Holly Nimmons, Executive Director

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Holly has extensive experience with organizational leadership in the not-for-profit sector. Through her business Opis, she has provided management, governance and facilitation services to social service and arts organizations. Her work has included a focus on children, youth and families, youth leadership and diverse communities, as well as community development and engagement. She previously served as the Executive Director for the College of Midwives of Ontario and Director of Operations for YWCA Canada. She has also served on several Boards, including a period on the Coalition Board in 2005. She is currently the Vice-President of the Transitional Council of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.

Holly grew up in a musical household, and has a living understanding of the value of music education for young people and Canadian culture. Her father Dr. Phil Nimmons is a well-known music educator, composer and performer. Her mother Dr. Noreen Spencer-Nimmons was a classically trained pianist and a brilliant musician.

Holly has supported music education programs in schools, and has actively engaged with students, parents, teachers and administrators in the school system. Most of her professional life has involved advocating for social change and being a public voice for action.[/expand]

Spencer Phillips, Communications Coordinator

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Spencer Phillips is a dedicated champion of the arts. As an artist himself, his musical journeys have led him to perform in Africa, Europe and North America. Spencer brings 10 years of experience in the music industry, advocacy and non-profit sector to his role as Communications and Outreach Coordinator. Prior to joining the Coalition for Music Education, he fulfilled the role of Member Services at the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.

Born in Botswana to South African parents, his family immigrated to Canada when he was 3 three years old. Mirroring his older siblings who both shared a deep love of music, Spencer developed a passion for writing music and understanding the ‘ins and outs’ of the music industry. He studied at Ryerson University and the Harris Institute of the Arts, where he earned an Arts Management diploma. Spencer is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, Songwriters Association of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Musicians. His volunteer service includes work with the Canadian Cancer Society and the Nelson Mandela’s Children Fund.[/expand]

Anah Shabbar, Youth Coordinator

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Anah comes to the Coalition with years of experience in the Arts and Culture sector. She founded the Toronto-Niagara based arts collective: Greenbelt Arts, which partnered with the In the Soil Arts Festival, when Anah became the Volunteers Coordinator and sat on the Visual and Music Programming Committee. The Collective also partnered with other local and provincial Organizations such as, The Ontario Greenbelt Foundation, The St. Catharines Centre for Performing Arts, Niagara Artist Centre, Ontario People Interest Research Group, Brock Radio, Brock University and Toronto Housing Services Corporation, and Niagara Resource Service for Youth.

Anah is the organizing force behind small and large-scale community based events, whether she be the curator, stage manager, radio host, event manager or volunteer. Anah loves to bring artists’ visions to life and to create events that are unique for performers and audience members. She appreciates the role of music education for Youth and understands the importance of sharing one’s own art form.




Eric Favaro, Chair

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Eric Favaro is respected nationally and internationally as an innovator and advocate for effective programs in Music and Arts Education. Trained as a music educator, Eric taught instrumental and classroom music in Calgary and in Cape Breton. He served as Arts Education Consultant with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, and later as Arts Education Consultant with the Nova Scotia Department of Education. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music Education, as well as a doctorate in Organizational Development and Leadership. Eric publishes frequently and continues to work on curriculum committees and other projects through provincial Ministries of Education and Federal agencies.

Eric served as president of the Nova Scotia Music Educators’ Association from 1993-95, and president of the Canadian Music Educators’ Association from 1995-97. He initiated and chaired the first National Symposium on Arts Education (Cape Breton, 1997), and served on the board for the International Society for Music Education from 2000-04. He has received numerous honours and awards, including the Musica Viva award and NSMEA Honourary Life Member designation for his contributions to music education in Nova Scotia, and the Jubilate Award of Merit and Executive Award from the Canadian Music Educators Association for his national and international work.

Eric feels his experiences as a music educator, arts administrator and member of many boards ranging from education to government to corporate, have prepared him to contribute to the Board of Directors for the Coalition for Music Education in Canada. He also brings to the table a strong network of national international contacts who also share his passion for the importance of music in everyone’s lives. He looks forward to contributing to the Coalition in a meaningful way.[/expand]

Robert Barg, Treasurer

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Rob began his career with Yamaha in 1971 in Winnipeg. He distinguished himself as Yamaha’s first Guitar teacher in Canada, and worked as well in retail sales. He taught the pilot Yamaha Classroom Guitar course “Get into Guitar” that was developed by Lee Bartel as part of his Masters Degree. Teaching in both the Yamaha Music School and Junior High classes in the Winnipeg School System, Rob often taught over 300 guitar students per week, and motivated many young students to start their musical careers.

