Bytown Voices: Musical Leadership

Joan Fearnley, Director of Music

Joan Fearnley's love for choral singing and conducting began as a teen where she sang and conducted in her home parish in Montreal. She sang as a chorister with many prominent ensembles under excellent leadership including St Lawrence Choir in Montreal, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Ottawa Choral Society and Ottawa’s Seventeen Voyces. In 2006 she founded, and continues to conduct the Notre Dame Cathedral Women’s choir in Ottawa. In 2008 she took on the leadership of the Notre Dame’s Children’s choir.

Joan is also a versatile singer and recitalist performing both solo and ensemble works in a variety of styles from baroque to contemporary repertoire. She has also performed as a soloist with a number of Ottawa choirs including Coro Vivo, CAMMAC, Castenchel, St Matthews, Knox and Notre Dame. Audiences have been impressed by the beauty of her tone, superb musicianship and communicative stage presence. Joan has pursued private music studies, both in senior levels of vocal performance and advanced theoretical subjects and holds a Master’s in Applied Economics. She actively shares her love of music with students and vocal workshops.

“I am delighted to be starting my third year with the Bytown Voices,”said Joan.  “It continues to provide opportunities to explore new repertoire and to share my love of singing. I am particularly excited that for our December 2017  concert we will be performing  a piece composed by one of our own members who has a background in music composition."

Carla Klassen, Choir Accompanist

Carla Klassen, Bytown Voices’ new choir accompanist and Ottawa resident, was born into musical family and has sung and played piano for most of her life.  She grew up attending concerts and participating in various musical endeavours at school, church and with her extended family members.  Her first accompanying experience was under the direction of her father, a church musician and college music professor. She currently accompanies the Ottawa Mennonite Church Senior Choir and the Nepean Singers.

A busy piano teacher, church musician and accompanist, Carla holds a Bachelor’s degree, ARCT and Licentiate Diploma in piano performance.  In addition to accompanying various choirs and individuals, she has also sung with the Ottawa Bach Choir since 2005 where she has performed in many exciting venues, including the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

It is a great pleasure to be choir accompanist for the Bytown Voices ,” said Carla.  “Choral music is a huge part of my musical background  and tradition and any chance to encourage its continuation and enjoyment is an honour and delight!

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