Our Team

Melanie Tellez

Artistic Director
Conductor, Ilumini

As a choral leader, Melanie brings a unique combination of engagement and joy to her role, motivating singers to trust themselves, and one another, in their choral journey. Recently appointed Artistic Director with Hamilton Children’s Choir, Melanie considers herself lucky to have spent the past decade with HCC, leading singers as young as 6 and as old as 24, as they learn repertoire, study music theory and history, work on choreography, perform, tour, and deepen their self-confidence as artists. Helping young people sing with open hearts is one of Melanie’s favourite ways to frame her work.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Melanie now considers herself to be a proud Hamiltonian. Outside of her work with HCC, Melanie is part of the music faculty with McMaster University’s School of the Arts, leading their choral ensembles. Past engagements include: Hillfield Strathallan College, Toronto Children’s Chorus, Young Voices Toronto, and King’s University College of Edmonton. Melanie holds a Bachelor of Music (Voice) from Dalhousie University in Halifax, and a Master of Music (Choral Conducting) from the University of Alberta. She has been thrilled to adjudicate and lead choral festivals across Southwestern Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia, and proudly served for six years on the executive board of Choirs Ontario.

In her spare time, Melanie is often found attempting to sing in harmony with her two daughters, who would usually prefer to be reading graphic novels or swimming.

Kate Boose

Conductor, Esprimas

Kate Boose is an accomplished and experienced music educator who enjoys guiding performers on their unique journey towards musical excellence. Kate has been part of the HCC Artistic Staff since 2017, while previously supporting the organization as part of the Board of Directors. For over a decade, Kate has been a music specialist at Hillfield Strathallan College and previously spent time as the Director of Choral Music at Abington Friends School (a Private Quaker School) just outside of Philadelphia, PA. Over her career, Kate has performed with world-renowned orchestras, conductors, and performers including The New York Philharmonic, Riccardo Muti, and Moses Hogan. She has also been the Music Director for a variety of musical theatre stage productions and taught private piano lessons. Kate holds a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ) specializing in Music Education and Choral Conducting as well as degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University (Hon. B. Mus) and The University of Western Ontario (B. Ed). Kate has earned her ARCT diploma in Piano Performance, Kodaly Level 2 certification, an RAD Intermediate level certificate in classical ballet, and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. Kate and her family currently reside in Dundas where they try to fully enjoy the musical happenings in the Hamilton area.

Caitlyn Breukelman

Conductor, Esplori
Instructor, Virtual Vocal Studios

Caitlyn Breukelman is a soprano and conductor, holding degrees from McMaster University
(B.Mus, Vocal Performance) and the University of Alberta (M.Mus, Choral Conducting). While
in Edmonton, she was the assistant conductor to the University of Alberta’s Concert Choir in
2018 through to 2020, and was awarded the John and Logie Drew Graduate Scholarship in
Choral Conducting in 2018, in recognition of her academic success and potential as a conductor.
Previously, Caitlyn has worked with the Hamilton Children’s Choir as an apprentice conductor
and rehearsal assistant and is currently working with their Esplori choir, and as an assistant
conductor to their Ilumini choir. She has also worked as a conductor for children’s choirs in
Edmonton, including the Edmonton Youth and Children’s Choirs and the Cantilon Choirs.

Dion Flores

Conductor, Komenci

Dion attended Wilfrid Laurier University and Memorial University where he completed a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, a Master of Music in Choral and Instrumental Conducting, and a Bachelor of Music Education. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Community music at Laurier. Throughout his career, Dion has conducted singers of all ages from teaching music in elementary schools, private music studios, and in the community. He also has experience playing piano as a collaborative pianist and chamber musician. 

Dion started playing the piano at age four and took up singing in elementary and high school. He has sung with the National Youth Choir of Canada during their Alberta and Ontario tours in 2016 and 2017 respectively, singing at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton, La Maison Symphonique in Montreal, and Koerner Hall in Toronto.

Dion is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and focused on K-12 music education in his teacher training. Dion strongly believes in the power of mindset in music instruction. It is important that we believe that we can improve with effort and perseverance and cultivate a growth mindset in order to be highly-skilled and self-compassionate musicians. Dion wrote an undergraduate essay in his teacher training entitled “Failing to be Perfect: The Role of Mindfulness and Meditation in Music Performance.

