Corey Cotter, soprano
Corey is a young soprano beginning a promising career. She currently studies with Laura Pudwell and coaches with Ellen Hargis. She graduated from the music program at the University of Waterloo where she studied voice with Stephanie Kramer. She has performed as a soloist with the Spiritus Ensemble, in a number of churches, with the University of Waterloo Chamber Choir, and with the University of Waterloo’s University Choir. Corey was honoured to receive the Agnes Giesbrecht Choral Music Scholarship and the Clemens Scholarship in Music from the University of Waterloo. She has attended an number of summer programs including Triora Musica – Early Opera (Italy), Early Music Vancouver – The Compleat Singer (Canada), and the Tallis Scholars’ Summer Schools (England). Corey also enjoys her work as the Music Director at St. Andrew’s Hespeler Presbyterian Church in Cambridge. Visit www.coreycotterlinforth.com for more information!
Vanessa De Freitas, soprano
Vanessa graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music 2008 where she sang with the McMaster University Choir. She also holds a Diploma of Applied Arts in Vocal Music from Mohawk College 2006 where she also sang with the Classical & Jazz Choir. Growing up Vanessa took piano lessons and soon after developed a love of singing. She began taking lessons. As she got older Vanessa performed with the K-W Philharmonic Youth Choir in 2001 and The Renaissance Singers 2006 – 2007. She has also participated in many performances with The Roanoke Symphony Choir as well as The Roanoke Opera 2009 – 2011 in Virginia, USA. She also sang as a member of the Brantford Grand River Chorus until 2013. Vanessa presently is a choral scholar with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Waterloo, ON under the direction of Mark Himmelman. Vanessa often performs locally and participates in many local events throughout the year. She has also starred in the musical theatre production of The Secret Garden where she played “Martha” and sang in the Ensemble for Grease. Vanessa holds several Kiwanis Festival Awards in both Voice & Piano. Vanessa takes much pride and joy in teaching music to a variety of age groups for 12 years. She has been teaching voice at Sherwood in Kitchener for 5 years and has been working as a licensed Kindermusik teacher since 2012 between the Cambridge and Waterloo Studio. Vanessa lives by the words, “Music is not what I do, it’s who I am.”
Nicole Dubinsky, soprano
Ms. Dubinsky is thrilled to be joining Arcady as an Emerging Artist this season. Earlier in 2016, she sang ‘the Queen of the Night’ in Mozart’s Masonic Journey: The Mysteries of the Magic Flute. In 2015 she played ‘Gretel’ in the Toronto Opera Initiative’s production of ‘Hänsel und Gretel’, as well as her signature role of ‘the Queen of the Night’ with Opera York. She has previously sung the role with the Accademia Europea dell’Opera in Amsterdam, and in Opera Laurier’s 100th Anniversary Production. She has performed with Tapestry New Opera 101, The National Vocal Arts Institute, Accademia Europea dell’Opera, and in a series of concerts with Orchestra London; also singing the role of Susanna (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO) in the Orchestra’s school tour. Her operatic and oratorio work includes Cleopatra (GIULIO CESARE), Mademoiselle Silvertone (IMPRESSARIO) for the Grand Opening of the Milton Centre for the Arts, Zerlina in DON GIOVANNI, Diane in ORPHÉE AUX ENFERS with L’Opera de Périgord, Sandrina in LA FINTA GIARDINIERA, Soprano Soloist in Händel’s MESSIAH with the Bach Elgar Chamber Orchestra and the Kincardine Summer Music Festival, and Sister Constance in DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES. Ms. Dubinsky holds a MMus in Voice Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario, an Opera Diploma, & an Honours BMus in Voice Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Valerie Durant, dancer
Valerie has been dancing since the age of 3 and enjoys many different forms of dance. Most of her formal dance training has been in classical ballet under the direction of Michele Hopkins. She is enrolled in the Integrated Arts Program at Eastwood Collegiate Institute in Kitchener, with an emphasis in dance, drama and vocal music. Valerie has completed her Intermediate Classical Ballet Examination with the Canadian Dance Teachers Association. For the past 9 years, she has performed various roles in the production of the Nutcracker with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, including Maid, Candy Cane, Russian, Chinese, Arabian, Bon Bons, Snow Flake and Waltz of the Flowers. She truly loves musical theatre and enjoyed the opportunity to attend the musical theatre program at the Shakespeare School in Stratford. Valerie hopes to continue her performance and training upon graduating from highschool.
