Rachel Rensink-Hoff – Conductor
Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff is Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Education at Brock University and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers. Former conductor of the McMaster University Choir and founder of the McMaster Women’s Choir, Dr. Rensink-Hoff completed her Doctorate and Master of Music degree at Western University, pursuing additional studies at the Eastman School of Music Conducting Institute, the Voice Care Network of St. John’s University, Minnesota, and the University of Toronto. She has engaged in master-classes under conductors Helmuth Rilling, Joseph Flummerfelt, Anton Armstrong, Dale Warland and the late Sir David Willcocks. Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada, Rachel Rensink-Hoff is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting awarded by the Ontario Arts Council. In 2015, her McMaster Women’s Choir was awarded first prize in the National Choral Competition for Amateur Choirs of the CBC and Choral Canada. That same year she was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award at McMaster University. She publishes regularly in the Choral Journal of the American Choral Directors’ Association as well as in Choral Canada’s Anacrusis and The Canadian Music Educator. Rachel is in frequent demand as guest conductor, adjudicator, conference presenter and workshop clinician. Most recently, she presented a lecture on Canadian and American women choral composers at the 2017 national conference of the American Choral Directors’ Association, offered a presentation on behalf of Choral Canada at the 2017 World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona, and served as guest conductor of the 2017 Nova Scotia Provincial Youth Choir.
Lesley Kingham – Accompanist
Ms Kingham holds a BMus from the U. of Western Ontario (gold medal in pipe organ performance), and a MMus from the U. of Notre Dame (Indiana). She is the regular rehearsal and concert accompanist for Avanti Chamber Singers, and was formerly organ and keyboard instructor as well as staff accompanist at Brock University. In addition she is organist and music director at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in St. Catharines. Ms Kingham also maintains a private music studio, specializing in piano, and continues to accompany widely as both pianist and organist throughout southern Ontario.
Harris Loewen – Conductor Emeritus
Dr. Harris Loewen (DMA, U. of Iowa) is Associate Professor in the Department of Music at Brock University where he has conducted the university choirs, and taught conducting and choral methods since 1987. He is founding conductor of both the Niagara Vocal Ensemble (1991) and Avanti Chamber Singers (2006) and has conducted a variety of other community choirs in southern Ontario.
Dr. Loewen has performed extensively as a professional chorister (e.g. Vancouver Chamber Choir, CBC Hymn Sing, Elora Festival, Oregon Bach Festival), and also continues to perform as a baritone soloist (classical and jazz). In his spare time, he has written vocal and choral music for television and a variety of other commissions, and has occasionally served as a choral adjudicator and workshop clinician.