As the Yamaha Music School programs continued to grow across Canada, Rob transferred to the new Head Office in Toronto (1980), where he became the Regional Sales Consultant for Ontario. In 1986 he was appointed the Keyboard Division Sales Manager. Rob was promoted to Director of the Music Instrument Division in 1999, and in 2002 he became the Vice President Music al Instrument Group. In 2006, Rob was appointed Corporate Vice President Planning and Relations Division, the position he currently holds.

Rob and his wife Rose have three grown children and enjoy spending time with their 4 grandchildren. Rob still enjoys music as a personal hobby, and works actively for music education at Yamaha, to continue to promote music, particularly among children, whom he sees as the key to music of the future. Rob looks forward to offering his experience and support to the Coalition for Music Education in Canada.[/expand]

Mark Reid, Secretary

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As a relatively young member of the music education community, Mr. Reid’s accomplishments are already quite impressive and one cannot help but think that he is destined to be the catalyst of several success stories of the future. As a post-secondary student at the University of Victoria, he helped to develop the Student Music Educators Association. Upon graduation and the start of his teaching career, he found a position with the British Columbia Music Educators Association (BCMEA) and quickly rose through the ranks to become president. Under his leadership, the BCMEA saw its participation increase to levels not seen in decades. Mark now serves as President of the Canadian Music Educators Association, allowing him the opportunity to further inspire and develop resources for fellow music teachers on a national level.[/expand]

Cy James

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Cy truly found his love for music in high school. Though he only began taking music courses in grade 12, with the help of his two incredible music teachers at Dunbarton High he was able to gain admittance to York University, where he completed a BFA in Music with primary focus on composition and cultural arts under such names as David Mott, Michael Coughlan, and Bill Thomas. He then received his B of Ed from Queen’s University where he studied from Composer/Educator/Editor Benjamin Bolden.

After working as a first year geography, history, music, and outdoor education teacher for Eenchokay Birchtick School in the Pikangikum First Nation community of North-Western Ontario, Cy has returned to the South and is anxious to apply what he has learned to a long career in education leadership.[/expand]

Eric Marshall

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In a career that spans 4 decades Eric has taught, middle school, high school and university. He has taught and lead jazz ensembles, choirs, bands and guitar classes. Eric continues to be active as performer and conductor. He has been a member of the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble for over 20 years, continues to adjudicate and guest conduct in Manitoba and leads a local church choir.

Eric’s education includes studies at the University of PEI (B.Mus. Ed.), Queens University, University of Western Ontario (graduate studies) and Brandon University (M. Mus.)

Eric has remained committed and involved in music leadership over the past several years. He has served on the board of the Manitoba Band Association, currently is past chair of the Association of Music Administrators of Manitoba and is the sitting president of the Manitoba Music Educator’s Association. As president of MMEA he also sits on the full board of the CMEA/Acme.

Currently Eric is Coordinator for Arts Education for the St. James-Assiniboia School Division in Winnipeg, a position he has held for 8 years. His duties include overseeing programming, staffing and professional development for all arts educators in the school division.

Eric and his wife Sharon (an active music educator and professional singer) are parents of three daughters, all of whom are active in the music communities of Winnipeg and Brandon, Manitoba.[/expand]

Laura Lee Matthie

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Laura Lee Matthie has been teaching Instrumental & Guitar Music in the Simcoe County Board of Education in Ontario since 1995. She directs many chamber ensembles at Park Street C. I. including saxophone, percussion and guitar chamber ensembles and even finds time to rehearse a concert band and is currently chair of the Arts Department and sits on a number of school based committees. She has been on the board of directors of the OMEA since 2004 and was President 2008-2010. She currently serves in the Treasurer role with the board. Laura Lee has been a Teaching Guitar Workshop facilitator for the past 4 years leading guitar workshops during the summer through GAMA and has led a number of workshops at various conferences and Ontario Teacher Federation (OTF) Summer Institutes. Laura Lee also has 2 young boys (6 & 2 years old) that keep her very busy![/expand]

Andrew Mercer

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As both an entrepreneur and public school music teacher, Andrew has explored the limits of online music education. In 1995 Andrew developed a software application that allowed teachers and students from around the world to collaborate remotely via the Internet. Collaborations with organizations, such as Intel, Yamaha, Roland and CARAS, have permitted Andrew to explore and challenge how we learn via technology.

