recently started her own company House to Home Theatrics, providing virtual artistic entertainment for children, and looks forward to what this year will bring!

 

 

 

Adine Mintz
Apprentice Chorus Conductor, OPERAtion KIDS Artist-Educator

(She/Her)

Since 2014, Adine Mintz has been a conductor and educator for the CCOC. She is the conductor of the Apprentice Chorus and the primary artist/educator & outreach coordinator for CCOC’s in-school programming, inspiring students all over Toronto by creating original operas with them. With over 25 years of experience conducting operas and ensembles, her past credits include music director of the St. Clement Community Orchestra, director of the music school at Cosmo Music and musical director of Il barbiere di seviglia by Rossini at U of T. She has a Bachelor’s in Music Education and a Masters in Conducting from the University of Toronto. She is also a proud mother of two CCOC choristers.

 

 

 

Caroline Pai
Butterfly Chorus Conductor, Accompanist, Apprentice Chorus
(She/Her)

Caroline is native to Toronto and has been playing the piano from an early age. She has her Bachelor degrees in Music and Education at the University of Toronto. Caroline has accompanied various music schools across the GTA such as the North York Toronto Suzuki School, Toronto Suzuki School, Dixon Hall School of Music. When she is not playing the piano, you can find her sharing her passion for music at the Toronto French School, teaching elementary music and strings.

 

 

 

 

Autumn Smith
Drama Coach

(She/Her)

Autumn is a director, curator, educator and innovator. She is the current Artistic and Executive Director of Littlewoodsmith, a theatre company that brings quality theatre performance and education to the residents of Muskoka. Recently she worked for Canadian Stage as the Curator and Producer of Community Engagement and Education. Autumn holds an MFA from York University in Theatre Direction with an Emphasis on Teaching and is a conservatory trained actor (Oxford School of Drama/UK). Ms. Smith is a member of the Faculty at AMPD (York University) Centennial College and University of Toronto. Most recently, Autumn curated and directed Territorial Tales for Canadian Stage, Oh, What A Lovely War! for the 19/20 Hart House season.

Autumn also has a musical theatre podcast that she co-hosts called Before The Downbeat.

 

 

 

 

 

Administrative Staff

Mala Perera
Financial Services

(She/Her)
Mala started at the CCOC in 2006 and performs all bookkeeping and financial functions.

 

 

Angela Sweeting
Programs Administrator

(She/Her)

Angela is a photographer, poet, and banjo player who has spent over a decade working in operations, coordination, programming, administration and stage management.  She has covered a wide variety of roles with Luminato, Regent Park Film Festival, TIFF, Pride Toronto, The Fringe Festival, Tafelmusik, National Aboriginal Day Live, and Harbourfront Centre (to name a few).

In her off hours she is active within social justice movements - her heart firmly in the communities around houselessness, harm reduction, climate justice, Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Sovereignty. In her work, her art and her activism, Angela is focused on community, care and showing up for each other.

 

 

 

 
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