Tessa Short- Voice Faculty
Tessa is a MMus Choral Conducting student with Dr Jakub Martinec at Memorial University. She has her BMus (2013) from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and considers that town home. While she was there, she studied voice with Paula Rockwell and Dr. Christianne Rushton. Tessa took part in the National Youth Choir of Canada in both 2012 (Ottawa) and 2014 (Halifax), as well as participating in the Nova Scotia Youth Choir for a handful of years. Before she began her classical training, Tessa sang jazz and musical theatre, and considers them valuable assets and lifelong loves. She has in the past played piano, clarinet, and alto sax, and has been addicted to singing ever since she can remember.
When it comes to the HMC, Griffin is all things jazz related, as well as being an amazing trombone, cello, voice and Ukulele teacher. With a driving passion for music awesomeness and professional skills to accompany, Griffin has made the HMC his home, sharing his love for music with everyone around him.
Griffin grew up in Brisbane, Australia listening to every kind of music and taking lessons from a young age. He was lucky to study both cello and trombone in school, with trombone quickly coming to the forefront of his music arsenal. Griffin received a Bachelor of Music in 2011 from Griffith University’s Conservatorium of Music. Since then he has performed at numerous gigs, catered for weddings, corporate functions, pubs and jam nights. Griffin had the opportunity to perform on cruise ships for two years, traveling the world, meeting new people, seeing new places, discovering lots of things musically and personally, and best of all doing what he loves every day, making music.
When he’s not jamming out to new jazz charts or teaching one of his many lessons, Griffin likes to sleep, travel, and enjoy life.
Julia Tufts- Piano faculty
Julia Tufts grew up in Kentville, Nova Scotia where she staved off small town boredom with musical activities.
She started learning piano at age 7 and also played clarinet, trombone and drums in various concert bands, jazz bands, marching bands, musicals and churches throughout high school.
Julia studied piano at Dalhousie University under the fabulous wisdom of Lynn Stodola. During her studies she performed as a soloist with the Dal Symphony Orchestra and the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. She also performed chamber works with Hua-Chu Huang and Lydia Hansen in the Harlequin Trio. She completed her BSc Combined Honours in Math and Music in 2014, and joined the HMC in January 2015.
Outside of music Julia likes to teach math, program computers, read fiction and dance Argentine tango.
Nick has recently received a Bachelor of Music from Mount Allison University, with concentrations in tuba performance and musicology. While at Mount Allison, Nick was an active solo, chamber and ensemble performer, presenting two solo recitals, and touring both nationally and internationally with the National Youth Band of Canada and the Long Island Youth Orchestra.
Nick worked with the HMC for the summer of 2015 as an administrator and tuba teacher.
When not being tubalicious, Nick enjoys reading, writing, listening, drinking coffee and eating desserts. Nick is headed to the University of Toronto this fall to pursue a Masters in Musicology.
Jordan Fisher, Development and Sponsorship Officer
Jordan grew up in a small town outside of Saint John, New Brunswick. He began playing the piano at a young age, and became fascinated with the performing arts. He became active in both music and theatre, performing at local venues and touring both nationally and internationally with the Harbour View Choral Ensemble.
Jordan graduated from Mount Allison University with a Bachelor of Music with concentration in piano in Spring of 2014. During his time at Mount Allison, Jordan enjoyed playing as a soloist and collaborator and continued to be a passionate chorister. Having found a particular passion for chamber music, he presented two full piano duo recitals, and a full recital of Art Song with soprano soloist.
Jordan worked with The Halifax Music Co-op as Development and Sponsorship Officer in 2015.
Currently, Jordan is completing a Diploma in Business Administration and building towards a career in arts administration. When he is not playing flute in the HMC Wind Ensemble or singing bass in the HMC Choir, you will find Jordan at various classical concert venues, strolling along the waterfront with a coffee, or cuddling with his cat Montgomery.