Dion is honoured to be joining the Hamilton Children’s Choir as the Komenci Conductor for the 2022/2023 season. Hearing about the HCC from colleagues and watching their performances has continued to inspire his work with young singers and musicians.

Leslie Kent

Conductor, Kolibro

Leslie Kent was the founding conductor of the Prelude chorus of the Hamilton Children’s Choir from its inception in 2001until 2010. She was pleased to return to the Hamilton Children’s Choir in such a role after having spent 7 years as a chorister under David Davis from 1986-1992.

Leslie received her Bachelor of Music (Sacred Music) in 1999 from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. During her five years there, Leslie was the co-founder and director of the Moody Memorial Children’s Chorus. Since returning to Canada, Leslie has been teaching private voice and piano and choral conducting in a variety of settings. After a five year break from HCC, Leslie returned in 2015 to take on their Early Childhood Music Education program, known as Kolibro.

Leslie’s most recent adventure is a decision to return to the classroom, pursuing her Master of Music Education at the University of Western Ontario. Leslie is married to James, a recording engineer. They reside in Caledonia with their five children.

Brent Fifield

Conductor, Profunda
Collaborative Pianist, Komenci

Brent Fifield has enjoyed a very successful career as a multi-faceted musician. A native of St. John’s NL, he earned his B.Mus (Organ) and B.Ed from Western University and subsequently earned an MMus in Organ Performance from the University of Toronto. He is highly regarded for his musical sensitivity, both as an Accompanist, Conductor, Baritone, and teacher. As an organist, he has performed in recitals across Canada and the UK, a number of which have been broadcast on national radio. As a Baritone, he sang with the Grammy and JUNO award-winning Elora Festival Singers, and Exultate Chamber Singers of Toronto, two-time winners of the CBC National Choir competition. From 2001-2010 Brent held the position of Organist and Director of Music at Christ’s Church Cathedral in Hamilton. Since 2010 Brent has been Organist and Director of Music at Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge (Galt). Brent is the founder and Conductor of Ensemble Lyrica, a Hamilton-based chamber choir whose profits are donated to local charities. Previously, he has conducted the Brock University Chorus, the Redeemer University Concert Choir, and the Pro Musica Choir of Burlington.

Brent has had a varied teaching career: he has taught choral conducting at Western University, music analysis at McMaster University, and from 2009-2014 he was an adjunct lecturer in music at Redeemer University. Currently, Brent is teaching music in the Montessori, Junior, and Middle Schools at Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton. In addition, he is the Collaborative Accompanist to the Hamilton Children’s Choir Komenci and Esprimas Choirs, and is the conductor of the Hamilton Children’s Choir Profunda ensemble. Brent, his wife Stephanie, and their daughters Audrey and Elizabeth, make their home on the west mountain in Hamilton.

Laura Pin

Collaborative Pianist, Ilumini
Ilumini Theory Coordinator

Laura Pin has worked extensively as a collaborative pianist, playing with many talented soloists and choirs including Maureen Forrester, Amabile Youth Singers, Vox Nouveau, and The Faculty of Music Singers (Western).  She completed music studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts and Western University where she studied with Arthur Rowe and was awarded the Alumni Gold Medal.   She also holds an Associate of Music in piano performance from the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music.     

Based in Hamilton, Laura divides her time between playing for The Harlequin Singers, The Ambassadors Christian Male Choir and HCC’s Illumini and Esplori choirs as well as working as a studio accompanist at both McMaster University and Redeemer College. She also provides music as cantor and keyboardist for several churches in the Hamilton Diocese and as an occasional orchestral player with Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ethan Lacey

Collaborative Pianist, Esprimas

Ethan has always had a passion for music and language and enjoys the intersection of both, working as a collaborative pianist. Originally from Collingwood Ontario, Ethan studied jazz and classical piano at Mohawk College before receiving his bachelor’s in piano performance from Western University. It was while at Western he discovered that he could study and make a career of playing music with other singers, chamber musicians, and instrumentalists and went on to complete his master’s degree in collaborative piano studying with John Hess.

While in London, Ethan was the musical director of the Little London Community Opera for their 2016 – 2018 seasons, conducting their productions of Don GiovanniDido and Aeneas, and A Hand of Bridge. He dedicates much of his musical practice to improvisation performance and teaching improvisation, as well as the historically informed performance of baroque music as a harpsichordist and organist. Ethan maintains an active teaching studio and works as a vocal coach and collaborative pianist throughout Hamilton and the GTA.

