Artistic Team2018-08-06T16:06:03+00:00

Artistic Team

Jean-Louis BleauArtistic Director, Mount Royal Choral Program | Choir Director (Artio Youth Choir)
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 (On Sabbatical)
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.

Cheri PetersChoir Director (Ariel, Arietta)
Cheri, BMus/BEd, is a music specialist who has been teaching at both elem/sec levels since 1992. Cheri has enjoyed working as a conductor, teacher, presenter and accompanist, and has mentored a number of teachers/student-teachers in choral music and Orff techniques. Her ability to develop award winning choral groups comes from her dynamic, energetic passion for sharing the love and joy of music. Cheri has been working at Master’s Academy as a Music Specialist for 12 years, and has developed an excellent choral program at the school. She was conductor of the Master’s Division of the Calgary Boys Choir last year, has worked for the Calgary Youth Singers, and co-conducted the Provincial Honour Choir in MB. In addition, she has presented at the CBE teacher’s conference, and has acted in a collaborative capacity with other educators in all manners of the performing arts. Cheri is dynamic, energetic and is passionate about sharing the love and joy of music.
Sarah DrewChoir Director (Aria, Arioso) B. Mus, Ed Cert, Dip Wind Band Conducting
Sarah Drew feels fortunate to be able to do what shes loves each day. Having a lifelong passion for both music and young people, she teaches middle school general music, bands, choirs and guitar hoping to impact her student’s lives with the love and power of music. Sarah has taught K-9 music at a variety of schools in the Calgary area and is currently in transition from Captain Nichola Goddard Middle School to the Calgary Girls’ School. Her performing groups have consistently achieved high standards of excellence, but she is most proud of who her students become as caring, creative and confident citizens.

To the shock of many, one of her favorite parts of being a music teacher, is starting young instrumentalists in beginning band. In fact, she has co-written a beginning band method called, “Kodaly for Band” which is in use in many schools across North America.

Ms. Drew has directed bands at Calgary’s Summer Band Workshop, MusicCamrose as well as guest conducted and adjudicated across the province of Alberta. She has been involved in coaching at the University of Calgary music education lab band students and has recently become a part of the ATA Mentorship program to walk alongside new music teachers. Sarah has had roles on the boards of the ABA and ABIF, as well as a member of the Arts and Culture board in her home town of Cochrane, Alberta.

Her love of music also extends to adults as she was the Founder and Artistic Director of the Sher-Wood-Like-To-Play Adult Community Band in Calgary for 17 years, as well as the director of the Cochrane Children’s Choir.

Living in Cochrane with her family gives Sarah quick access to the river pathways and the mountains where she loves to run, hike, x-country ski and cycle.

Melissa LeboAccompanist
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.
Rachel BaljeuAccompanist
Since arriving in Calgary in 2014, Rachel Baljeu has become active as an accompanist and has started a private teaching studio. She keeps busy with a variety of jobs including playing piano for the Ambrose University vocal program, Southwood United Church, the choir One Accord, as well as other vocalists and instrumentalists.

Ms. Baljeu graduated from Michigan State University with Master of Music degrees in both Collaborative Piano and Piano Pedagogy. Her teachers included opera conductor and repetiteur Alan Nathan for collaborative piano, and Deborah Moriarty and Derek Polischuk for solo piano. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University, where she had the invaluable opportunity to study piano pedagogy with Helen Marlais and piano with the esteemed collaborative pianist Mark Markham.