Originally from Calgary, AB, Jeff has taken part in a number of orchestral and chamber music projects over the years, such as the Scotiafestival of Music Young Artist Program. This past fall, he collaborated with Don Brownrigg, Krasnogorsk, and the HMC orchestra on the annual “Inventions” project, helping to produce several symphonic orchestrations that performed to sold-out houses in October 2014.
Jeff Komar wass one of the HMC’s upper-string faculty members. You’ll find him staring wild-eyed at the conductor in both the main HMC Orchestra as well as the Vesuvius Chamber Orchestra. He has studied violin and viola with Philippe Djokic at Dalhousie University and completed two undergraduate degrees in music at the newly formed Fountain School of Performing Arts.
While he will be leaving Halifax this September to pursue a Masters of Music in Viola Performance at Western University in London, ON, he has come to see this wonderful city as his home and hopes to return upon completing his studies.
Sarah started playing the flute and piccolo at age 9 through private training and performed competitively as a part of the Kiwanis Music Festival. She eventually took a leadership role in her high school wind, flute, pit, and jazz ensembles and performed with her local district’s “All Star Bands”. Sarah attended the Ontario Educational Leadership Centre with a focus on flute and performance.
Sarah has played flute and piccolo in the HMC Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.
Outside of the HMC, Sarah works as a Genetic Counsellor at the IWK Health Centre.
Hugh Schurman – Voice Faculty
Hugh grew up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. He took piano lessons for a short time as a kid then didn’t explore music again until he got an electric guitar when in 2004. In 2008 Hugh got into electronic music, began composing and producing hip-hop, dance and experimental music, then got an acoustic guitar and began writing songs. He wanted to pair the two, but needed stronger vocals in order to really make a recording process work and get the sound I was going for. Hugh heard about the HMC and their subsidized lesson program, joined a few weeks later in 2013, and took 3 lessons a week. In January 2015 he completed his first big public work, a choral and orchestral arrangement for Radiohead’s Kid A album – performed in March 2015 by the HMC choir.
Hugh also loves learning piano, writing, reading, watching weird movies and spending time with family and friends.
Michela, originally from New Brunswick, spent all of her teenage years in Alberta. She’s been playing violin for about 8 years, viola for almost one year, and taught with the HMC from 2014-2015. Michela is working on her bachelor’s degree in Classics at Dalhousie University.
In her somewhat non-existent spare time, when she’s not making music and being a student Michela likes to bake, read, and play air hockey.
Jackson Fairfax-Perry is a saxophonist, composer, improviser and teacher based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He recently completed a degree in composition under Jérôme Blais at Dalhousie University, where he also studied saxophone with Chris Mitchell. As a performer, Jackson is comfortable playing in a wide variety of styles, from funk, to folk, to improvisation. He is active in Halifax’s improvisation scene, having performed with artists Jerry Granelli, Jean Derome, Scot Thomson, D’Arcy Gray, and Lukas Pearse, among others. Along with pianist Tim Crofts and drummer Doug Cameron, Jackson is one third of the band MONK OFF, which breaks down the material of Thelonious Monk’s music, and reconstructs it via improvisation. Jackson is also a member of the Halifax based folk-pop quartet Hillsburn, who recently placed in the top ten of CBC’s Searchlight competition. He has had the opportunity to learn from internationally renowned artists, including Julian Priester, Joëlle Leandre, Graham Collier, Tim Brady, and James Rolfe.
Jackson has composed for numerous soloists, ensembles and organizations, including percussionist D’Arcy Gray, Vocalypse Productions, and Upstream Music Association. He recently received a creation grant from Arts Nova Scotia to write a solo piece for local pianist Barbara Pritchard, and recently had his first orchestra piece premiered by the Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra in March of 2015. Currently, Jackson is working on a new piece commissioned by Musikon, to be premiered in May of 2016. In his spare time Jackson enjoys playing video games, as well as barbecuing while contemplating absolutely nothing.
