Meet the volunteer members of Dalhousie’s Performing Arts Campaign Cabinet.
Nova Scotia born, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Andrea England has a unique ability to work successfully in two different music worlds, placing pop co-writes such as “Casualty” on Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger’s solo debut album, Killer Love, (for which she earned a U.K. Gold Record), while recording and performing as an Americana/folk solo artist herself.
Working with emerging artists as well as with an international who’s who of songwriters, recent highlights for Andrea include cuts on albums by Canadian Country Music Award nominees Meghan Patrick and Twin Kennedy and co-written singles released by international pop artists Zameer, Roveena, and Hairspray/Jersey Boys star, Tara Macri.
A proud alumnus of both Dalhousie (Gender & Women’s Studies’16) and St. Francis Xavier (English Literature) universities, Andrea believes in the power of education and the importance of giving back: she’s led song writing workshops for Guitar WorkshopPlus, the Honey Jam, the Singing Competition, and Elaine Overholt’s Big Voice Studios and is the founder and host of Four Chords & the Truth, Toronto’s newest and hottest ‘in the round’ top songwriters showcase, in support of the Unison Benevolent Fund.
Anneke Henderson earned her Bachelor of Arts (History) from Dalhousie University in 1980 and then relocated to Toronto. Her interest in clothing design and further education in the field led to the establishment of her business, annekejans-fine clothing design, in 1984, specializing in men’s and women’s tailored fashions.
After a decade in Toronto, Anneke returned to Halifax, where she established a downtown retail business focusing on women’s clothing design. She began teaching in the Dalhousie Costume Studies program in 1998, introducing students to the art of men’s tailoring. Anneke subsequently earned her MFA (Textile) at NSCAD University, where she taught in the newly-established Fashion programme, returning to the Dal and the Costume Studies program in 2008.
Her years of cumulative knowledge in both contemporary and historic fashion / dress combined with well-honed technical skills have enabled Anneke to adapt to important curriculum revisions within the Costume Studies program and complement the specialized nature of this unique teaching environment. As a volunteer member on the Campaign Cabinet for the planned expansion of the Fountain School of Performing Arts, she is excited to be involved in the next phase of the programme’s evolution when Costume Studies returns to the Arts Centre.
Cynthia Robertson has both a BA (1976) and an MBA (1981) from Dalhousie University, advanced standing in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University and an LLM (Global Professional Masters of Law) from the University of Toronto, School of Law. She is a co-owner and senior consultant with Parkridge Properties Inc. and Parkridge Consulting, headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has advised on public sector policy development relating to infrastructure development for a number of large projects in both Canada and abroad. She has worked in both the public and private sectors, advising both public and private sector leaders on a wide range of policy and operational issues.
Her experience in the development of public private partnership models enabled her to lead the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships as Board Chair. She also served as Chair of the National Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Public Private Partnerships for 10 years. As a committed volunteer, she has been president of the Dalhousie Alumni Association (DAA); member of the Dalhousie University Board of Governors; president of Symphony Nova Scotia; and a member of the campaign cabinet for the Metro United Way, among numerous other community activities.
Dennice Leahey, from Edmonton, Alberta, has a BA from Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She started in banking as a junior clerk rising through RBC’s Human Resources, Corporate Banking and Independent Business to be Regional President of Manitoba, Nunavut and North-western Ontario, retiring as Senior Vice President and Ombudsman for the organization’s employees and customers world-wide.
Volunteering throughout her career, Dennice has served on hospital, university, college, Aboriginal, government, cultural institution and community boards. She is currently Past Chair of Symphony Nova Scotia and Community Foundation of Nova Scotia and is a director of five other non-profit organizations including the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. As recognition of her community activities she was awarded The Eagle Feather by the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg; Woman of the Year by the Winnipeg YWCA; and Honourary Citizen of Winnipeg. In June 2005 she was named a Member of the Order of Canada; in 2012 received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal; and in 2014 received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Mount Saint Vincent University.
