Founding Artistic Director
JENNIFER BERNTSON has a BMus in Voice from Mount Allison University and MA from Carleton University, where she researched collective music-making as an expression of protest. Her great love of music for treble voices comes from nearly a decade as a member of the Saskatoon Children’s Choir, with whom she toured extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia. Since moving to Ottawa, Jennifer enjoys sharing her passion for music through teaching, conducting, and performing, and has established a thriving voice and piano studio. She recently joined the staff of Glebe-St. James United as Minister of Music, and is the conductor of the Ottawa Children's Choir's newest and youngest choristers in Prima Choir. Jennifer’s free time is ideally spent with a lot of coffee, a pile of science fiction and fantasy literature to read, or the latest video game from BioWare.
SHAWN POTTER holds an MMus in organ performance from McGill University, and in 2013 won the Royal Canadian College of Organists’ National Organ Competition (Godfrey Hewitt Prize). He is regularly engaged as a recitalist across Canada, with concerts including the RCCO National Convention (Winnipeg), the Tyska Kyrkan (Stockholm), and Christ Church Cathedral (Victoria). Shawn has accompanied many choirs in the Ottawa region, including the Capital Chamber Choir, Ottawa Regional Youth Choir, Musica Viva, the Ottawa Brahms Choir, and the Nepean Choir. He is the Director of Music at First Baptist Church. When not in rehearsal, Shawn can most often be found baking all things sweet and savoury.
ALICE BRUN-NEWHOOK holds a B.A. in Linguistics from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her passion for languages stems from her bilingual upbringing, having one parent from Newfoundland and one from France. She is now starting an honours program in French-Spanish-English translation at uOttawa. Alice began singing in choirs at the age of 8 and has not stopped since! She was a member of Shallaway until the end of high school, and then of Lady Cove Women’s Choir.
ALICE YOCH started singing in choirs at the age of 5 and except for a few brief hiatuses has been a choral singer ever since. She is currently in her 22nd season with the University of Ottawa Choir under the direction of Michel Guimont and is a member of the Rideau Chorale, Roland Graham’s latest venture now in its second season. She has sung under the baton of Laurence Ewashko, David Currie, Duain Wolfe and Pinchas Zukerman, among others. One of her musical highlights was singing Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, a Jazz rendition of a traditional Mass, at Lincoln Center in New York City, conducted by the composer.
When she’s not singing, Alice is a Certified Financial Planner with RBC Financial Planning specializing in investment and retirement planning. With whatever spare time is left she enjoys reading, camping and an active outdoor lifestyle. Alice is privileged to be part of Aella and such a lovely and talented group!
Ever since she sang Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at her mother’s wedding at four years old, Cornwall-born mezzo-soprano AMY DESROSIERS knew music was her calling. Under the direction of vocal coach Laurence Ewashko and Sonya Sweeney, Amy has developed her vocal skills in opera, jazz, and choral singing and completed a Bachelor of Music and minor in Arts Administration in 2011 at the University of Ottawa.
Amy not only adores singing with her choir family, but also loves working behind the scenes as an arts administrator and choir manager for the Capital Chamber Choir. Aside from binge watching Star Wars, she also spends her time singing with the Capital Chamber Choir, Aella Choir, Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus, and the Jazz Lines Vocal Quartet on the National Arts Centre stage and other fun venues in the Ottawa community. Her love of social media and writing inspired her to create her blog “Blonde in the Choir,” which strives to support fun arts projects and initiatives in the Ottawa choral community.
AMY RECKLING holds an MSc in Chemistry and has a passion for music. Originally from Newfoundland, Amy moved to Ottawa in 2010 and quickly joined the ranks of Ottawa’s Capital Chamber Choir. She has previously sung with Calixa-Lavalee Choir, Lady Cove Women’s Choir and the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Choir (now Shallaway). Amy spends her days working at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and when she is not singing can be found hiking through the wilds of Ontario, sampling new beers, reading or gaming!
CAROLYN GREVE is originally from Regina, Saskatchewan and has a BA in music from the University of Regina. Growing up in a musical family, Carolyn has sung and played music her whole life. She has had the privilege to sing with a variety of choirs in Regina, Edmonton, and Montréal. Since moving to Ottawa in 2012 she has continued her passion, and sings with a few different choirs in the city. From 9-5 Carolyn works as a policy analyst with the federal government, and in her free time enjoys riding her bike and spending time with family.
DEIRDRE KELLERMAN (B.M. Vocal Performance, Acadia; M.M. Choral Conducting, New England Conservatory) is currently the Director of Music at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and has recently been appointed the Assistant Director of the Ottawa Choral Society. Originally from Halifax, Deirdre grew up singing in the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s Sing Summer program, as well as with the Nova Scotia Youth Choir, Xara Choral Theatre and the National Youth Choir of Canada. In demand as a vocal coach, Deirdre is passionate about music education and life-long learning and maintains a busy teaching studio.