Maddy was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. but has always wanted to return to the East Coast after completing her BA at Mount Allison University in 2012. As a recent graduate from UBC’s Bachelor of Education program, she hopes to someday have her own classroom full of future mini-musicians.
One of the first things Maddy did when moving to Halifax was to find an orchestra to put those 13 years of lessons and 20 years of playing experience to use. Voila, the HMC! Her fondest music memories all centre around the amazing relationships and good vibes that come from being part of a music community.
In addition to music, travelling, soccer, accessible education, and her 2 dogs back home, Maddy is also super in love with sunny day drives and camping getaways.
Jacques has recently been part of some films as a violinist including the “Lizzie Borden” mini series filmed in Nova Scotia starring Christina Ricci. As a soloist he embarked on his first summer tour. Having performed on the west coast and east coast. In the coming months he is planning on recording his first full length album and has currently got a 36min. EP.
Jacques aspires to bring his music to Europe and Beyond, but strongly likes his home base in the Maritimes. The Maritimes draw much inspiration in his composing of new material. The people and landscapes as well as the ever changing climate provides ideas in the soundscapes that he loves to create. A mover and shaker Jacques began the now infamous Monday night Open Mic on Agricola st in 2008, and has seen some of Nova Scotia, Canada and beyond’s finest come through. Facilitating an environment where people who were to shy to perform got their start, Jacques is far from the lone musician in every other aspect, believing in community spirit, and collaborations with many.
Jacques has toured with several bands from around Canada over the years. Including his own groups which he co founded in Nova Scotia known as “Krasnogorsk” and “Beautiful Wild Animals” combined with the other bands he has played with which include “OQO” “the Grass Mountain Hobos” “Crowdis Bridge” and “The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra” He has had the opportunity to tour all over North America and Europe and Asia. Including opening at the Canada Games in 2009, and played at several festivals including, Atlantic Jazz fest, Harvest Jazz and Blues fest, Evolve, Follyfest, Stanfest, Full Circle, Paddle Fest, Dooryard Arts Festival, Montreal Folk on the Canal Festival, Deep Roots Music Festival, Calgary Folk Fest, Artswells in BC, and at the Cameron House during 2014 Canadian Music Week. Jacques also volunteered in 2015 at Music Arts School in Cambodia as a violin teacher and resident musician. In Oct. 2014, him and his long time collaborating friend Corey Hinchey were selected alongside Don Brownrigg, to have their music orchestrated by The Halifax Music Coop and performed a 3 night sold out show alongside the 75 piece HMC Orchestra.
Beyond his own projects Jacques has performed and or recorded with artists such as Petunia, Ben Caplan, Jont, Coco Love Alcorn, Jon McKiel, The Grass Mountain Hobos, the HMC, Julia Feltham, Crowdis Bridge, The Barrowdowns, Don Brownrigg, the Big Country Ramblers, Heavy Meadows, Maria Osende, Ravi Persaud and countless others. He has played the violin for 21 years and counting, and was trained classically at the Royal Conservatory of Music for 9 years, and was enrolled in music courses at York University. The rest of it has been self taught, and he values and cherishes the musicians and musical styles that have rubbed off onto him over the years. Jacques is a master of improvisation and his flexibility and versatility is one of his greatest musical strengths. Music is something intrinsic in the life of Jacques, whether it be performing, composing, recording, or teaching it.
Without music there is no soul.
Nova Scotia native Sara Carter has recently completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance at Mount Allison University, studying under Canadian Sopranos Sally Dibblee and Dr. Jennifer Farrell. Sara has been a featured member of the Mount Allison University’s Opera Workshop performing works by Mozart, Britten and Cimarosa.
