Theatre Arts: Musical Theatre (dance, acting)
I was born in British Columbia, grew up in Alberta and have been dancing since I was 4. I was always able to find a reason to dance and a way to perform, whether it was at my dance studio, putting together a routine at home for my family, or in the many theatrical shows while in school. In my second year of high school I joined Calaway Park’s ‘Calaway Live’ cast and 2015 marked my ninth and final season performing with the Park. High school was spent putting on show after show (15 productions in total) and after graduating and taking a year off, I moved to Toronto, Ont. to attend George Brown College’s Dance Performance Program. Following this I moved to Victoria, BC. and received triple-threat training from the Canadian College of Performing Arts. CCPA was essential to developing my artistry and helped me discover the deepest reasons of why I love all things theatre! I have also trained with the School of Alberta Ballet, Canada’s National Ballet School, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (Professional Training Program), and Company of Rogues Acting Studio.
I’m so glad and lucky that my travels have given me so many different ways to look at dance, theatre and the performing arts and I’m grateful for how much it has helped build my passion for what I do. I can’t wait to share my love for the arts with the students of Music and Play.
⇒ Dance Performance Certificate – George Brown College
⇒ Certificate, Diploma, and Applied Diploma in the Performing Arts – The Canadian College of Performing Arts
Theatre Arts: Musical Theatre (voice)
Music has been part of my life ever since I began my musical journey at the age of 6. I began studying classical violin at 8 years of age and discovered my true inspiration by singing in choirs before starting my teaching career at age 17.
I received my Master of Musical Art from the P. Tchaikovsky National Musical Academy of Ukraine and, for the past 19 years, I have experienced great success as a piano, voice, musical theory and history instructor. I have also enjoyed conducting both professional and children’s choirs for the past 21 years. In addition to my teaching and conducting experience, I have always been a performer and have sung on stages in many different countries. I love sharing this valuable performing experience with my students and I am so very proud of my students’ achievements. Many of my vocal and piano students have won International competitions and choirs and ensembles under my direction have participated in numerous festivals, competitions and concerts.
Throughout my career, I have sought out new ideas and new approaches in teaching and, though I have a classical background, I embrace a variety of styles of music. As the Head of the Music and Drama department (British International School, Ukraine) for five years, I was honoured to provide high quality music and dramatic arts education to International students from around the world. I have also had the opportunity to work with special needs students and students on the autism spectrum and have served as a tutor for students in English, Russian and Ukrainian. As a music educator, I seek to inspire my students and share with them my personal love and passion of music. I approach every student as an individual and I work to find the method that best connects with each one. I believe that the Musical Arts are a bottomless, wonderful, colorful world which should be open to everyone.
Everyone possesses the gift of music and it is up to us as music teachers to help each student discover their musical talent and to expose them to the joy that music has to offer.
⇒ Master of Musical Art – P. Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine
⇒ Diploma in Choir Conducting – Lysenko Music School, Ukraine
Merissa MacNeill (2019/2020)
Theate Arts: Musical Theatre
It all started with a dance class at the age of 4. Since a young age, I knew performing on stage – whether it was a school play, dance recital or singing in my middle-school female vocal group called, ‘The Chicklets’, the performing arts has always held a special place in my heart growing up.
Born and raised in Nova Scotia, I started performing as a dancer in the genres of Clogging, Highland and Irish dancing, which later led to training in a wide range of genres. Growing up on in the dance world provided me with the confidence to become involved in plays and musical theatre productions throughout my middle school, high school and university career. These experiences then led to acting opportunities with a local film production company and the Halifax Film Festival.
In 2014, I was honored to be accepted into the jazz music program at St. Francis Xavier University where I was able to study with active musicians in our industry today. I majored in voice studies and furthered my learning with a minor in psychology. My psychology background has given me the chance to promote and acknowledge the connections between the arts and our mental and psychical well-being.
Throughout my teaching, performing and studies, I have been privileged to have had a variety of mentors to observe and learn from. I have gained so much from working with each one of these teachers. I have been able to expand the tools I may draw on and improve the ways in which I share my knowledge, passion and love for the performing arts. Over the past 10 years of teaching, I have fallen even more in love with theatre, dance and music every time I see the sparkle that it brings to the eyes of my students when they get to be involved in the arts. I am extremely grateful and over the moon excited to share my knowledge and continue to learn from all my students at Music and Play.
⇒ Bachelor of Arts (Music major / Psychology minor) – St. Francis Xavier University
(Co-Founder, Director: Theatre Arts, Artistic Producer: Imagine Performing Arts)
As an arts entrepreneur, management consultant and community builder, I’ve had the pleasure of creating and leading arts organizations across Western Canada over the past 25 years. I spent the majority of my early career as a theatre director, designer and artistic director/producer focusing on multi-disciplinary & musical theatre creation – founding three arts organizations, three performing arts schools directing/designing over 60 productions – and I still come back for more! The second half of my career has focused on helping companies in the corporate, government, church and education sectors meet the goals and dreams they have for their organizations. Music and Play is the culmination of my life’s work and loves – providing artists and audiences, of all ages, the opportunity to experience and explore all that the arts has to offer.