Meet the Choir

Kristine Anderson

Kristine has performed across Canada, the USA and England in operas, oratorios, concerts, and musical theatre productions. She performed principal roles in productions with The Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Opera Ora, Calgary Opera, The Guelph Spring Festival, and The Sharon Festival as well as appearing in concerts with Tapestry Singers of Toronto.

Her most extended role was as ‘Madame Giry’ in the Live Entertainment production of The Phantom of the Opera which toured Canada as well as Hawaii and Alaska. She appeared in The Mikado at the National Arts Centre, in the award-winning production of A Little Night Music with The Canadian Stage in Toronto, and in the Macdonald-Mirvish Production of H.M.S. Pinafore at the Royal Alex Theatre. She also appeared in productions of The Sound of Music both in Calgary and in Hamilton. In the world of musical theatre, she performed leading roles with Young People’s Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Huron Country Playhouse, The Globe Theatre, and on tour in the U.S.A.

With her trio “The Ginger Group” Kristine recorded a CD of Canadian folk songs and toured Canada with the show they created called “Canadian Treasures”.

Allison Arends

Soprano Allison Cecilia Arends’ performing career and musical studies have taken her across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. A graduate of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, the University of Toronto Opera School (M.Mus) and the University of Victoria Voice Performance Program (B.Mus), recent operatic appearances include Gilda (Rigoletto), Violetta (La Traviata), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), and premiering Canadian works with Calgary Opera, Tapestry Opera, and Soundstreams. Active as a concert soloist, among her many performances of note are the Carmina Burana with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in Cm with the Regina Philharmonic Chorus, Handel’s Messiah with the Amadeus Choir, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Toronto Concert Orchestra, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Toronto Philharmonia, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Oakville Masterworks, Haydn’s Creation with Chorus Niagara, Handel’s Solomon with Pax Christi Chorale, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with the Toronto Sinfonietta, and R. Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Calgary Civic Symphony and Etobicoke Philharmonic. Allison toured with the Brahms Symphony Orchestra across China in a series of Viennese concerts, and was honoured to perform at Rideau Hall, as well as for International Dignitaries in Calgary and Toronto. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Hnatyshyn Foundation Artist’s Grant, a Metropolitan Opera Encouragement Award, and a B.C Arts Council Senior Award, among others. 

In addition to her performing, Allison maintains a busy private voice and theory studio in Toronto, is the resident voice teacher for Univox Choir, is a member of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s College of Examiners, and regularly adjudicates music festivals from coast to coast.  Having formerly taught for the St. Michael’s and Timothy Eaton Memorial’s Choir School, Allison has conducted choral, vocal, and educational workshops and masterclasses for the Edna Manley Music College in Jamaica, University of Mississippi, British Columbia Provincial Music Festival, Regina Conservatory of Music, Ryerson Oakham House Choir, Opera Atelier, and the Royal Canadian College of Organists. A few years ago, Allison was thrilled to combine her passion for teaching, children, music, and social justice by co-founding and running the Mini Mozarts Music Camp for underprivileged children in Kingston, Jamaica. 
Scott Bell

Scott started in music as a boy soprano at St James Orillia under Albert Greer, followed by many years in musical theatre, jazz choirs, professional acting, and roles in opera productions with companies such as Opera in Concert, Toronto Operetta Theatre, and Opera Anonymous.  Great memories include a madcap adaptation of Sophocles’ The Clouds together with Laurie Hurst and Rod Campbell, Thomas’ Hamlet the Opera in French with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre, and Ramiro in L’Heure Espagnol with Op Anon.

Other recent credits include singing in the ensemble of Kevin Mallon’s Juno-nominated Vivaldi CD with Aradia Ensemble with the incomparable Maria Soulis in a leading role. He is thankful to make his living helping creating documentaries, lifestyle, features, and other film projects for CBC, BBC, Discovery Channel, and others. Scott feels blessed to be able to sing for, and be a part of the caring Rosedale community.

Stephen Bell

Described by Cesky Kultur Magazine (Czech Republic) as “a bright tenor, with a lovely lyrical Mozart voice” Stephen is a young upcoming tenor in the Canadian Opera scene. A member of the Calgary Opera Young Emerging Artist Program for the 2006/2007 season, he made his Calgary Opera debuts as Trevor in John Estacio’s opera Frobisher followed by Spoletta in Tosca. Recent engagements have included Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, Tamino in Die Zauberfloete, Oronte in Alcina, Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, and Tanzmeister/Brighella in Ariadne. Mr. Bell performed with the city opera theater Meteske Divadlo Usti Nad Labem, Czech Republic in the 2006-09 seasons, singing such roles as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte, and Tamino in Die Zauberfloete. Stephen recently performed the role of Gernando in Hadyn’s L’isola Disabitata with the Kevin Mallon and the 13 Strings in Ottawa.