In 2004 Andrew joined the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI). This innovative government organization has proven to be an incubator for many advances in technology and music education, including the world’s first online high school music course. As part of CDLI, Andrew continues to work with young musicians throughout NL who do not have access to a specialized music teacher in their small schools.

Much of Andrew’s innovative work has been featured in numerous publications and media sources such as Canadian Music Educator, Popular Science, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Nippon TV. Andrew has also had the opportunity to share his work at national and international conferences and symposia including the ISME Conference, TEDx, MTNA National Conference, NAMM and MENC.

Andrew has been a member of several Boards of Directors including the Canadian Music Educator’s Association. He has also been a member of educational advisory committees for organizations such as the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Debut Atlantic, the JUNOs, and the Newfoundland and Labrador’s Music Special Interest Council.

Andrew is a regular guest presenter at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and in 2007 was a co-investigator in a MUN/Community University Research Alliance research project investigating web-based music instruction through the lens of learner-centered practices.[/expand]

Don Quarles

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As a composer / songwriter and event producer of over 25 years, Quarles continues to be passionate about helping and working with Canadian musicians and songwriters. He is the owner of Melodyman Productions, an event production, music creation and industry consulting company based in Toronto. He is developing the country’s largest online network of musicians and schools for educational workshops and performances (www.musicinschools.ca). Quarles is the past Executive Director of the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) and was the regional workshop coordinator in Stouffville for the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). He developed a mentor program for the School Alliance of Student Songwriters (SASS), an organisation that brings songwriting clubs into Canadian elementary and secondary schools. Quarles has taught Event Production and Management at Metalworks Institute and has created music and produced children’s theatre, written jingles and music for video, live award shows, solo artists and bands and has been seen performing with his grown kids in their family band, the Family Quarles.[/expand]

John Robert (Digger) MacDougall

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As an advocate for music throughout Canada, JR Digger MacDougall believed so strongly in the power of music to change lives, he founded, and is the current Chair and CEO of, the Sing Canada Harmony Scholarship Fund. This fund supports vocal music in all the communities and schools of Canada and has strengthened the participation of Canadians of all ages in the arts.

Digger has performed as a soloist, quartet and chorus member in a variety of choral ensembles in Broadway musicals, operettas, a cappella choruses and folk choirs for over 60 years. As a singing member of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the largest singing organization in the world, he has held volunteer offices at every constituency level for over 20 years, most recently in Ontario District as Vice President of Chapter Support and Leadership Training and earlier as Vice Chair of Harmony Foundation International and the International Leadership Task Force.

As an officer and senior military psychologist of the Canadian Armed Forces, he served Canada for 33 years as a leader in operations, peacekeeping, Army aviation, behavioral sciences and staff positions. He is a retired Certified Human Resources Professional, and accomplished learning facilitator, interviewer, speaker and international consultant. He is the current President of the Ottawa Branch of the Royal Military College of Canada and continues to serve as a Volunteer Interpreter at the Canadian war Museum in Ottawa.

Digger holds two graduate degrees from Western University, Ontario, and is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada. He has served as a volunteer chair and director on healthcare, education, environment, corporate, human resources and recreational boards of directors for over 45 years. Digger welcomes the opportunity to work with other members of the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada to advocate and promote music education throughout Canada..[/expand]

Alison Kenny-Gardhouse

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Alison Kenny-Gardhouse consults and teaches for a wide spectrum of arts providers, educational institutions, and teacher groups throughout North America. As president of Connexionarts, she has collaborated extensively with many arts organizations in Canada including Tafelmusik, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Treehouse TV, and most recently the National Arts Centre and the Canadian Heritage Information Network in the creation of the Canadian Composer Learning Collections for the Virtual Museum of Canada. American clients include The Grammy Foundation, San Francisco’s Word for Word Theatre Company, The Leonard Bernstein Center for Learning, Porchlight Productions, PBS Ready to Grow, Performance Learning Systems and numerous orchestras.

