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2014 Musicians’ Biographies

St. Peter’s on-the-Rock

2014 Musicians’ Biographies

100th Anniversary Musicians

Helen Batten – Organ

Helen studied piano, organ, flute and bagpipes in hometown Guelph, Ontario. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario, studying organ under Dr. Larry Cortner. Principal instrument being organ, Helen was a busy accompanist, and was selected as Dean Dr. Hugh McLean’s accompanist for the Cecilian Singers University Womens’ Choir, and also as Dr. Don McKellar’s assistant conductor of the Faculty of Music’s Symphonic Band. Following graduation from the Faculty of Music, Helen completed a Bachelor of Education at Althouse College, where she conducted the Faculty of Education’s Jazz Ensemble. Since then she has taught music in both high school and privately. To follow another passion, Helen completed a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph, and been a landscape architect in Peterborough, Ontario for the past 28 years.

Currently Helen has the very great pleasure of playing the summer services at St. Peter’s on-the-Rock in Stony Lake, on the magnificent Phoenix digital pipe organ which was designed and built especially for St. Peter’s by Phoenix Organs in Peterborough, Ontario. This summer is the organ’s 10th season. When not playing at St. Peter’s, Helen is a substitute organist for several other organists, and was organist at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Lakefield during the late 1980s – early 1990s. As a piper, Helen plays regularly for various occasions, including highland dancers, civic events, weddings, funerals, graduations, retirements, birthdays, Robbie Burns celebrations, Remembrance Day ceremonies and … to escort the priest out of St. Peter’s on-the-Rock, down the aisle one last time, after the final Sunday of his/her 3-year term at the church.

Norman Engel – trumpet

Canadian trumpeter Norman Engel enjoys a richly diversified career, performing on both modern and historical instruments. He is one of a new generation of players who feels at home in all genres of music. Mr. Engel performs extensively as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player.

On modern trumpet he has had the pleasure of working with the Toronto Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, National Ballet of Canada, Esprit Orchestra, Hannaford Street Silver Band, and the Stratford Festival among others. He is also active in Toronto's thriving theatre community, having performed in the orchestras of Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Ragtime, Cinderella, West Side Story, and was the first trumpeter to play the world premier production of Lord of the Rings in Toronto.


Ruth Farrow - Piano

Ruth is a B.Mus. graduate of the University of Saskatchewan in Regina, and holds an ARCT in piano. She has accompanied recitalists and RCM exam students extensively and enjoys teaching all levels of piano in different genres. She has taught high school music and supply taught in schools in Toronto and Kitchener, and has been a substitute organist in several churches in Regina and Toronto. Ruth has been actively involved at St. Peters-on-the-Rock as a Sunday School teacher and pianist. She and her husband Dr. Grant Farrow live in Toronto and spend their summers at Stony.

Margaret Fay – Bassoon

A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Margaret is currently a doctoral student at Indiana University, where she studies bassoon with William Ludwig. She was a member of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada for two seasons, and has performed as a substitute musician with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Opera Ontario, and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. She performed in the live round of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in May 2011 as a member of Trio Pistachio and performed her composition Canine Miniatures at the 2012 International Double Reed Society Conference with oboist Roger Roe. Margaret earned an MA in Music Theory from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Music in Bassoon Performance from Ithaca College, a Diploma in Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto. Margaret is an associate instructor in the music theory department and has served as an instructor for T151, T152 Honors, T251, and T252. In her spare time, she enjoys running, all board games (especially Scrabble and Settlers of Catan), ping pong, baking, and reading. She is married to oboist and fellow IU doctoral student Graham Mackenzie.

Jeanne Lamon – Violin

Music Director of Tafelmusik since 1981, violinist Jeanne Lamon has been praised by critics in Europe and North America for her strong musical leadership. In addition to performing with and directing Tafelmusik, Jeanne regularly guest directs symphony orchestras in North America and abroad. Upcoming and recent engagements include Les Violons du Roy, Detroit Symphony, l'Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), Orchestra London, Victoria Symphony, and Symphony Nova Scotia. She has won numerous awards for her work with Tafelmusik, including the Prix Alliance from the Alliance Française, the 1997 M. Joan Chalmers Award for Artistic Direction, and the prestigious Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2000, Jeanne Lamon was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her work with Tafelmusik. Jeanne Lamon holds two honorary Doctorates, one from York University and one from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She is passionate about teaching young professionals, which she does at the University of Toronto and through Tafelmusik’s artist training programmes. Jeanne stepped down as full-time Music Director of Tafelmusik in 2014 in order to devote more time to teaching, guest directing and pursuing various hobbies.


