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Staff Bios

 

Leadership Team

 

Katherine Semcesen – Executive Director
(She/Her)

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)

On hiatus

Last season was very difficult for the CCOC in every possible way, with the pandemic cancelling all performances and fundraising efforts we had hoped to have. Kyra stepped in at a crucial moment to help the organization explore interesting projects and programming to keep our choristers engaged as the pandemic restrictions raged on.

With Katherine’s return, Kyra will be stepping back on artistic director duties temporarily, and Kyra & Katherine are working together to ensure a seamless transition.  The CCOC would like to thank Kyra for her dynamic leadership as the Artistic Director this past year. We thank you Kyra, and look forward to working together again soon!

 

 

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

 

Stacy Collins 
Assistant - Junior Choruses

(She/Her)

Stacy Jolena Collins (B.Mus, R.M.T.) is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, and received her Bachelor of Music with Honours in 2015. She studied piano with Boyanna Toyicha, and voice with Lynn Blaser and Frédérique Vézina. Stacy has worked as an educator, performer, music director, conductor, and accompanist with many organisations and venues. She currently teaches piano and voice through her own music studio. She is always grateful to share and teach in the Arts, and to see the love for them spread to the next generation.

 

 

Andrea Donais
Head of the Junior Division, Intermediate, Apprentice 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.

 

 

Christina Faye
Pianist – Principal 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
Pianist – 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. 

 

 

Adine Mintz
Opera Kids Online Teaching Artist 

(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.

 

 

Caroline Pai
Conductor - Butterfly Chorus, Pianist - Intermediate 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.

 

 

Chelsea Woolley
Head of Drama 

(She/Her)

Chelsea Woolley is a local playwright, arts educator, and certified teacher. She has written a number of plays for young audiences including, The Mountain which toured Eastern/Central Canada with Geordie Theatre, and later with Spinning Dot Theatre in Ann Arbor Michigan. Chelsea has developed work with the Tarragon Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, at The Banff Centre for the Arts, and with the National New Play Network’s Playwright’s Workshop at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. As an arts educator, Chelsea is the creator and program director of the Mixed-Arts Performance Partnership Program which connects young artists living in precarity to professional artistic mentorship. Chelsea holds a BEd and BA from the University of Lethbridge, and is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting Program.

 

 

 

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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