Jean-Louis BleauArtistic Director, Mount Royal Choral Program | Choir Director (Artio)
Jean-Louis Bleau has been very involved in the Calgary and area arts scene for a number of years, organizing numerous concerts and music festivals while maintaining a successful career as a choral conductor. He is the artistic director of Choral Programs at Mount Royal University, where he also directs Mount Royal Artio. In addition to his work at Mount Royal University, Bleau is the artistic director of Cum Vino Cantus and the University of Calgary Chamber Choir.
Bleau’s passion for music, especially choral music, is evident through his unique and expressive conducting style, and his enthusiastic approach to rehearsals. He is known for asking his choirs to engage difficult music, always seeking to push the members past their perceived limitations in order to produce music which — while challenging — is ultimately very rewarding.
Bleau has always sought to push the boundaries of choral music and the concert experience through unique collaborations and concert events. This has resulted in performances around a lake in the heart of Kananaskis and concert events in a planetarium, parking garages, an industrial shop and even a swimming pool. He has worked to collaborate not only with other choirs but also a variety of musicians, choreographers, dancers, synchronized swimmers and aerial gymnasts.
When not engrossed in music, Bleau can be found with his partner on their farm northwest of Calgary enjoying the mountain views and the quiet peace of the country.
Elizabeth PaynterChoir Director (Arietta, Arioso)
Elizabeth Paynter has been a music specialist with the Calgary Board of Education for over 20 years and from early in her teaching career, began directing choirs in the Calgary choral community. Currently, Elizabeth is the artistic director of EnChor Chamber Choir, an auditioned vocal ensemble, One Accord, a 50 voice community choir, and she is the director of Music and Spiritual Arts at Scarboro United in Calgary, leading children, youth, jazz/gospel and chancel choirs. She is also in demand as a choral clinician in Alberta and British Columbia, and has directed and accompanied choirs during Naramata Centre’s “Music Week” summer program, where she is now on the advisory planning team. In recent years, Liz directed the Calgary Multicultural Choir, and was the artistic director of the Calgary Men’s Chorus.
In her role as director of Spiritual Arts at Scarboro United, as a teacher passionate about learning through the arts, and EnChor Chamber Choir’s mandate to collaborate with other Canadian artists, Elizabeth has had the privilege of working with some of Western Canada’s top artists, including Corps Bara Dance, Foothills Brass, Fire Exit Theatre, Lily String Quartet, Cum Vino Cantus, singer/songwriter Paul Rumbolt, the University of Calgary Orchestra, and many choral directors from Alberta, British Columbia and the United States. Music is a family passion that she shares with her husband Graham, and their two children, Joshua and Rebecca.
Jamie PopowichChoir Director (Ariel)
Jamie holds a BMus in Elementary Education and a DipFA specializing in the Kodály Concept of Music Education. She is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Education after-degree program at the University of Calgary. Jamie has taught music at various private schools in Calgary and has also worked as a teacher/conductor with the Calgary Girls Choir. She currently serves as the President of the Alberta Kodály Association and is also on the board for the Kodály Society of Canada. Jamie has a passion for sharing her love of music with others, loves working with children and finding new ways to teach and share with them. She is also a mother to 3 boys, ages 9, 12 and 14.
Playing piano has been a part of Melissa’s life for nearly 30 years. She has accompanied various musical theatre groups over the years including Storybook Theatre, Front Row Centre Players, Morpheus Theatre, and the Painted Fish Performing Arts Society. Melissa currently plays for Mount Royal University’s Arioso and Aria children’s choirs. She is also the accompanist with the Cum Vino Cantus choir, under the direction of Jean-Louis Bleau and Michael Coburn, and the Calgary Multicultural choir under the direction of Nancy Thomson. Melissa recently accepted an arts position at Scarboro United Church working alongside music director, Liz Paynter. In her spare time when not playing piano or at her 9-5 job at a busy Toyota dealership, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family and her Great Dane, Steve.