Blair Mackenzie – Violin                

Blair Mackenzie is Secretary-Treasurer of the Peterborough Symphony Orchesta. He recently retired following a 35 year career as a lawyer, primarily as a general counsel in the Canadian newspaper and communications industry. He has had an active record of community service as a volunteer. Blair and his wife Kathleen both play in the PSO, both on viola. They live in Lakefield. Blair also will play at summer services at St. Peter’s on-the-Rock on Stony Lake. Dr. A. W. Mackenzie who founded St. Peter’s in 1914 was his great-great-uncle.

Graham Mackenzie – Oboe

Graham Mackenzie will be joining Orchestra London as principal oboist in the fall of 2014. He has been principal oboist of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra since 2006, as well as the Niagara Symphony Orchestra since 2013. Maintaining the three positions simultaneously will be an exciting and unusual challenge! He was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for the 2009-2010 season, has performed frequently as principal oboist of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and has been engaged regularly as a freelance musician in Indianapolis, Winnipeg, Chicago, and many cities in Southern Ontario. He has been a member of the Tanglewood Music Centre, National Repertory Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West, the National Academy Orchestra, l’Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Graham earned a Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, studying with James Mason, and a Master of Music from DePaul University, studying with Eugene Izotov. He has completed two years of coursework toward a Doctor of Music at Indiana University, studying with Roger Roe and Linda Strommen. He has performed as soloist with the Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, Music Academy of the West, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Windsor Community Orchestras, as well as the Hamilton Philharmonic, playing concertos by Bach, Marcello, Mozart, and Strauss. An avid chamber musician, he is a founding member of Trio Pistachio, and has performed in many Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society concerts as well as the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He has also pursued chamber music studies at the Domaine Forget Music Academy, the Scotia Festival of Music, and Windfest.

In addition to his performing career, Graham is a passionate teacher. He maintains a studio of private oboe and piano students, has conducted orchestral excerpts masterclasses at Wilfrid Laurier University, and was co-founder of the
Tumble Reeds Music Studio in Windsor, Ontario. Through this studio, he and his wife co-directed a March Break music day camp and the Marentette Minstrels children’s choir. He believes that instilling love and enthusiasm for classical music is vitally important, and looks forward to doing this through various teaching and outreach activities in London. Graham has played at St. Peter’s many times in previous years and is Kathleen & Blair Mackenzie’s son.

Christina Mahler – cello

Dutch cellist Christina Mahler has served as principal cellist of the Tafelmusik Orchestra since 1981. Reviews often praise her rich sound, energetic playing and insightful musicianship. Christina is increasingly in demand as soloist, chamber musician and recitalist. She has played and recorded numerous concertos with Tafelmusik, including works by Boccherini, Haydn, Vivaldi, C.P.E. Bach and Leonardo Leo. Christina has been a member of the Ottawa-based string quartet, Quatuor Lumière, since 2006. In addition to teaching at Tafelmusik’s annual Baroque Summer Institute and the year-round Advanced Certificate of Performance at the University of Toronto, Ms. Mahler enjoys giving masterclasses at various universities, as well as private lessons at home. In her spare time, she is an avid potter and enjoys relaxing in the summers at her cottage in the Kawarthas - See more at: http://www.tafelmusik.org/about/orchestra/bios/christina-mahler#sthash.yMgFGe7Q.dpuf


Paul Otway – trumpet

Paul Otway is a Toronto area freelance trumpet player. He works with groups including the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Windsor Symphony, Ontario Philharmonic, Niagara Symphony, and is a regular player with the Toronto Philharmonia.

Paul has also performed in a number of shows including The Sound of Music, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Wicked, Anne of Green Gables, My Fair Lady, and most recently the Dancap Production of South Pacific, among others. He has toured North America with productions of Chicago the Musical and South Pacific, and with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

He has been a regular substitute trumpeter with the Shaw Festival for the past three seasons, performing in productions including One Touch of Venus, Play Orchestra Play, Sunday in the Park with George, Follies (in Concert), and Wonderful Town. He will continue at Shaw this summer in productions of My Fair Lady and The Admirable Crichton.

Tim Skinner – Trombone

Tim Skinner studied music at Wilfrid Laurier University with Joseph Castello and has previously played with numerous ensembles including the WLU Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Symphony Brass Ensemble, The Kitchener-Waterloo Community Orchestra, the Oxford Symphony Orchestra and Brass Conspiracy. Tim currently performs with the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra where he also serves as the acting chair of the board of directors.

