Meet the Team
Marni Strome (B.F.A., B. Ed., A.R.C.T.)
Marni Strome has worked with the Calgary Children’s Choir as a Music Director since its inception in 1988, assuming the role of Artistic Director in 1993. In this role she oversees the entire choral program and directs the two senior choirs. Her enthusiasm and positive leadership allow her to create and foster choirs that combine a high level of artistry with a strong sense of community, stewardship and fun. Marni has toured with the choir to numerous parts of Canada, Carnegie Hall in New York, Europe and Japan, where they have performed and also taken part in festivals with internationally recognized conductors such as Dr.Henry Leck, Dr. David Flood, and Dr. Will Kesling. Her choirs have been award winners in local and professional festivals, where adjudicators often comment on the choir’s sense of ensemble and musical sensitivity. The impact of her musical leadership and mentorship is seen across the music scene in Calgary and beyond, as former choristers have gone on to become professional singers, voice teachers, conductors and composers. In 2012 Calgary Children’s Choir proudly celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Beyond the Calgary Children’s Choir program, Marni Strome is active as a teacher, conductor, clinician and adjudicator. She has worked for over 25 years teaching choral music in the public education system, and has also led the choir of St.Giles Presbyterian Church for 15 years.
Having studied music formally from a young age, Marni Strome brings a lifelong love of music, singing and the choral art to her profession. Attesting to the diversity of her skills, as a youth, Marni also won provincial and national awards for composition. Mentors include Rosemarie Sherban (founder of the Calgary Children’s Choir), David Ferguson, and Janos Horvath. Marni Strome received her degrees from the University of Calgary,where she subsequently has taught Choral Conducting pedagogy based on the Kodaly Method for the University’s summer diploma program. Marni has also completed her Associateship in Vocal Performance from the Toronto Conservatory as well as Grade Eight piano. Marni continually seeks opportunities to further her expertise in the choral and vocal field, having recently completed a choral and orchestral conducting master class with Gabriella Thesz, former conductor of the Hungarian National Radio Children’s Chorus.
As a musician and educator, Marni teaches from the philosophical belief that people benefit in countless ways from the experience of singing in a choir, that all young people should have this opportunity regardless of experience; and that ultimately they can be lifelong participants in the music community.
Andreas Berko has been involved with a diverse range of performing arts organizations in Alberta, including choral, theatrical, and instrumental ensembles. His training includes Bachelors of Music and Education (University of Calgary), a Certificate in Catholic Educational Leadership (St. Mary’s University, Calgary), and a Master of Education (IT Leadership, University of Lethbridge).
Andreas has directed music at Southminster, Living Spirit, and Hillhurst United Churches (Calgary), St. Mary’s (Cochrane), and Canadian Martyrs Church (Calgary). He has instructed ensembles for the Calgary Boys’ Choir, the Youth Singers of Calgary, the Calgary Catholic School District Choir, and the Chrism Mass Choir for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary. As a performer, Andreas has sung with various levels of the Calgary Boys’ Choir, the Mount Royal Conservatory Choirs, and in choirs at the provincial and national level. He has been seen on stage with Spiritus Chamber Choir, the Ad Libitum Vocal Arts Ensemble, the Fabulous Doo Wop Boys, and with community theatre organizations in Calgary.
Andreas is currently a Consultant (Fine & Performing Arts) for the Calgary Catholic School District, but, most importantly, chauffeurs his children between hockey games, music practises, and is his wife’s on call technical support specialist.
Susan Woodward (ARCT, ATCL)
Susan studied classical piano in Calgary and at the Banff centre. At the age of sixteen, she began her accompanying career. Susan has had the pleasure of accompanying the Calgary Children’s Choir since 1989. She has worked with all the choirs and both Marni Strome and Angie McGillivray during her time with the organization. In addition to her choral accompanying, Susan has also worked with solo singers, instrumentalists and chamber ensembles, and is also active as the conductor of the German Canadian Male Chorus, The Dutch Canadian Choir, the Suncor Energy Choir and the Westside Singers. Susan has toured with the Calgary Children’s Choir to England in 1994, the Maritimes in 2000 and to Hawaii in 2009.
Lindsay is an all around music lover, performer and educator. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice in June 2015 and Bachelor of Education degree in Fine Arts (music) in June 2017. She has been the recipient of numerous University Vocal and Choral Scholarships. During her music degree, she focused on vocal pedagogy, vocal performance, and choral and instrumental conducting. She has performance experience in concert choir, show choir, chamber choir, vocal jazz and early music ensembles. She taught voice with StageCoach Canada and was a private piano/voice instructor with Time Music Studios for six years. She has fifteen years of musical education, fifteen years of playing experience, and six years of teaching experience. She is currently a music teacher with Calgary Catholic School District. Lindsay is excited to be a part of the Calgary Children’s Choir for this upcoming season!
Alena Naumchyk immigrated to Canada in September 2006 from Belarus (former republic of the USSR) where she received her early training in piano and musical disciplines at the Belarusian State Academy of Music and Arts in Minsk. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Belarusian State Academy of Music and Arts in 1997, studying piano with the renowned professor Sergey Mikulik.
She brings with her many years of experience as an accompanist and pianist with exceptional technique and artistic sensitivity. Career highlights include winning numerous international choir competitions, accompanying soloists Nina Tishko, Natalia Zmitrovich and Nikolay Konovalenko with the State Belarusian Philharmonic Society and teaching piano/accompanying choirs and soloists at her “alma mater” Belarusian State College of Arts and Belarusian State Academy of Arts. She also appeared as a vocalist and as an accompanist under the direction of Nikolay Kashuro.
Mrs. White has been the business manager for the Calgary Children’s Choir since 1988 and has assisted with the choirs’ various tours, traveling with the choir on tour to New York City, Vancouver Island and Hawaii.
She has served on the “Quality of Life” Committee at the Bethany Care Society and also volunteers at the Bethany Care Centre in Calgary, playing piano and organ for various functions.
Our talented and experienced musical staff is actively supported by volunteer parents, family members and members of the community at large. Thank you to everyone for your continued support!
Music Makers Program Coordinator
Rachael Mollison-Read (Music Performance Diploma, B.A. Music, B.A. History, B.A. International Relations)
Social Media Manager
Rachael Mollison-Read began singing with the Calgary Children’s Choir in 1997, and continued singing with the choir until 2008. During her time with the choir, Rachael toured both nationally and internationally throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan.
Rachael pursued a post-secondary education in music after high school, earning a Music Performance Diploma in Voice from Mount Royal College in 2006, and a B.A. in Music from the University of Calgary in 2009.
Rachael conducted the Junior Calgary Children’s Choir in the fall of 2009 to the spring of 2014, bringing with her a passion for music, and particularly choral singing.
Currently, Rachael teaches classical voice from her home studio and acts as the social media manager for the Calgary Children’s Choir.