Ferne Downey, BA (Theatre)’78, is an actor and serves as the National President of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), representing over 23,000 professional performers in the English-language recorded media in Canada. A proud Dal grad, she has spent the past 38 years working extensively as an actor in theatre, radio, television and film, as well as producing plays with partner and playwright, Paul Ledoux. She was nominated for a DORA Award for producing the hit musical, Dream A Little Dream: the nearly true story of The Mamas & The Papas.In September 2012, Ferne was honored to be the first North American elected as President of FIA, the International Federation of Actors, which represents performers in over 60 countries around the world. Since 2010 she has served as a vice-president on the Executive of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and is working to promote the importance of the broader labour movement both nationally and globally. She is also a proud graduate of the Harvard Trade Union Leadership Program (2012) and prouder yet to play a leading role advocating for Canada’s creative community.
Kaelen Haworth (BA (English)’07) is a Canadian designer living in and running her own label in New York City. While attending Parsons, The New School for Design, Kaelen interned for Jenni Kayne, Stella McCartney and lingerie brand, The Lake & Stars. One year after graduating KAELEN launched with a collection shown during New York Fashion Week in 2010.
Designing from a minimalist perspective with a focus on subtle details, KAELEN seeks to combine the traditional and the innovative, exploring the dichotomies of masculine and feminine, classic and modern. In 2014 Kaelen was selected as one of 10 designers in the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Incubator Class 3.0.
Kaelen’s idols include Tilda Swinton, Jeff Bridges and Joan Didion. Point Break, Overboard and The Great Outdoors are some of her favorite movies. She is in love with almost all music, excluding crossover country-pop.
Canadian designer Lisa Drader-Murphy is the president and owner of the Turbine and the Lisa Drader-Murphy labels. Hollywood & Luminaries Editor for Story of Fashion Magazine, Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO award recipient, and Progress Club Women of Excellence award-winner in the category of innovator/entrepreneur, Lisa operates one of Canada’s only remaining completely vertical fashion houses, overseeing all aspects of design, production, and retail of her collections in five posh privately owned locations.Since establishing Turbine in 1997, her business has garnered national and international buzz, with coverage including CTV, CBC, LIFE, Canadian Learning Television, Global TV, TNT, NY Times, USA Today, BFM France, NRJ, Canal+, Entertainment Tonight, ELLE, Flare, and CNN. Lisa has also been invited to the celebrity gifting suites during the Toronto International Film Festival, the Golden Globes, Oscars, and the Cannes Film Festival and her styles are frequently spotted on celebrities around the globe.
Pianist Lynn Stodola is an active soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist, who has performed throughout Canada, the United States and Europe to critical acclaim. She appears regularly in many international music festivals, including Juneau Jazz and Classics (Alaska), and Music and Beyond (Ottawa). She is also a regular guest artist in the Ateneum Series (Venice, Italy), Scotia Festival Music Room Chamber Music Society and the Cecilia Concert Series. Her work as collaborative pianist has assisted in the careers of many performing artists and her guidance as teacher and mentor has helped many young artists achieve successful musical careers in the United States, Canada and abroad. In 2009 she was recipient of the first Hugheen Ferguson Distinguished Teacher Award presented by the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association. She is a sought-after festival adjudicator and juror for the Canada Council for the Arts and the Juno Awards. Ms. Stodola is currently Professor of Piano at the Fountain School of Performing Arts, Dalhousie University.
Marcie-Ann Gilsig, a long-time champion and patron of the arts, is delighted to serve on the campaign cabinet for the Dalhousie Arts Centre expansion. From Montreal, Marcie-Ann completed her BMus and MA at McGill University. While raising her family in Halifax, she taught piano and pursued doctoral studies at Dalhousie. Over the years, she has supported numerous cultural endeavours, including Scotia Festival of Music and Neptune Theatre. She was instrumental in establishing the Atlantic Jewish Film Festival and founded The Gilsig Series in Jewish Arts and Culture at Dalhousie University. Marcie-Ann served on the IWK Arts in Healthcare Committee and is on the board of Yoga Atlantic. She is a professional level yoga teacher from the Kripalu Centre, a Phoenix Rising yoga therapist and a Level 1 Franklin Method educator. With over 25 years experience in the study and teaching of yoga and meditation Marcie-Ann combines yoga, chi gong, and sacred Hebrew chanting with the arts in her health and wellness practice. She worked with patients at the QEII pain clinic for several years and continues to work privately and as a volunteer with individuals experiencing chronic pain, anxiety and PTS in Halifax and Toronto.