Morgan Strickland – voice

Canadian Soprano Morgan Strickland is quickly becoming recognized for her “jewel-like tone” (The Boston Globe) and “consistency of vocal beauty throughout her different emotional states” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer). A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Ms. Strickland began studying voice at the young age of 8. She competed for many years in the Ottawa chapter of the Kiwanis Music Festival and NATS Competitions, winning first prize many times. In 2002, she joined the Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus in performances of Roméo et Juliette, Madama Butterfly, and Johan de Meij’s symphony, “The Lord of the Rings.”
Ms. Strickland holds a double Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy from New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, where she studied under the tutelage of Lorraine Nubar. At NEC, Morgan performed the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Noémie in Cendrillon, and Gertrude in Humperdink’s Hänsel und Gretel. She has had the opportunity to sing in masterclasses with Martin Katz, Warren Jones, Carolyn Hart, David Lutz and Donna Brown and had the pleasure of appearing in Cameron Stowe’s Liederabend Concert Series. Other recent operatic roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with the Boston Summer Opera Project and La Prieur in Les Dialogues des Carmélites with the University of Ottawa, as well as Arabella in Arabella, Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, Marianne in Der Rosenkavalier, and Natalia in A Month In The Country (partial). She has spent three summers at the Académie Internationale d'Eté de Nice, France, working closely with Lorraine Nubar and Dalton Baldwin.
In December 2012, Ms. Strickland appeared in “Forgotten Melodies: The Songs of Claude Debussy,” a concert at Lincoln Center in celebration of the composer’s 150th year. Morgan has sung at St. Peter’s many times during the development of her career.

Bob Trennum – Guitar and Vocal

Bob Trennum has been involved in many musicals over the years in Peterborough,
Cobourg and Port Hope, Ontario. He enjoyed rolls such as Freddie in My Fair Lady,
Sir Lancelot in Camelot and Able Frake in State Fair. He has participated in many

children's plays and directed choirs for students in grades one to eight for about

thirty-two years. He recently played piano and sang in shows written by Beth

McMaster about Bob Hope, Noel Coward and Frank Sinatra. This year will be his

twenty-fifth year performing a Christmas show at Victoria Hall in Cobourg. Bob

is presently performing around Peterborough, Port Hope and Cobourg singing,

playing guitar, harmonica and piano, in his two man group called,

"Unrehearsed!" He has produced four CD's and enjoyed singing " Stony Lake"

from his CD, "A Lake Called Stony," at his favourite church, St. Peter's-On-The-Rock,

where he has played the organ for church services and weddings.


Sunday, August 10th Service

Noel Edison

Noel Edison is well established as one of the most versatile and charismatic conductors in the world today. As conductor and artistic director of two world-class Canadian ensembles, the large-scale Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the chamber-sized Elora Festival Singers, Edison is widely recognized and appreciated for his skillful interpretive work with both choir and orchestra.

The 2013/14 season marks Noel’s 17th season as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. His vision for the TMC is to create performances that connect audiences emotionally with some of the greatest traditional and contemporary choral repertoire.

A native of Toronto, Edison moved to the scenic village of Elora where, in 1979, he co-founded the Elora Festival and, a year later, the Elora Festival Singers as its choir-in-residence. Since 1984 Edison has served as Artistic Director of the Elora Festival as well as Organist and Choirmaster of one of the few all-professional church choirs in Canada at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Elora. In 1997 the Elora Festival Singers were selected as the professional core of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

In 2002 the University of Guelph conferred upon Noel Edison the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music. In 2009 he was appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour, and in 2012 he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.

Elora Festival Singers

The Elora Festival Singers (EFS), a GRAMMY® and Juno-nominated chamber choir, was founded in 1980 by Noel Edison as the principal choral ensemble of the Elora Festival. Since 1997 the choir has been the core of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Mendelssohn Singers, and is the choral ensemble-in-residence of the Elora Festival for four weeks each summer. Through regular concert series, recordings, broadcasts, and touring, the EFS has established a reputation as one of the finest chamber choirs in Canada and beyond. With nine releases on the Naxos label, the EFS is known for its rich, warm sound and clarity of texture. The choir is renowned for its diverse styles, its commitment to Canadian repertoire and for its collaborations with other Canadian artists.

Saturday, August 23rd Jazz Vespers Service

Brian Barlow Quartet

John Johnson, saxophone
Brian Dickinson, piano
Scott Alexander, bass
Brian Barlow, drums

Brian is one of Canada’s most recorded musicians and has performed on over 450 recordings with a very diverse group of artists including: Anne Murray, Mel Torme, Ringo Starr, Randy Bachman and Bob Seger. For 15 years Brian was a member of the Grammy-winning Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass. His concert performances have included work with: Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Harry Connick Jr., Charlie Watts and The Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

In 1999 Brian was named ‘Percussionist of The Year’ at the National Jazz Awards and received nominations in 2006 as “Jazz Drummer of The Year’, and 2007 as ‘Arranger of The Year’.