Bytown Voices MusicTeam, 2024

Joan Fearnley, Director of Music

Joan Fearnley took up her position as the Director of Music for Bytown Voices in the Fall of 2015

Joan'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 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 the Director of Music with the Bytown Voices,”said Joan.  “It continues to provide opportunities to explore new repertoire and to share my love of singing". 

Carla Klassen, Choir Pianist

Carla Klassen, Bytown Voices’ choir pianist and Ottawa resident, was born into a 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 is currently also the accompanist of the Ottawa Mennonite Church Senior Choir.

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 is also a professional chorister, currently singing with The Isabel Voices (Kingston), and recently completing a seventeen year tenure with the Ottawa Bach Choir where she was privileged to perform 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, and received a JUNO award for Classical Album of the Year in 2020.  

In addition to her music making, Carla is the author of two books of hymn reflections.  These Songs We Sing: Reflections on the Hymns We Have Loved (Pandora Press, 2022) and Living Our Hymns: These Songs We Sing, Volume 2 (Pandora Press, 2024).  She also regularly contributes to the Canadian Mennonite magazine.

Carla began her relationship with Bytown Voices Community Choir in 2015.  “It has been a great pleasure to be the pianist for the Bytown Voices over the past number of years,” 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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