Jason Lee

Collaborative Pianist, Esplori

Jason graduated from McGill University with a B.Mus under the tutelage of legendary pianist Marina Mdivani. He has performed in recitals, events, and competitions across Canada, winning first prize at the CCC Toronto Piano Competition in 2012.  Jason’s choral experience includes performing as both a singer and a collaborative pianist at MusicFest Canada in Vancouver and Ottawa, as well as the Claude-Champagne Hall in Montreal. Outside of performing, Jason is also a passionate music educator. With over ten years of teaching experience in piano and music theory, Jason aims to inspire his students to achieve their musical goals and develop a lifelong love for music.
 
Recently, Jason moved to Hamilton, where he is expanding his musical activities. In his spare time, Jason enjoys transcribing and composing piano music for future performances.

Brie-Anne Meyer

Collaborative Pianist, Kantisto

A pianist since the age of seven, Brie-Anne quickly developed a passion for music growing up in the Niagara Region. It was there that she performed as a pianist with a variety of musical ensembles while studying to graduate with an ARCT in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She continued her studies in London Ontario at Western University where she studied under the guidance of James Anagnoson and graduated with
an Honours Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance. Brie-Anne then received her Masters degree in performance from the University of Ottawa where she studied with Stephane Lemelin. Brie-Anne resides in Hamilton, Ontario where she enjoys a multifaceted career as a performer and instructor. As a versatile collaborative artist, she plays everything from Baroque Sonatas to Musical Theatre and also performs as an organist with ensembles, soloists and choral groups throughout Southern Ontario. As a solo pianist she has performed in recitals and events across North America. Brie-Anne is an Ontario registered music teacher and is an active member of the Hamilton-Halton ORMTA branch. In her free time Brie-Anne enjoys recording and producing music in her home studio.

Jamie Drake

Collaborative Percussionist, All Programs

Dr. Jamie Drake is a Toronto-based percussionist, drummer and composer/arranger, who has performed regularly with HCC since 2014. His musical interests span from environmental chamber music to Motown, and he has performed everywhere from the Lincoln Centre to a small cafe in Shanghai. Jamie received an MMus from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a DMA in percussion performance from the University of Toronto, and also holds an A.R.C.T. in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory. He has premiered works by composers Christos Hatzis, John Luther Adams and Nicole Lizée and performed with Soundstreams, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Esprit Orchestra, Amici, NEXUS and many others. As a member of TorQ Percussion Quartet, he has toured across North America and in Europe, and has been a featured soloist with the Toronto Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the Buffalo Philharmonic. Jamie has worked as a percussion composer/consultant for CBC, and taught at Acadia University. Active in musical theatre, Jamie has played drums/percussion for Mirvish, Musical Stage Company, Canadian Stage, and Young People’s Theatre for Dora Award-winning productions. He has written or arranged music for HCC, TorQ Percussion Quartet, Musical Stage Company, Talk is Free Theatre, Metropolitan Community Church, and others. His solo percussion album “Night” is available on Bandcamp.

Jaclyn Cunneyworth

Supporting Conductor, Esprimas

Jaclyn is an educator and percussionist who holds degrees from Texas Tech University (PhD in Music Education, 2017), Oklahoma City University (Music Performance, 2012), and Western University (B.Mus in Music Education, 2010). While studying in the United States, Jaclyn worked as a band and choir teacher for several districts in Oklahoma and Texas including Edmond Public Schools, Crosbyton Consolidated Independent School District, and Lubbock Independent School District. She has also served as a lecturer and teaching assistant at both TexasTech University and Baylor University, and assisted with the West Texas Children’s Chorus for several years. Being an advocate for inclusive and accessible music education, Jaclyn has been an active researcher and facilitator for music for individuals with special needs. Some notable accomplishments in this area include serving as faculty advocate for the OsoMusical program at Baylor University (2017/18), presenting her research at the International Society for Music Education conference involving music and identity for hard-of-hearing music students (Brazil, 2014; Scotland, 2016; Prague/Austria, 2018).

