NORTH LAKESHORE CHORUS: PEOPLE
Michael Korn, Producer
Michael Korn, the producer of ‘Till the Boys Come Home, grew up near St. Albans, Herts, England in the 1960s and came to Canada with his parents in 1975. His father was a German Holocaust survivor and his mother survived the Allied bombing of Cologne, Germany in the Second World War. Both grandfathers fought in the Imperial Germany Army in the Great War—although his Jewish grandfather served in the British Army for eight years in the Second World War. Michael’s love of choral music lead to opportunities to sing with Scarborough Choral Society and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. He was a founding member of the Bel Canto Singers in 1993 and currently serves as their president.
Passionate about history and music—and thrilled to be able to meld the two together with a narrative—Michael was inspired by the story of Thomas Clifford Wilson, who grew up in his Prince Edward County farm house, and was sadly killed at the Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium on November 4, 1917. This passion has led to the production of nine concerts since 1993, all with an historical theme. A founding member of the North Lakeshore Chorus in 2014, Michael enjoyed taking ‘Till the Boys Come Home, a musical tribute to the men and women of the First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who served their King and Country in the Great War from 1914-1918, on a tour to Ottawa, Quebec City and the Maritimes in August 2014. He is very excited by the prospect of travelling to England, Belgium and France in 2015. Michael is inspired by the dedication of his associate producer, Claire Shragge, and of the choristers, conductors, accompanists and volunteers who have worked with him on several past and current productions.
Claire Shragge, Associate Producer
Having grown up in Saskatchewan before moving to Toronto, Claire came to producing concerts in a very roundabout way! She earned a science degree at McMaster University and then worked as a computer programmer at IBM in Toronto. She also taught programming and computer applications at IBM and later at St. Lawrence College, after a move to Kingston with her husband, Peter, in 1974. They are very proud of their two sons.
Now retired, Claire enjoys singing, which she professes she has done for as long as she can remember, playing bridge, ballroom dancing, theatre and spending time with her two grandsons. A dedicated member of the Kingston Choral Society (KCS) for over 30 years, it was in her capacity as President that she first met producer, Michael Korn, in the spring of 2012. Since then she has provided countless hours creating spreadsheets and Word documents, drafting and sending out e-mails, liaising with tour companies and choristers and acting as a sounding board for the producer. In addition to singing with the Kingston Choral Society and the North Lakeshore Chorus, she is also a member of the Kingston Senior Choristers and gives concerts at retirement homes around Kingston.
Ian Juby, Conductor
Ian Juby is chorus master for the Kingston Choral Society, a position he has held for 15 years. At an early age, Ian began singing lessons with Marie Moir, continuing until after he graduated from Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute. Ian studied as a voice major at Western University in London, Ontario. While at Western Ian was a member of the Faculty of Music Singers and the newly formed Opera Workshop. He studied conducting with Lanse MacDowell, Deral Johnston, Gerry Summers, Wayne Strongman and Wayne Riddell; and with Joseph Flummerfelt at the renowned Westminster Choir College in New Jersey.
Ian Juby recently retired following a 30-year career teaching music and grooming award-winning choirs, bands and musicals in high schools from Picton to Kingston. He is music director for the annual Kinsmen musical at the Grand Theatre, Kingston and conductor for the Kingston Capital Men's Chorus. Ian is also director for the Limestone Chorale and marks his second year as a conductor with the North Lakeshore Mass Chorus. He maintains an active voice studio in Kingston.
Jacqueline Mokrzewski and Charles Willett will share accompanist duties on the European Tour 2015; Garret Rodgers will be bagpiper for the Tour
Jacqueline Mokrzewski has been behind the piano since the age of three. When she was eight she competed in the Milosz Magin International Piano Competition and finished in the top ten of an 8-12 age group. Jacqueline began studying with Dr. Douglas Humphreys of the Eastman School of Music at age nine, and in 2003 she competed in the New York Music Teachers Association Piano Competition where she received 1st prize.
In the spring of 2005 Jacqueline received the SOCAN prize for the best played Canadian work at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Competition. In both 2007 and 2008 Jacqueline succeeded in competing in the finals of the Canadian Music Competition, finishing with 2nd prize in all of Canada for her age group. Her first competitive orchestral accomplishment was the winning of the 3rd Toronto Sinfonietta Orchestra Competition with whom she later performed Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto. In 2010 she was a semi-finalist in the 3rd Canadian Chopin Competition.
Likewise, Jacqueline is an avid accompanist and has had the honour to perform with the Bel Canto Singers, Hart House Chorus, and both LDCSS and CCHS concert and chamber choirs. In addition to this, Jacqueline has been involved with various organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, the Polish Women’s Association, PISK, and Quo Vadis, an association for young leaders.
In 2011, Jacqueline competed in the UTSO concerto competition where she performed Liszt’s E flat major Piano Concerto and won the opportunity to perform this concerto with the UTSO. Currently, Jacqueline is studying with Professor Marietta Orlov and will begin her Masters in Piano Performance at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music in the fall of 2014.
Charles Willett earned a Bachelor of Music from Mount Allison University (1978) and then went on to the University of Regina where he studied instrumental conducting under Dr. Howard Leyton-Brown. Returning to New Brunswick in 1980, he took up residence in Saint John, where he became music director of St. Paul's Anglican Church (Valley, 1982-85), and also at the Church of St. John Baptist & St. Clement (Mission, 1986-89). His other musical activities during this time included being the music director of two Saint John High musicals: The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan) and Brigadoon (Lerner and Lowe), as well as conducting the Saint John Symphony Orchestra (Symphony New Brunswick, 1986-87).
In 1990, Charles moved to Vancouver. Continuing his studies, he received a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of British Columbia. While in Vancouver, he was music director at West Point Grey United Church (1990-95), and at Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church (1998-2004). His orchestral activities at that time including being conductor of the Richmond Community Orchestra (1990-92) and guest conductor of the New Westminster Community orchestra (1992).
Charles Willett returned to New Brunswick in 2004 to take up the post of Music Director at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Rothesay. In addition, Charles has been the accompanist with various choirs, including the Saint John Rotary Boys Choir, the Rothesay-Kings Rotary Girls Choir, Colla Voce, and the Saint John Men's Chorus (2008-).
Garret Rodgers, born July 13, 1998, grew up in London, Ontario. He currently attends Lathallan School in North East Scotland. Garret has been playing the bagpipes for almost seven years, creating many unforgettable opportunities. He has performed with the London Firefighters Pipe Band in London, Ontario since he started learning the bagpipes.
Garret wants to be the bagpiper for the European Tour in 2015 in order to travel in the footsteps of the troops in World War I and play at different memorial sites. Garret states: "It's also important that I get the chance to meet a lot of people on the way. This tour will be a great experience and I am looking forward to it."