Alison teaches and advises at the Ontario Institute of Education, University of Toronto in the Initial Teacher Education program, and sits on the International Advisory Committee of the Department of Education, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

In August 2013, Alison joined the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra & Francis Winspear Centre for Music as Director of Musical Creativity. In this role she oversees the many education programs and community engagement initiatives of the joint organizations, including the YONA-Sistema after-school orchestra program for underserved youth. [/expand]

 David Peretz-­Larochelle

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David Peretz-­‐Larochelle is a recent graduate of the Music Education Concurrent Program at McGill University. He was granted the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Medal for his academic and community involvement.

David is an active music educator in high school and community settings. He is the Assistant Musical Director of the Montreal New Horizons Band (nhmontreal.ca). The Montreal New Horizons Band is a non-­‐profit organization that operates in the format of a bilingual and intergenerational community concert band. The organization strives to provide quality musical education to everyone, with a focus on the senior population. David is glad to be assuming the role of instrumental music teacher at Collège Jean-­‐Eudes for the 2015-­‐2016 school year.

While committing to full-­‐time studies and involvement with various organizations, David has remained an active performer. As a classical percussionist, he has performed with various ensembles including Stu&Jess opera productions, symphonic orchestras, the McGill percussion ensemble, the McGill University Chorus, and the McGill Wind Symphony. In addition to being an active music educator, David has been teaching alpine skiing at Mont Orford for eight years.

David Peretz-­‐Larochelle has been an active member of the Youth4Music network since 2014. David’s advocacy work for music education began with the organization and hosting of Montreal’s 2014 Music Monday event. He was thrilled to be hosting the showcase celebrations in Montreal in 2015. [/expand]

Scott Morin

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Scott Morin is a veteran in the Canadian Music Business, having run the day-to-day marketing, sales and A&R for Universal Music’s Classics and Jazz Division for nearly a decade.  He is also a respected artist with nearly 20 years as a professional jazz saxophonist who has successfully bridged the language of music and marketing to build brand awareness and artist recognition throughout his career.

Scott completed his diploma in Commercial Music Studies from Mount Royal College in 1995, his Bachelor of Jazz Studies in Performance at Capilano University in 1998 and his MBA with a Major in Music Entertainment Professions from NYU in 2000.  Career highlights include running marketing campaigns for artists as diverse as Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Ray Charles and many others. Scott also spearheaded the marketing campaign for Diana Krall’s “Look of Love” album, which has gone on to be one of the biggest selling jazz albums of all time.  In 2008 Scott joined the management team for singer Nikki Yanofsky at A440 Entertainment.  Scott was the lead in orchestrating the international launch of Nikki’s most recent album, “Little Secret,” and was Co-Executive Producer alongside the legendary Quincy Jones and Adam Fell.

In January 2015, Scott his wife and their pug Oscar Peterson Jr. moved back to Scott’s hometown of Calgary, to begin a new life and career for Scott in the oil and gas business.  Scott still remains fully immersed in the music business, working as a part-time management and marketing consultant, producing new music, and retaining his board positions in Toronto and long-standing roles with the Juno Awards. [/expand]

Kirsten Maclaine

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Kirsten Maclaine enjoy teaching Elementary Music (K-Gr. 5), Instrumental Music (Gr. 6-9) and T.R.A.P (The Rhythmic Arts Project) at Gulf Shore Consolidated School in North Rustico on the beautiful north shore of Prince Edward Island.  Raised in Toronto, Ontario, Kirsten packed up her trumpet and travelled east to the University of Prince Edward Island where she earned her Bachelor of Music, with a specialization in Education in 1998.  She returned to Ontario to complete a Bachelor of Music Education at Nipissing University in 1999, and her Masters in Education from the University of New Brunswick in 2012.

A passionate music educator, Kirsten has taught music in Toronto and PEI, from pre-school to Grade 13, and has worked in various positions of responsibility and on many different professional committees.  As President of the Canadian Music Educator’s Association, she feels privileged to be able to both serve and support her fellow music educators.

Kirsten lives in scenic New Glasgow, PEI wit her husband Matt and their four children: Emma, Charlotte, Flora and Callum. [/expand]



Greg Way

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After receiving his B Music (majoring in music education) from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio, Greg taught school music in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Greg is a founding executive member of both the Saskatchewan Band Association and Ontario Band Association, past president of the National Association of School Music Dealers, and is currently on the boards of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, the NAMM (The International Music Products Association) Foundation Research Division and the Music Achievement Council. Greg played professionally for 25 years as the principal percussionist of the Regina Symphony Orchestra.