As a percussionist, she has had the opportunity to work with numerous university, community,and professional ensembles in the southern USA and Canada. She performed as a marimbist for the 50th-Anniversary Percussive Arts Society marimba orchestra (Indianapolis, 2012), and served as a regular performer for several seasons with the Elegant Savages Orchestra and TTU Celtic Ensemble in Lubbock, TX. Jaclyn currently works as an elementary music teacher London, ON (Thames Valley District School Board), and continues to work with many local arts organizations and ensembles. She is delighted to join the Hamilton Children’s Choir as an Emerging Conductor, and is looking forward to an exciting season working with the Esprimas Choir!

Lane Osborne

Supporting Conductor, Esprimas

Lane Osborne is an experienced educator and vocalist who has been teaching music in the public education system for over ten years. After singing for David Davis during his time as Artistic Director of the Hamilton Children’s Choir, Lane was inspired to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Windsor, a Master of Arts from McMaster University, a Bachelor of Education from OISE University of Toronto, and she was recently granted admission to the University of Michigan for a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education. Always striving to be a better musician through the pursuit of higher education, Lane has been the recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant for her research on the Motown music empire and her choral dedication has received first class standing in the CBC Choral Competition (CBC Radio 2 Le Mondial Chorale).

In her time as an educator, Lane has taught and adjudicated auditions for the Peel District School Board’s Regional Arts Program and she is currently on faculty at the Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute where she teaches vocal music, musical theatre, guitar and the Upper Grand District School Board’s interdisciplinary arts program, MADE Urban Arts. As director of the GCVI Chamber Choir, Lane’s ensembles regularly progress to Musicfest Canada Nationals, the Ontario Music Festival Association (OMFA) provincial finals, and have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Harrogate International Youth Festival (HIYF), and on stage with rock band Foreigner for dates on their 40th Anniversary Tour.

Administrative
Team

Executive Director
Patricia LeClair
tricia@hamiltonchildrenschoir.com
Office Manager
Gillian Alexander
gillian@hamiltonchildrenschoir.com
Program Manager
Xenobia Delgado
xenobia@hamiltonchildrenschoir.com
Development Officer
Lisa Di Veto
lisa@hamiltonchildrenschoir.com
Administrative Assistant
Courtney Porch
courtney@hamiltonchildrenschoir.com

Board of Directors

Virginia Aksan, Chair
Elsje Zwart, Vice-Chair
Janet Mowat, Past Chair
Victoria Newell, Secretary
Tabinda Khan, Treasurer
Beverly Bronte-Tinkew
Don Perera
Erin Pettit
Wade Poziomka
Julie Ludwig
Julie Shea
Katie Weresch
Matthew Pickfield
Patricia LeClair, Ex-officio
Melanie Tellez, Ex-officio

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Testimonials
  • Ashley Carpenter, Alumna
    I feel so honoured to be a chorister with the HCC. It has opened up my learning capabilities and allowed me to express myself artistically in an amazing environment.
    Ashley Carpenter, Alumna
  • Sarah Davis, Alumna
    I credit being part of the choir assisting me in my career path, giving me confidence in front of groups of people and giving me the ability to be successful and grow quickly in my roles.
    Sarah Davis, Alumna
  • Alyssa LeClair, Alumna
    What the HCC does best is give people who are feeling like they don’t belong a place to express themselves, and as a young artist… that’s truly invaluable.
    Alyssa LeClair, Alumna
  • Nathan Fledderus, Chorister
    Through the HCC, I’ve made so many strong friendships and advanced musically to a level I never thought I could. The HCC is a safe learning environment in which choristers and director learn more than just music, which is brought together by a common goal.
    Nathan Fledderus, Chorister
  • Ardra Shephard, Alumna
    The ways in which my years as part of the HCC have affected my life and who I am today are too manifold to count. HCC was the most influential experience of my teenage years and I am incredibly grateful for it.
    Ardra Shephard, Alumna
  • Erica Charles, Alumna
    There’s a perfect balance of discipline, work ethic, fun, and creativity that’s encouraged within this group. You learn how to pull together as a team: both musically and intellectually. You succeed alongside one another. You encourage each other’s highs and are there for one another for the lows. You literally learn how to breathe together: what could be more magical than that?
    Erica Charles, Alumna
  • Sophia Brohman, Chorister
    When I joined the HCC, suddenly there was a whole room of people who felt the exact same way I did when I was singing.
    Sophia Brohman, Chorister
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