Emily Grignon, soprano
Emily Grignon joined her first choir at the age of 11. By age 12 she was an accomplished solo performer who dreamed of a career in music. She pursued her vocal education with Marion Samuel- Stevens who helped Emily meet her goals. Today, Ms. Grignon is entering the third year of her Honours Bmus degree at the University of Wilfrid Laurier. She is an award winning vocalist and beloved music teacher with a long history of success. As a vocal, guitar, and piano teacher, miss Grignon has built up a small following of dedicated students. At the height of her teaching success, she taught upwards of 40 students a week but has since downsized to allow for more focused studies of her own. She has earned competitive scholarships with NATS, ORMTA and the Kiwanis music festival for almost every year of her participation (since 2006). Her most recent award is: the Victor Martens & David Falk Scholarship for outstanding performance ability (2014). She made her orchestral debut with The Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra at their annual young artist concert (2012). Additionally she performed at the Guelph Kiwanis Music Festival Gala for two consecutive years (2013, 2014), and has been a guest soloist with the Toronto Male Welsh Choir for two of their concerts (2014,2015). Emily is currently the Alto section leader at Dublin Street United Church where she has also led their soprano section. She has particularly relished her theatrical experience, most notably as Veronica from Isaac Page’s The Triple Fool (Wilfrid Laurier 2015), and Mabel from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance (Royal City Musical Productions 2010). She has also performed Fauré’s Requiem and Mozart’s Missa Brevis in Bb as both the soprano section leader and soloist (Dublin st. United 2013, 2014). At the ripe age of 24 Emily is a bi-lingual, bi-sectional powerhouse with a bright future ahead of her and a thirst for all things music.
Bethany Hynes, soprano
A native of Newfoundland, Bethany grew up in the southern United States. She completed her BMus and MMus at Memorial University of Newfoundland where she performed the roles of Pamina, Dido, and Fiordiligi. She has also toured with Opera Road Show for several years and was honoured to premiere the role of La sorcière in Dean Burry’s Le nez de la sorcière. Bethany has been a soloist with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra, and MUN Chamber Orchestra. Currently working on her DMA at University of Western Ontario, she hopes her research will change the relationship singers have with their voices. When she isn’t singing, Bethany loves to knit, rock climb, and amuse her husband with her harebrained schemes.
Victoria Marshall, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Victoria Marshall is a sought-after interpreter of opera, oratorio, and art-song. She recently made her two professional debuts as guest soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Case Scaglione and with the Regina Symphony Orchestra under Hart Godden. Ms. Marshall was also honoured to create the role of Vashti in the world premiere of the science-fiction opera, The Machine Stops, based on Forster’s short story. Recent highlights include singing Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Muskoka Opera Festival), Bianca in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (MYOpera), Moppet in Benjamin Britten’s Paul Bunyan (U of T Opera), Mrs. Nolan in Menotti’s The Medium (U of T Opera), and Madame de la Haltière in Massenet’s Cendrillon (Manitoba Underground Opera). While at the University of Manitoba, Victoria has sung Bianca/Princess Rosabella in Dean Burry’s Angela and Her Sisters and performed excerpts from Dido and Aeneas as The Sorceress. Ms. Marshall is equally at home performing the works of the Baroque masters. She has appeared as a soloist performing such works as Bach’s B Minor Mass and St. Matthew Passion, Zelenka’s Te Deum, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, and Vivaldi’s Gloria with such companies as Winnipeg’s Canzona, Camerata Nova, and the U of M Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Marshall also took home first prize at the 2014 Lawrence Genser Performance Competition at the U of M. Ms. Marshall studies with Wendy Nielsen in Toronto, and has formerly studied with Mel Braun at the U of M Desautels Faculty of Music.
Jess McKay, soprano
Jess McKay is thrilled to be joining Arcady’s Emerging Artist program. Jess is a triple threat performer and dialect coach living in downtown Toronto. She has attended various opera programs including Opera Nuova, Canadian Operatic Arts Academy, and La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy. Jess holds a BMus in Classical Voice Performance from the University of Toronto where she studied with voice teacher Jean MacPhail. Jess also completed her MFA in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory. Following her degree in Boston, Jess had the opportunity to perform in musical productions in Boston, Maryland, and in and around New York before moving back to Canada. Jess also has a touching solo cabaret titled, “Typically English” which shares stories of her English and Canadian heritage and the influential relationship she has with her mother. Some of her favourite credits include: Jellylorum in Cats (Compass Rose Theater, Maryland) Ensemble and Adelaide u/s in Guys and Dolls (Reagle Music Theatre, Boston) Rosalia and Anita/Maria u/s in West Side Story, Andrina in The Little Mermaid (Lower Ossington Theatre), and The Gypsy Princess (Toronto Operetta Theatre).
Allison Walmsley, soprano
Allison Walmsley is honoured and thrilled to be part of the Arcady team as an Emerging Artist. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan she completed her Bachelor’s degree in voice performance at the University of Saskatchewan, studying under Dr. Garry Gable and Kathleen Lohrenz Gable. Since completing her degree, Allison has received many awards and partaken in various performance opportunities across Canada. In 2016 and 2014 respectively, she won the Gordon Wallis Opera competition and the CFMTA Young Artist competition and tour in her home province. Recent projects include Queen of the Night in Opera Kelowna’s production of Die Zauberflöte, Nanetta in Western University’s production of Falstaff, Emily in Opera NUOVA’s production of Our Town, Lucy in the U of S Music Theatre ensemble’s The Beggars Opera. Allison is now in the final year of her Masters of Music degree in performance and literature at Western University under the tutelage of soprano Jackie Short. Nurturing her love of contemporary Canadian music, she looks forward to participating in Western University’s contemporary ensemble under the direction of John Hess and Dáirine Ní Mheadhra. In 2017, Allison will be reprising the role of Queen of the Night in Western Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte and performing in Messiah with Regina Symphony Orchestra.