Aella Choir

Power Through Voice

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 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.


COLLABORATIVE PIANIST

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.


CURRENT MEMBERS

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ALICE BRUN-NEWHOOK holds a B.A. in Linguistics and Spanish from Memorial University. Her passion for languages stems from her bilingual upbringing, having one parents from Newfoundland and one from France. She is now in her last year of her French-Spanish-English Translation degree at uOttawa. Alice began singing in choirs at the age of 8 and has not stopped since! She was a member of Shallaway until 2012, and then of Lady Cove Women’s Choir before moving to Ottawa in 2017.


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!


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AMY RECKLING holds an MSc in Chemistry and has a passion for music. Originally from Newfoundland, Amy moved to Ottawa in 2010 and dove into the city’s choral scene, quickly joining the ranks of the Capital Chamber Choir and Calixa-Lavalee Choir. She has also sung with 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 with her partner and their dog Triss, sampling new beers, reading or gaming!


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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 their whole life. They have had the privilege to sing with a variety of choirs in Regina, Edmonton, and Montréal. Since moving to Ottawa in 2012, Carolyn has continued to pursue this passion, singing with a few different choirs in the city. From 9-5 Carolyn works as a policy analyst with the federal government, and in their free time enjoys riding their bike and spending time with family.


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CECELIA WHITE moved to Ottawa from Truro, Nova Scotia in 2019. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Global and International Studies with a specialization in Global Genders and Sexualities from Carleton University. Cecelia has enjoyed choral music from a young age by watching her mother conduct a women’s choir in Halifax. She has been singing in choirs since she was 5 years old, and is a former member of Xara Choral Theatre, Creative Voices, and Nova Scotia Youth Choir. In her free time, Cecelia enjoys riding her motorcycle around rural Nova Scotia and watching Ted Talks.


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. 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.


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JENNIE GLASSCO is a Policy Analyst at Natural Resources Canada and a doctoral candidate in Cultural Anthropology at McGill University. She hails from Sydenham, Ontario, has been singing in choirs and playing piano since primary school. Throughout high school in Kingston, she took voice lessons and sang with the Cantabile Youth Choir, where her love for choral music was firmly established. In Montreal, she has sung with Les Muses Chorale, the St. Lawrence Choir, and the Seraphim Chamber Choir. Currently, she is also a member of the Capital Chamber Choir. An avid traveller, Jennie enjoys getting out into nature, gardening, and learning about new people and places. She is very excited to be singing with Aella!


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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!


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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!  


KATARINA MICHALYSHYN grew up in Edmonton, where she sang with the Edmonton Youth and Children's Choirs and Kokopelli Youth Choir. She also played piano and oboe. Upon arriving in Ottawa for university, she was a member of the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir and is currently in the Capital Chamber Choir. Katarina originally joined Aella for most of its first full season, and after a 2-year break, is very excited to once again be a member! She works as a trade economist at Global Affairs and has recently started volunteering with the Ottawa Children's Choir's Prima Choir, conducted by Aella's Jenn Berntson!


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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!


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ROBYN GALE grew up in Canning, Nova Scotia where she developed her love of music through friends and family. She studied voice privately and sang with the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir before she moved on to do a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Studies) at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. During her time at St.FX, she was a member of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and participated in various musical theatre productions. In addition to music, she loves a sense of community, good food, plants, and the beautiful outdoors. Robyn moved to Ottawa in 2019 and is thrilled to be performing with Aella!


AELLA'S EXECUTIVE BOARD

Artistic Director: Jennifer Berntson
Manager: Erin Joyce
Communications: Amy Reckling
Treasurer: Carolyn Greves


pAST mEMBERs

ADELE MARSLAND, founding member

(2016 - 2017)


ALISON HAMER, founding member

(2016 - 2017)


AMY DESROISIERS

(2016-2019)


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ANDREA BAKKER, founding member

(2016)


ANDREA MACWILLIAMS, founding member

(2016 - 2017)


CAIT HURCOMB, founding member

(2016 - 2017)


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DEIRDRE KELLERMAN

(2017-2019)


JENNIFER KING

(2016-2017)


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RENÉE OLO, founding member

(2016)


TERI SLADE, founding member

(2016-2018)