Meet the Music School Faculty for 2020-2021
Geoffrey has taught piano, theory, harmony, history, and pedagogy at VCMS since 2008. He completed his ARCT in Piano Performance in 2008. Geoffrey won the Provincial Gold Medal (Elementary) and the National Gold Medal (Advanced) while completing his ARCT in Pedagogy. Geoffrey is currently the Past-President of the BC Registered Music Teachers Association, Vernon Branch.
Principal flute, Okanagan Symphony Orchestra for 33 years. Flutist, Okanagan University Woodwind Quintet. B.A. and Diploma in Education from the University of Saskatchewan. Studied in France with Jean-Pierre Rampal and Maxene Larrieu on a Canada Council Grant. Attended William Bennett, Julius Baker classes. Received a Canada Council grant and Saskatchewan Arts’ Board Bursary to study with Marcel Moyse in the USA. Member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for three summers. Member of the VCMS faculty since 1981.
Lauren has completed her ARCT in Piano Performance and Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Lauren has experience as a Behaviour Interventionist and applies that knowledge to working with students of all backgrounds and abilities. Having taught internationally, Lauren is pleased to be back teaching music at the school where she grew up. She teaches piano, and chamber music.
Music Makers, Piano
Jennifer has an RCM Intermediate Piano Pedagogy Certificate. Ongoing training in Orff and Kodaly, and piano pedagogy. Jennifer believes that the gift of music is one for life and is dedicated to bringing the wonderful world of music into the daily lives of children and adults. She teaches preschool music classes, as well as piano, beginner to intermediate. She is a VCMS faculty member since 2009.
Studied in the Ukraine where she received her Bachelor of Music in Performance and Pedagogy. Worked at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet where she performed as a soloist and accompanist, playing in many different venues including two concerts on the CBC radio. Since coming to the Vernon Community Music School in 1988 she is fully dedicated to teaching, which is her passion. She is a member of the Registered Music Teachers Association and her students are active and successful participants in RCM examinations, festivals, and Performing Arts, BC.
Madeline joined the VCMS faculty in 2016 bringing many years of teaching experience. Having previously taught all levels to children, teens, and adults, Madeline looks forward to developing the love of music in all her students.
Katherine (Katie) Flaherty began her musical career in Fresno, California where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from California State University, Fresno. Katie has toured with various classical ensembles throughout California, as well as Carnegie Hall and the Vatican. In 2016, Katie relocated to Vernon where she now teaches voice at the Vernon Community Music School. Katie has a passion for classical voice and musical theatre and is pleased to offer lessons to students of all ages and levels.
Bachelor of Music, Performance, University of Victoria. Morna is a certified Suzuki teacher, Suzuki Association of America and a long time Cellist with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. She takes ongoing training through Suzuki workshops, and has been a VCMS faculty member since 1985.
Saxophone, Trumpet, Clarinet, Ukulele
Aaron has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Windsor. While studying at the University of Victoria, he studied classical saxophone and played in the University Wind Symphony, Saxophone Quartet and Big Band. His experience in improvisation opened doors to playing in University Jazz Combos and local bands. Aaron has experience teaching beginners to advances students.
Cello, Double Bass, Caelestis
Bachelor of Music, Performance, University of Victoria. Master of Music, Performance and Literature, University of Western Ontario. Master of Education, Post Secondary Administration, UBC. Former Principal Cellist, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Okanagan and Kamloops Symphonies and Principal Bass, Okanagan and Kamloops Symphonies. Former Department Head, Fine Arts, Medicine Hat College and Cello and Double Bass instructor, Fountainview Academy. Retired in Vernon, George returned to teach Cello and Double Bass at the Vernon Community Music School in 2011, and formed Caelestis Cello and Double Bass ensemble.
Violin, Music EXPLORERS
Natalie started violin lessons with Bev Martens at the age of five, and ten years later she began teaching violin. Between 2004-2011, Natalie was a violin instructor at the Kelowna Community Music School. Post Kelowna, she taught General Music at International Schools in Togo and Tanzania between 2011-2018.
Natalie is looking forward to inspiring students and giving them the necessary tool needed for success! She is teaching private lessons as well as group lessons.
Alex began his piano studies at VCMS under Lucy Feldman when he was a young boy. He completed his ARCT in Piano Performance and also has his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montreal for two years. He is pleased to offer piano instruction in English or French to all ages and levels. Alex has much experience accompanying for festivals and exams.
Celtic Harp, harp orchestra
Director of an Okanagan Harp Orchestra and Harp Choir. Harp studies since 1991, Celtic, classical and Latin. Solo performer regularly touring Western Canada; also US, Europe and New Zealand. Recording artist and composer since 1970’s, eight recordings. Performs with Crimson Rich Trio and the Okanagan Harp Orchestra. International Harp Workshop Coordinator, Curriculum Designer and Publisher. VCMS faculty member since 2001.