For the past 9 seasons, Stephen has been a full-time member of the Canadian Opera Company chorus, and has sung numerous understudy and small roles. In concert work, Stephen has sung the tenor soloist Handel’s Messiah with the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Missisauga Choral Society, and toured with Teplice Radio Orchestra in the Czech Republic. He released two recordings of Estonian Art Song, Kojuigatsus, and Lessons Learned, both with pianist Charles Kipper. Selections from Kojuigatsus were featured in the award winning Estonian documentary feature film “Keepers of the Loom” at Estdocs 2014. Along with Charles Kipper, Stephen has performed for various recital societies featuring Estonian artsong in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, New York, and most recently Estonia.

Vladis Jevtejevs

Valdis has a degree in music and choral conducting from Latvia's renowned Riga Dom Cathedral choir school. He sang in many award-winning acapella groups in Europe, Asia and North America. Valdis has shared his world-wide choral experience with musitians, choirs and churches in GTA like Humbercrest United church, Orpheus choir, The Mendelssohn choir etc.

Peggy Mahon

Peggy Mahon has played leading roles in both plays and musicals on most major stages in Canada, as well as some in the US (Studebaker Theatre in Chicago), Capetown, Hong Kong, and, last year, at the Earl’s Court Theatre in the West End of London.

On TV, she was a leading lady to “Wayne & Shuster” for several years, a regular on “Wind at My Back”, a dozen character voices on “Tales of the Riverbank”, and several other Canadian series. Peggy was recently featured in the film “Dr. Cabbie”.

Peggy recorded many CBC radio dramas, several jazz CDs, and hundreds of “Talking Books” for the CNIB. She currently serves on the boards of ACTRA, AFBS, National Theatre School Alumni Assoc., teaches, and directs (“Marilyn After” won best foreign solo show in NYC).

Catherine Morrow

Catherine Morrow sings first soprano at Rosedale United Church and provides contextual summaries on the music performed by the choir or soloists each week. She serves as guest soloist in many Toronto-area and Muskoka churches, for musical theatre concerts, and was professional soprano with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Elora Festival Singers, and at Temple Sinai. A graduate with a BHons in English and French from University of Toronto’s Trinity College, Catherine has a diploma in French Language and Civilization from la Sorbonne at l’Université de Paris. She studied voice at the Royal Conservatory and at the Conservatoire de Paris.

Married to composer Norman Gabriel Nurmi (now a bass at Rosedale), Catherine and Norman perform occasional cabaret concerts, notably a series of fundraising events for Tapestry Opera, of which they are now Directors Emeritus. Catherine is the grateful recipient of several of Norman’s songs written especially for her range and vocal colour, and she takes great delight in sharing some of them in several recordings, including the Chorona ensemble’s In Bethlehem Tonight, and the solo vocal CDs My Lord What a Morning, All I See is You, and a recording of seasonal songs, A Child Born There, the latter two also featuring renowned violinist Moshe Hammer and pianist Ross Inglis.

Catherine works full-time as Associate Director of Development and as editor for CIJA, a non-profit advocacy organization on behalf of Canada’s Jewish community. She ran a personal event-planning company from home and, in her spare time, continues to edit grants and other written materials for non-profits. Catherine is active as a volunteer in the Toronto arts community. A hobby is creation of hand-painted glassware and she is the proud mother of three beautiful grown daughters.

Norman Gabriel Nurmi

In addition to work as a baritone with Canada’s most prominent professional choirs, Norman, a bass and assistant Music Director at Rosedale United, is a composer working in many genres including love songs, sacred solos, small-ensemble pieces, children’s choruses, and commissioned choral compositions. He composes and frequently arranges pieces to suit the many talented singers in the Rosedale Choir.

Norman’s beautiful carol “In Bethlehem Tonight” was the title track of a Christmas CD featuring several of his own and other Canadian composers’ works performed by the vocal ensemble Chorona and was featured on Lullabies and Carols of Christmas, the recent acclaimed Naxos CD by soprano Monica Whicher and harpist Judy Loman. His work has been commissioned, performed and recorded by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Norman has produced several CDs including My Lord What a Morning, a collection of 14 of his songs as well as All I See is You, and A Child Born There, featuring his wife, and Rosedale United soprano Catherine Morrow, renowned violinist Moshe Hammer, pianist Ross Inglis, and flautist Christopher Lee.

Along with his composing, arranging, and recording, Norman sings and conducts at Toronto-area churches and synagogues, performs with the male pop-quartet The Retro Ramblers, teaches voice and piano, accompanies children’s choirs, and is a musical director for school productions.

Deborah Overes

Vancouver-born contralto Deborah Overes has made a career in concert, opera, and music theatre. Her diverse repertoire includes a number of comic roles including all the major G&S contralto roles. Her many dramatic roles include Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica) and Baba (The Medium). She has performed with many Canadian companies and internationally with the Wexford Festival Opera and Festival Lyrique International de Belle-Île en Mer. Musical theatre appearances include the Sound of Music for both Mirvish and the Stratford Festival and touring with Phantom of the Opera. Deborah has been lucky enough to sing with her colleagues at Rosedale United for over 20 years.

