Voice and Speech Arts
        Ingrid Attrot

Soprano Ingrid Attrot has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. She has worked with the English National Opera, Opera Northern Ireland and the Pacific Opera.

She has an affinity for contemporary repertoire and has won the Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition. This led to many collaborations with composers such as Peter Maxwell Davies, Geoffrey Burgon, Hugh Wood, Nicola LeFanu, Julian Philips and John Greer. She has sung in major festivals including the Salzburg Festival, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Holland Festival in Amsterdam and the BBC Proms. In recital, she has appeared at the Concertgebauw (Amsterdam), Le Monnaie (Brussels), Royal Opera House (London), and at the Wigmore Hall (London).

Ingrid is a former student of Selena James at the VCM. Her background includes a Post Graduate Opera Diploma from the University of Toronto and training at the National Opera Studio, London, England.

Ingrid is head of the voice department, Opera Studio, and Director of the Voice Collegium program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

        Carla Birston

One of the Lower Mainland’s most active string pedagogues, violinist Carla Birston has dedicated her career to fostering the joy of playing and learning with students of all ages and levels. 

Along with a busy career as a freelance musician and private teacher, Carla enjoys working with youth orchestras. For over twenty-five years she conducted the Semiahmoo Strings in White Rock and is currently directing the string ensembles at the VSO School of Music, where she is a member of the violin faculty and Chair of the String Department.

An Examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music, Carla is in demand as an adjudicator at festivals throughout British Columbia. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia, where she was a student of the renowned violist and teacher, Gerald Stanick.

        Murray Nichol

From Honolulu to Yellowknife and Montreal to Mumbai, Murray Nichol enjoys an active schedule of adjudicating, examining, and conducting master classes and workshops. More recently he has travelled to Colombia, Brazil, India, and Myanmar as an advisor to the Vancouver Biennale, an international arts organization that uses art as a catalyst for dialogue, learning, and social action.

As a senior examiner for Royal Conservatory Examinations, he examines in both Canada and the United States. He has also participated in the University of British Columbia’s Music Alumni Mentorship Program in Vancouver where he has mentored undergraduate and graduate music students.

Mr. Nichol is passionate about working with young musicians, especially pianists. A well-respected teacher (some of his students have received Royal Conservatory regional medals for highest marks in the province of British Columbia), he spent fifteen years at the Tom Lee Learning Centre where his students consistently won scholarships for their polished playing. He inspires pianists of all ages to imagine — and achieve — their best.

Having graduated from Brandon University with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance (with Greatest Distinction), Mr. Nichol completed a Master of Music in Piano Performance at the University of British Columbia where he studied with Jane Coop, Dr. Henri-Paul Sicsic, and Rena Sharon.

A member of the British Columbia Registered Music Teachers’ Association, the Music Teachers’ National Association, and the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association, Mr. Nichol is an MTNA Nationally Certified Teacher of Music.

Dance – Stage
       Lori Birk

At the age of 4 in Victoria, Lori Birk began her dancing career under the direction of Bebe Eversfield. She continued studying in Ballet, completing several R.A.D. exams and also trained in Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop Street Jazz, Lyrical and Acrobatics. Lori has been an instructor since 1993, where she taught at studios in the Victoria area, Judy Russell’s Enchainement Dance Centre in Prince George and at the Dance Gallery in Kamloops since 2010. Lori is currently the co-owner and co-Artistic Director of the Dance Gallery, where she teaches all genres of dance, from Pre-School to Advanced students She is a Level One Certified Acrobatic Arts instructor and is currently completing her Level Two certification. Lori is also a BCRPA Fitness and Certified Barre Instructor, which she currently teaches as well.

Lori has won several scholarships for her performing and has attended training and classes in New Orleans, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Lori has performed and travelled with students to Disneyland several times, as well as the BC Summer Games and other international venues to showcase her passion for the arts. She has volunteered in several local arts communities, including “Kiss Me Kate”, “Grease” and “Dancing Through Time” and at UNBC, she was a guest instructor for both the arts and athletic departments. Lori co-choreographed for the North America Central America Caribbean games Opening Ceremonies, for the TSN press conference for the 4 Nations Cup and also instructed at the 2014 Performing Arts BC Provincial Festival in Penticton.

Lori continues to instruct, train and study all genres of dance, sharing her love of the arts with both students and audiences. Several of Lori’s past students have gone on to professional careers in both the arts and fitness…her passion and love is contagious.

Dance – Ballet/Modern
Chelsea Beamish

Chelsea Beamish has been a member of the dance world for twenty-five years. Her roles have ranged from dancer, teacher, rehearsal director, choreographer, stage manager, and adjudicator. She began her post secondary training with The Source Dance Company in Vancouver, B.C. then went on to graduate with a certificate in the performing arts from Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C. where she also briefly taught following her completion. From there, she returned to Vancouver, teaching for various studios both locally and as a guest instructor throughout B.C. She then spent a year dancing and performing with Sentio, a contemporary dance company. At the end of the season, Chelsea accepted an offer to teach ballet in New Delhi, India. Here, she spent two months working with various studios educating both students and teachers, as well as training company members and professional Bollywood musical performers. In 2014, Chelsea moved to London, England where she founded and ran the ballet department for London School of Arts. Three years later she returned to Canada where she continued to teach and began adjudicating. In the fall of 2016, Chelsea moved to Dublin, Ireland where she ran an elite contemporary training program and guest taught/choreographed for studios throughout the county. In November, she will be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa to manage MOVE: THE COMPANY and work with underprivileged locals, bringing dance to all ages. Chelsea will continue to teach and adjudicate in B.C. until spring of 2018 when she will move to Mexico to pursue teaching there and throughout South America.

     Doug Sonju

Doug Sonju moved from the Seattle area to Armstrong, B.C. in 1970 to take a position teaching all levels of band in that city – and also teaching grades 8-10 English, two years teaching typing (remember typewriters?) and also one year teaching grade 8 “Girl’s Guidance.”  As a young bachelor at the time, he remembers showing a lot of movies in those classes!  Also in 1970, Doug became the principal clarinetist of the Okanagan Symphony – an organization which at that time only paid the conductor and a string quartet.  Doug spent 7 years in the Armstrong school district before retiring from that job.  He ended up spending 44 seasons as principal clarinetist of the Okanagan Symphony before retiring from that position.
After 7 years of playing as an amateur in the OSO, the orchestra had the funds to hire a principal flute, principal oboe, and principal clarinet.  Not for much money, of course.  Community music schools in Vernon and Kelowna were just starting up and Doug joined the faculty of both where he taught private lessons on both clarinet and sax for about 30 years.  Since moving to the Okanagan, Doug has remained active as a commercial/jazz/rock/blues player on saxophone.  Those three streams of income allowed him to survive.  He is especially proud of his long tenure with the Okanagan Symphony – an organization that grew over all those years to become a fully professional orchestra – and his playing grew to keep up with increasingly more difficult music and expectation of constantly rising standards of musicianship.
Today Doug is mostly retired, but still periodically gets his chops in shape for a few gigs.  Last fall he played sax with a Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne at the Vernon Jazz Club and also with the band for the fourth annual run of “Rocky Horror Show.”  He still plays clarinet/sax with a Dixieland group, “The Cliff Jumpers” and is booked next spring for a revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”