A graduate of University of Toronto and the Western Ontario Royal Conservatory of Music, Marilyn spent 18 years as an elementary school teacher and music specialist with the Toronto District School Board, while also teaching private piano and music theory classes. A former board director with Theatre Orangeville, Opera Atelier and the Speech Foundation of Ontario, she has also volunteered her time with numerous community organizations including Headwaters Arts Festival, the Stratford Festival, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Headwaters Health Care regional hospital. Among many recognition awards she is the recipient of the Women’s Award (2014), Women of Distinction Award (2013), Caledon Walk of Fame Inductee (2013), the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013), and Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal (awarded by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, 2003). DAREarts is her full-time focus.
Philippe Djokic’s career as violinist and pedagogue has brought him recognition throughout Canada and abroad. Having completed his studies at the Juilliard School, he subsequently won several prizes at major international competitions, most notably, the Nicolo Paganini and Jacques Thibauld international violin competitions. This led to many recital tours and appearances with orchestra. His performances have been heard on CBC Radio and in recordings for the CBC and Naxos labels. He has an active career as chamber music performer, and has performed at important international festivals in Dubrovnik, Munich, Ottawa, Colorado and Alaska.
Philippe has been invited to give masterclasses at several prestigious institutions, among them, Northwestern University, the Glenn Gould School and the Domaine Forget Academy. Several of his former students currently hold positions in Canada’s major orchestras and leading music schools.
Philippe has been on the music faculty of the Fountain School of Performing Arts since 1975.
Glynn’s choreography has been staged by companies in Canada, the US and Ireland. A Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee, Glynn is also a recipient of the prestigious Clifford E. Lee Award for choreography. In 2015 his Dancing in the Third Act was shortlisted for the Nova Scotia Masterworks award, the first dance ever to receive such an honour.
He spent two years as an artistic coach and choreographer for the Canadian National Freestyle Ski team and, in 2008, directed the Circus Cabaret Show, My Life, which ran for a year in Berlin’s Chamaeleon Theatre and was seen by over 100,000 people.
Randy is currently artistic director of Live Art Dance Productions in Halifax. Randy and his dancer-director wife, Pamela Grundy, have maintained a home in Granville Ferry in the Annapolis Valley for the past 27 years where they grow grapes and make passable wine.
Dr. Tom Traves is President Emeritus of Dalhousie, having led the university from 1995 to 2013.
He now resides in Toronto where he works as a consultant on various organizational and management issues.
Van Penick (LLB’76, MA (Musicology)’ 14) and his wife, Babs (LLB’79), moved to Nova Scotia in 1971 to be organic farmers, but distrust of the internal combustion engine and a desire to raise a family with indoor plumbing prompted a career re-evaluation. They became lawyers.Van was an enthusiastic Dalhousie law student and a wildly enthusiastic Dalhousie music student. In his between-degrees decades, Van was a partner, board member and head of the Energy Law group at McInnes Cooper, specializing in offshore oil and gas transactions. He served on the boards of the Canadian Energy Law Foundation and the Canadian Institute of Resources Law. He also chaired the boards of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia and NSCAD University.
Now counsel to McInnes Cooper, Van also serves on the board of the Symphony Nova Scotia Foundation. Continuing to pursue musicological interests, he made a presentation on the danger of country music at an Oxford University conference in 2015 and is working on a paper on the origins of music.
Van has first-hand appreciation of the excellence of the Fountain School of Performing Arts and knows that the Dalhousie Arts Centre Expansion will preserve and strengthen that excellence.
Wendy (Critchley) Davis Johnson (BA (Theatre)’72), has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing communications and brand development. Wendy is currently Chief Communications Officer at Hamilton Insurance Group, the Bermuda-based holding company for property and casualty insurance and reinsurance operations in Bermuda, the US and at Lloyd’s.
Prior to joining Hamilton, Wendy provided communications consulting services to corporate and non-profit organizations, assisting with the development of global brands and establishing strategic communications functions. During this time, she oversaw the rebranding of Argo Group, a Bermuda-based international specialty insurance company, and provided communications counsel to The Performing Arts Centre Project, Bermuda. She was instrumental in developing the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda and its strategic partnership with American Ballet Theatre.
Wendy holds a Master of Liberal Arts (Journalism), Extension Studies, from Harvard University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, Ontario, and a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University.