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson is an accomplished opera singer with post graduate studies in both opera and concert performance. She has been a core member of the Canadian Opera Company Chorus since 1994. She is contracted annually for anywhere from 3-6 productions a year. She has also performed small roles in Madama Butterfly, Turandot and Peter Grimes as well as selected understudies and school tours. She has even had an acting role in the most current production of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Jennifer has had performance opportunities with small local Opera companies such as Royal Opera Canada, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Opera Vicina and as an Oratorio soloist with choral groups in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI. Jennifer teaches private voice lessons and has held her Church soloist position at Rosedale United for 14 years. She is co-conductor of the Mimico Children’s Choir in south Etobicoke. It brings her great pleasure to share in the Sunday services at Rosedale.  

David Shephard

David has been singing bass with the Rosedale Choir since 1995.  His past amateur experience includes choral singing and musical theatre during his high school years. Since 1995 David has continued to study the bass part through voice training, choir participation, and a personal interest in music which showcases the bass part.

Louis Simão

Award winning, Toronto-based musician Louis Simão has been composing, performing and recording as a multi-instrumentalist in a variety of genres for twenty years. 2016 marked the release of his much-anticipated solo album, “A LUZ” (The Light) – a collection of Simão’s own compositions and arrangements that takes the listener on a journey through the sounds of the Portuguese-speaking world as experienced through the life of this first-generation Canadian son of Portuguese immigrants. His cultural background combined with his jazz sensibility and chamber music compositional style come together to create a voice that is at once universal while remaining deeply personal.

As a sideman, Louis Simão has performed and/or recorded with Nelly Furtado, Dominic Mancuso (2010 JUNO winner), Michael Occhipinti’s Sicilian Jazz Project (2009 JUNO nominee), Kiran Ahluwalia, Luis Mario Ochoa, Justin Rutledge, Guinga, Henrique Cazes, Patricia Cano, Daniela Nardi’s Espresso Manifesto, Sophie Milman, Bill McBirnie, “MARIA SEVERA” at The Shaw Festival, Tapestry New Opera Works, Eliana Cuevas, Aline Morales and Luanda Jones. Described as “utterly unique” (CBC Radio One), he was the winner of the 2007 USA Songwriting Competition in the World Music category with his song, “Fado Torto”. Simão has opened for Cesaria Evora and Celso Machado, shared a night with Brazilian reggae stars Chico Cesar and Rita Ribeiro, toured Portugal (2006); and in 2008, was the invited artist of the Portuguese Consulate and the Instituto Camões at the Festival de Printemps in Azzemour, Morocco. In 2017, he was nominated in 3 separate categories for the 2017 International Portuguese Music Awards (IPMA) and won Song of the Year with his composition “Três Anos” (Simão/Petrilli). In November of 2017, he was named World Solo Artist of the Year by the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Simão’s diverse skills also have him in demand as a music educator and clinician as well as a panel juror for the Canada Council for the Arts and FACTOR.

Maria Soulis

Maria Soulis, mezzo soprano, has been active in both Canada and Europe on the operatic and concert stage. After three years as a resident singer with the Regensburg Opera in Germany (1999–2002), she branched out as a freelance artist in theatres throughout Europe. In Canada she has sung with Pacific Opera Victoria, Tapestry Opera, Chorus Niagara, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Aradia Ensemble, with whom she recorded the JUNO nominated CD, Sacred Music – Volume 4, featuring music of Antonio Vivaldi. An avid recitalist, Maria has an extensive song repertoire that spans the English, French, Spanish, Greek, and German languages.

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is an almost-retired member of the Rosedale United Church choir bass section. In his working life he was a Deputy Minister in the Ontario Government, a labour lawyer, and for the past twenty years, a management consultant working with Executive Teams and Boards of Directors.  In his music life, he is a jazz flute player with his own jazz group, TranzitionzJazz, and sings in a community choir, VOCA, as well as in a newly established vocal jazz ensemble, The Jazz Project.  Jim has two daughters – one in Toronto and one in Seattle – and four grandchildren.  His introduction to Rosedale United Church came through his wonderful neighbour, Fran Deacon.

Julie Wildgoose

Julie joined Rosedale United Church in the spring of 1966, and joined the church choir in 1967. Julie has been involved in school, church, and community choirs from the age of 6. She sang with the Hart House Chorus in her university years and with the University of Toronto Symphony Chorus in later years. Currently, Julie conducts the Junior choir at RUC and acts as the Inclusion Consultant with Viva Youth Singers.

Julie taught Core French, Music, and choir at Sunny View Public School for almost 30 years. She still does supply teaching at the school. She was married for ten and a half years, but has been a widow for eight and a half. She volunteers one morning a week at Centennial Infant and Child Centre. Julie loves kids, reading, singing, walking, movies, animals, and making desserts.