Violin, suzuki violin
Bev Martens has been teaching since the early 1970s. She has been a VCMS faculty member since 1976 when she first established “Creative Music’ (Orff and Kodaly methods) for pre-schoolers and her violin lessons. Later she introduced the Debut and Carriage House Orchestras with Morna Howie. She was the founder of our annual Country Fair and was Director at VCMS 1992-1995. Bev earned her TCL in Violin Performance at Trinity College, London, her Early Childhood Dev. Diploma at Langara College and is a certified Suzuki teacher. Bev’s students have won countless Provincial awards and recognition; many of whom go on to pursue music at the University level and beyond.
Therese has been teaching voice for over 25 years. An honour student of the Red Deer College Music Program, Therese studied Jazz, Contemporary, Musical Theatre as well as Classical Styles. Therese is an active Director and Actress with Vernon’s Powerhouse Theatre. Vocal Director for “Babes in the Magic Wood”, “Oliver”, and most recently “Grease”. Therese joined our faculty in 2010.
Daisy loves the piano and enjoys preparing her students for festivals and exams. She has her BREMU degree from Prairie College in Alberta and her ARCT piano teaching degree from the Royal Conservatory of music with their accredidation as an elementary and intermediate specialist. She is a member of the BC Registered music teachers association and has been a VCMS faculty member since 2011.
Bachelor of Music, Toronto; ARCT violin; Diploma in Composition, Mozarteum, Salzburg. Principal second violin with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. Founding conductor of the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan. Conductor of the AURA Chamber Choir. His compositions are recognized and performed around the world. Imant had his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in March, 2006. In 2006 he was made an officer in the Order of The Three Stars of the Republic of Latvia. In 2011 he received the Okanagan Arts Award for Music. In 2018, Imant received the Order of Canada for his contributions and achievements as a Canadian musician, conductor and composer.
ARCT – Piano Teacher Diploma. Karen is a skilled teacher of Royal Conservatory of Music and has accreditation from the Royal Conservatory of Music as an Advanced Specialist in Piano and an Intermediate Specialist in Theory. She is a member of the B.C. Registered Music Teachers Association. Karen began teaching piano and theory in 1988 following her music studies at Western Washington University. In addition, she prepares students for recitals and festivals. She inspires a love for music. VCMS Faculty member since 1999.
Suzuki Violin, Recorder, Penny Whistle
Carole received her Bachelor of Arts, Languages from the University of Wisconsin. She studied violin beginning at age 12 and played with high school and university orchestras. Carole played with the Okanagan Symphony for 27 years. A Certified Suzuki teacher, Carole attended many Suzuki workshops. She taught Suzuki violin for Penticton Summer School for the Arts and participated in many early music workshops playing recorder and violin. She has been a VCMS faculty member since 1976.
Ken started playing guitar at age 12, and studied with Juno award winning guitarist Oliver Gannon for 5 years before attending the Jazz program at Vancouver Community College. During this time he also performed in several ensembles, including jazz trios, quartets, and big bands. He has also studied classical guitar performance at Kwantlen University College. At age 17 Ken was selected to perform with the BC honour jazz band, and at 20 attended the Banff Fine Arts Centre summer jazz program. Ken offers lessons for beginners through advanced, acoustic or electric, and enjoys a wide variety of genres from jazz, blues, funk and folk. He currently plays in jazz duets and trios in the Okanagan and Vancouver.
van Wensem, Kimberley
Voice, Children’s Vocal Groups
Kimberley lends a unique perspective to the study of voice.
After graduating with a BScN degree from UBC-O and working as nurse for several years she decided to focus her energies back into what she truly loves most – music and singing!
Studying piano, voice and theory since she was 7 years old, Kimberley began teaching at VCMS in 2005, receiving Distinction for her ARCT Diploma in Vocal Performance in 2008.
Kimberley is experienced in classical voice, solo and festival performance and has had students receive top awards and nominations for both Provincial and National level festivals, as well as silver medal winners (top marks in the province) for RCM exams.
She is currently a member of the BC Registered Music Teachers Association.
CarriaGe House Performance Troupe
Rachel is the Artistic Director of the Carriage House Performance Troupe. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Performance from UBCO and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama, from the Acting Conservatory Program at U of A. She is a graduate of the Animation & Creation Program at the Quebec Circus School. As a performing artist (actor/dancer/singer/clown) she has performed in over 30 professional productions (including work with world-class companies like Cirque Du Soleil). Her 9 years of teaching as a Certified Yoga Instructor together with her extensive training in Theatre, Dance, Piano, Opera, and Clown give unique depth to her understanding of how the mind and body can work together to create healthy performing artists and brilliant performance.