ELLEN BADCOCK is from St. John’s, Newfoundland, and holds B.Mus. and B.Mus.Ed. degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland (majoring in piano). Since moving to the Capital region in 2003, Ellen has been operating a private music studio in Kemptville, ON, as well as teaching piano at several elementary schools in the area. She was previously the organist and choir director at St. James Anglican Church in Kemptville, and is currently the Director of Music at St. James Anglican Church, Manotick. In addition to Aella, Ellen is also a member of the Ottawa Choral Society. When not occupied with music, Ellen also enjoys travelling, bingeing on Netflix and is an expert list-maker (often completing daily chores in alphabetical order).
ERIN JOYCE fell in love with choral singing when she joined the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers during her undergraduate degree. She is currently a member of both Aella and the Capital Chamber Choir, and before moving back to Ottawa in 2012, she sang with the Conspirato Chamber Singers (London, ON) and Concerto Della Donna (Montreal). A lawyer, who also holds a BMus in Cello Performance, Erin spends workdays at the Governor General’s Office. Her evenings & weekends mostly involve nerding out about public international law, overanalysing books & television, and working with Jenn as Aella’s thoroughly overenthusiastic choir manager.
JOSÉE RIVARD has been involved in Ottawa’s choir community for over a decade. She has been a member of the University of Ottawa Choir, Notre Dame Basilica Choir, Capital Chamber Choir as well as the former Ottawa Festival Chorus at the National Arts Centre. After completing her BFA in Visual Arts and English Literature, she was fortunate to teach both subjects at a high school level since the beginning of her career. She is also involved in the school’s theatre productions and enjoys modern dance both as a performer and spectator. She loves sharing her passion for art with her students, her friends, and her family, especially with her two-year-old daughter. Josée is thrilled to be part of the Aella family and is looking forward to this new experience!
KARA MORRIS comes from Nova Scotia (Hello, fellow Bluenosers!) and now calls Kanata home. By day she works as a psychotherapist, having studied Creative Arts Therapies in Montreal. Along the way she studied music, theatre and psychology, worked in dinner theatre, performed in operas and operettas every chance she got, and travelled as much as possible. In recent years she's performed with the Savoy Society of Ottawa (and had a blast!). Kara enjoys visiting the ocean, walking in the forest, getting crafty, practicing yoga, spending time with her husband and toddler son, and of course singing her heart out!
KELLY SYMONS' interest in music was obvious when, at the age of four, she picked out the notes to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano on her own and wowed friends and family. She enrolled in piano lessons soon after, and eventually completed the Royal Conservatory of Toronto’s Grade Ten piano exam and Grade Four theory exams. After obtaining an Engineering degree from the University of Toronto and working in the BC mining industry, driving a fire truck for the volunteer Fire Department in Fraser Lake, she studied and graduated from George Brown College with a Piano Technology diploma. That wasn’t enough, so finally she auditioned for and entered McGill University where she studied piano and theory, and was awarded not only a B.Mus. but also a Master’s Degree in Music Research. Since early 2015, she has been part of the Music Education staff at the National Arts Centre where she is also the personal assistant to the Music Director, Alexander Shelley.
Kelly was part of several choirs during her time at McGill, with Robert Ingari, Patricia Adams and Francois Ouimet. She spent time in the Ottawa Bach Choir with Lisette Canton, and in the St Margaret’s parish choir in Vanier with Nick Piper. She is proud to be a part of Aella where she is finding opportunities to expand her love of making music!
TERI SLADE is a movement educator focused on musicians’ health. Licensed to teach Body Mapping, Teri uses information from various fields of somatic pedagogy to help musicians find relief from playing-related pain and achieve excellence in performance. She is currently contributing to the future of musicians’ health through research at the University of Ottawa’s Piano Lab. Teri has been pleased to sing with National Youth Choir of Canada, Lady Cove Women’s Choir, Capital Chamber Choir, and accompanies Spirit of the Streets Choir on piano. Teri is proud to be a Newfoundlander and is an avid dancer of Argentine Tango.
AELLA'S EXECUTIVE BOARD
Captain: Jennifer Berntson
First Officer: Erin Joyce
Chief Engineer: Amy Reckling
Resident Jedi Master: Amy Desrosiers
Chief Morale Officer: Teri Slade
Treasurer: Alice Yoch
ADELE MARSLAND, founding member.
(2016 - 2017)
ALISON HAMER, founding member.
(2016 - 2017)
ANDREA BAKKER, founding member.
ANDREA MACWILLIAMS, founding member.
(2016 - 2017)
CAIT HURCOMB, founding member.
(2016 - 2017)
RENÉE OLO, founding member.