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 masterclasses under conductors Helmuth Rilling, Joseph Flummerfelt, Anton Armstrong, Dale Warland and the late Sir David Willcocks. Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada and Past-President of Choirs Ontario, Rachel Rensink-Hoff is the 2014 winner of the 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 and was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award at McMaster University. Rachel works frequently as adjudicator, conference presenter and workshop clinician locally and across Canada. She has given international presentations at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors’ Association in Minneapolis and the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona. As guest conductor, she led the 2017 Nova Scotia Youth Choir and returned to Nova Scotia in 2018 for their Sing Summer choral program. 2019 brings appearances with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s Singsation series and the Chorus America Summer Conducting Academy.
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. Thomas’ 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 (BMus, UBC; DMA, U. of Iowa) was Associate Professor in the Department of Music at Brock University (1987-2018), where he conducted the university choral ensembles and taught related courses. During his career, he was a chorister, baritone soloist and/or conductor with professional and amateur choirs in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, also performing as a pop and jazz vocalist in various settings. In Niagara, Loewen was the founding conductor of the Niagara Vocal Ensemble (1991-2011), Avanti Chamber Singers (2006-17), and Brock University Men’s Chorus (2008-2017). Under his direction, the university choirs and community ensembles released five recordings in the Voices of Niagara CD Series, featuring the work of Niagara composers. Over the years, Loewen has written vocal and choral music for television and a variety of other commissions. Since his retirement, a number of these choral compositions and arrangements are being published, along with some newer works.