Most recently, Sara performed in the world premiere of the new Canadian Opera “Milk Bar” by Jim O’Leary. Sara has also been active in the local Opera scene performing the role of “Mrs. Hayes” in Carlisle Floyd’s most notable opera “Susannah” this past season. Sara has also been an active chorister for the majority of her life working with Mount Allison University’s Choral Society and Melodia Chorus, Dartmouth All-City Choir and Jazz Choir.
With her time not spent teaching and singing, Sara enjoys watching Quentin Tarantino movies, cooking and going for walks with her Chocolate Lab.
Susan grew up in Halifax, and started playing violin in grade three as part of the Halifax Schools Music program. Over the years she’s played in various school groups, the Halifax Schools Symphony Orchestra, the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, as well as singing in Soundtrax and other school choirs.
She completed a BSc in Biochemistry at Mount Allison University, where she played in the string ensemble and spent most of her free time involved in debating. Since returning to Halifax to complete an MSc at Dalhousie University (where she studied cute microorganisms), Susan has been rocking out with the HMC in the orchestra, Vesuvius and more.
William Aeberhard- Bass Faculty
Born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, William started playing the electric bass in 2001. Three months after picking up the instrument he joined his first band, playing (typical) teenager covers of punk and grunge rock. He soon joined other projects, with a growing interest in developing his musical versatility. By 2014, he had played, gigged, replaced other bass players at the last minute, recorded and toured in some major European festivals with more than twenty bands. Among others, he played with Jammingroove (funk), Najavibes (reggae), Jackson Wahengo (afro beat), CaramelBrown (soul) and Mosquito (reggae, French songwriting); his latest personal project in Geneva was The Evidence Theorists.
William arrived in Halifax in February 2015 for a two-years post-doctoral position at Dalhousie. He is very glad he quickly discovered the HMC where he now feels at home.
If William does not work on his scientific research or play his bass, he’s likely to be found in cafés (tasting espressos) or bars (tasting beers) while having heated debates on frivolous topics.
Benjamin Buchanan- Percussion faculty
Ben earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, where he took a variety of Music courses: Theory & Analysis, Composition, Arranging, Physics of Sound, and History. During his final year, He became involved in a handful of different projects such as performing guitar duties in the pit band for Black Tie’s production of “Evil Dead: The Musical,” recording for Conduct Becoming, drumming with Moncton band Rocket Culture and recording his own music. Recently, Ben performed guitar duties for HubCity Theatre’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing.” Ben has recently taken an interest in arranging and recording heavier iterations of popular music ranging from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to The Spice Girls.
When Ben isn’t doing musical things, he can usually be found tinkering with electronics or in a coffee shop discussing everything from film and game theories to pop culture with friends and strangers alike.
Gerald is a renewed business professional-drummer who is focused on elevating music enterprises and the passionate people in them. He holds a BBA from Memorial University and has studied voice, drumset, percussion and melodic instruments from a young age. His work in business has taken him from the music industry in Newfoundland to environmental companies in Alberta. Some of his musical highlights include opening for Dan Mangan, Bahamas, Yukon Blonde and Hey Rosetta along with headlining performances at Wapiti and Newfoundland Folk Festival. Gerald is currently playing in the HMC Vesuvius Jazz Band and studying jazz drumming privately with Mark Adam of Acadia University.
Syd Fraser – Administrative Director
In his role as administrative director, Syd Fraser describes himself as “the face of cold, hard bureaucracy at the HMC”. Much of the day-to-day operation of the organization falls to him, be it finances and accounting, space bookings or faculty management.
Born in Ottawa, but with deep familial roots in the Nova Scotia, Syd spent his adolescence moving around Canada and the world, satisfying his love of travel and experiencing new things. From Antigua to Ireland, Victoria to Hamilton, he returned to Halifax in 2013 and joined the HMC not long after, becoming admin director in January of 2016. His voice can frequently be heard in the HMC’s jazz ensembles and Vesuvius chamber choir.
On those infrequent days when he is away from the HMC, Syd enjoys watching and discussing films, writing short stories and cooking.