After spending 36 years in music education and music retail, he is semi-retired and lives in Aurora, Ontario, Canada. He is a member of the Optimist Club of Aurora.[/expand]

Russell Stachiw

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Russell Stachiw spent 36 years as a music educator teaching instrumental music in elementary and secondary schools of the City of Toronto. He has toured North America, Caribbean, South Pacific, Europe and Asia conducting award winning student ensembles and giving workshops to local students and educators. He retired from the Toronto Catholic District School Board having spent his last 7 years as Supervisor of Music.

Russ is past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Band Association (Ont.) and a voting member of the Canadian Music Centre.[/expand]

Dennis Tupman

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Dennis Tupman. Teacher, administrator, adjudicator, choral conductor, b Victoria, BC, 19 May 1936; B ED (British Columbia) 1964, M ED (British Columbia) 1969. After teaching elementary and secondary school in Kitimat, BC he became performing arts district principal for the Vancouver School Board in 1971. Tupman has dedicated himself to promoting the notion that ‘the arts are for everyone and that we should strive for excellence in artistic performance and learning.’ He has been active in support organizations including the Vancouver Foundation, and the BCMEA, of which he was president 1975-7. He became president of CMEA in 1991. Tupman has been director of many church and community choirs, and in demand as an adjudicator of choral and instrumental ensembles at music festivals across Canada. A frequent guest lecturer on the arts, he has contributed to educational journals including the Canadian Music Educator, BC Music Educator, and BC Teacher. In 1988 the BCMEA recognized Tupman’s influence on music education in the province by awarding him honorary life membership.

Dennis was a member of the Coalition board for a number of years. His term ended in 2008. His commitment to Coalition goals is unparalleled and his support of our work, even though he is no longer on the board, is impressive. He continues to talk and write about the Coalition and our activities. He has been responsible for securing hundreds of names for the National Effort and there are numerous advocacy articles by Dennis on the Coalition website. He truly exemplifies what the Coalition is all about and deserves very much to be recognized as an Honorary Life Member.[/expand]

Lois Berkinshaw-Fleming

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A graduate of the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music, Lois studied the Orff approach at the Royal Conservatory and in Salzburg Austria. She is the former head of the Orff programme for the Toronto Board of Education and taught courses in Orfl General Music Education and Music For Children Who Have Special needs at York University in Toronto. Lois was also the Course Director of the Orff Teachers Course at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

She has given workshops and courses in every province in Canada, across the United States, in France, Great Britain, Finland and South Africa. Lois has written many articles and is the author of Music For Fun Music For Learning (Appronons par la musique), The Goat with the Bright Red Socks, Musictime K-6, come on Everybody Let’s sing, (Epanouissons-nous par la musique), and Music For All. She edited An Orff Mosaic From Canada / Orff au Canada: une mosaique and co-authored two books using music to help profoundly deaf children learn to talk and sing.

Lois is a Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music, an honourary member of the Ontario Music Educators Association and Carl Orff Canada and has received the Jubilate award from the Canadian Music Educators Association.[/expand]


George Bishop

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George Bishop’s music career can be traced back to 1950 when he began as salesman, then Sales Manager and finally President of Turner Musical Instruments Ltd. until 1972. He was the founder and first President and Director of MIAC – Music Industry Association of Canada and Honorary Life member of MIAC – 1972 to the present time. He was also the Director of the Canadian Bureau for the Advancement of Music from 1966 until 1973.

George Bishop’s leadership led to the following impressive contribution to keeping music education available to students of all ages.

Co-owner and president of Greene Music Ltd. 1972 to 1978

Co-owner and president of Bishop Music Ltd. 1978 to 1981

Founder, first president and Director of CMIEC, Canadian Music Industry Education Committee, 1976 to 2003

Education Manager for Long & McQuade Music Ltd. 1981 to 2002

Founder, First President and Executive Director of the Coalition for Music Education Canada, 1992 to 2004

Industry representative to OMEA (Ontario Music Educators Association)

1982 to 2001, Board member 2001 to 2004 – Honorary Life Member

Industry representative and Director of the Canadian Music Educators Association

CMEA 1982 to 2002. Honorary Life member and recipient of Jubilate Award of Merit

Member of the Music Task Force for the Toronto Board of Education 1997 to 2002

Member of the Music Advisory Committee for the Toronto Board of Education 2002 to present.[/expand]