B.Mus., New England Conservatory of Music, M.Mus, University of Toronto
Mezzo-soprano Alida Doornberg has recently completed her Master of Music degree at the University of Toronto where she studied with celebrated soprano Monica Whicher. While at U of T Alida completed a teaching practicum under the guidance of Lorna MacDonald, head of Vocal Pedagogy. Alida has since enjoyed growing and learning as a teacher through offering private lessons to singers of all ages.
From 2017-2019 Alida performed with Voicebox: Opera in Concert and was featured as a soloist in their “Chorus Fire” concert with Russell Braun and and Isabel Bayrakdarian, and “Comedy Unbound;” a tribute concert for Stuart Hamilton. Opera roles include Ino in Semele with the Toronto Lyric Opera Centre, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte and Cornelia in Julius Caesar, both with the Summer Opera Lyric Theatre of Toronto (SOLT). Additional chorus credits include La bohème with Against the Grain Theatre and Candide with Toronto Operetta Theatre.
Alida is a proud member of Echo Women’s Choir where she serves as the alto section lead and has assisted in directing and arranging songs for the choir. Alida has participated in many prestigious summer festivals and Young Artist training programs including the Vancouver International Song Institute's French Melodie Immersion program, the Cowtown Opera Summer Academy in Calgary, the Taos Opera Institute in New Mexico, and "Si parla, si canta" Italian language and opera program in Urbania, Italy. Alida is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where she earned her Bachelor's of Music degree with Honours.
BMus, Music Education, Ithaca College, MMus, U of T
Sonya Harper Nyby completed her doctoral coursework at the University of Toronto, studying Voice Performance and Vocal Pedagogy. She holds an MMus from UofT and a BMus in Music Education from Ithaca College in her hometown of Ithaca, NY. Sonya is a proud alumn of the NATS Intern Program, the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy, the St. Andrews Arts Council Opera Workshop, Opera on the Avalon, and the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy.
Her undergraduate coursework involved teaching general music classes to preschool and elementary school students, conducting, teaching music theory, teaching private voice lessons to middle school and high school students, and leading creative arts lessons with older adults in a senior living facility.
In the years between her undergraduate and graduate work, she led the music program for a community of Montessori schools in Vancouver, BC, which included group and private music lessons for children in preschool and elementary school. These lessons involved singing, listening to recorded music and live performances, learning to read music, and playing classroom instruments such as recorders, pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, and piano.
Her vocal pedagogy coursework and supervised applied teaching with Lorna MacDonald along with her voice lessons and coursework with Dr. Darryl Edwards at UofT have honed her skills as a voice teacher. Since moving to Toronto in 2011, Sonya has continued to teach voice lessons to students of all ages, focusing on strong musicianship, efficient vocal function, and self-efficacy. She is proud to have helped students reach their goals of expressing themselves through performance, completing high level RCM exams, participating in programs such as Ontario Youth Choir, and auditioning successfully for undergraduate music programs at the University of Toronto, Western University, and McMaster University.
In addition to teaching, Sonya loves to perform. Her opera credits include Pamina and Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte (Mozart), Susanna in Il segreto di Susanna (Wolf-Ferrari), La suora zelatrice in Suor Angelica (Puccini), and Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti), and she has performed as the soprano soloist in Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass, Mozart's Mass in c minor, Vivaldi's Gloria, and Durante's Magnificat. She sings in several community choirs, including Incontra Vocal Ensemble and The Hedgerow Singers.
Sonya is delighted to be a member of the faculty at the Classical Music Conservatory, and enjoys working with students of all ages!
B. Mus. Violin Performance, Diploma in Operatic Performance, U of Toronto
Michael Sproule is an Ottawa-born violinist and operatic baritone. He has built a unique career that has taken him from the Orchestra of the Canadian Opera Company to the stage.
Michael is currently a member of the Canadian Opera Company Chorus. On the violin side, he received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance from the University of Toronto, studying with Lorand Fenyves. Michael furthered his violin studies with Rodney Friend in London, England, and in the Winter Programme at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He has won several awards including First Prize in the Remenyi Violin Competition, a grant from the Floyd S. Chalmers Foundation, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary.
He has appeared as soloist with the Cathedral Bluffs Orchestra and the Huronia Symphony and was concertmaster of the Les Miserables Orchestra . Michael was a member of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra from 1990 to 2007 and has performed with many orchestras including the Esprit Orchestra, the National Ballet Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Brantford Symphony, and the orchestras of Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Crazy For You, Ragtime, Jane Eyre, and The Lion King.
On the singing side, Michael studied voice with Mary Morrison and Patricia Kern, receiving a Diploma in Operatic Performance from the University of Toronto. He also studied at the Britten-Pears School in England with Russian baritone Sergei Leiferkus. Michael sang the role of the French Abbé in the Canadian Opera Company's production of War and Peace by Prokofiev. He created the role of John Wilson in the world premiere of The Last Duel by Gary Kulesha, and his operatic roles performed include Guglielmo in Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, The Clock in Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, Ford in Verdi's Falstaff, Rambaldo in La Rondine by Puccini, and The Ferryman in Benjamin Britten's Curlew River, a role he performed in Aldeburgh, England. Michael has appeared as soloist with the Talisker Players, the Georgetown Bach Choral, the Valley Festival, and the Brampton Festival Singers, and has performed in recital with pianist Roger Vignoles in Nagaoka, Japan.
Michael loves teaching and, in addition to teaching at the Classical Music Conservatory of Canada, he leads the Lower/Middle School and Upper School String Ensembles at the Crescent School in Toronto.
B. Mus & M. Mus Performance in Opera, UBC
Soprano Gwendolyn Yearwood began her teaching career at the age of 18 when she first started working as a vocal coach for the Calgary Girls Choir. She taught and mentored several young singers while completing a diploma of music performance at Mount Royal University.
In 2012 her love of performance and opera took her to Vancouver where she completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music at the University of British Columbia. During her time with UBC Opera she had the opportunity to perform several roles throughout Canada, the Czech Republic, and China. Her performances included: Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Magda in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul, Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème, and Giorgetta in Puccini’s il Tabarro. Gwendolyn has also performed the role of Musetta with Burnaby Lyric Opera, Rosalinde with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Niece 2 in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s production of Peter Grimes, and Mimi in Against the Grain Theatre’s production of La Bohème.
In 2021- 2022 Gwendolyn was a Fellow with the Association for Opera in Canada’s RBC Artist Fellowship program which aims to advance the careers of portfolio (multidisciplinary) opera artists. Gwendolyn currently resides in her home town of Calgary, Alberta where she continues a career as a performer, teacher, and the co-founder of Good Mess Opera Theatre. She is thrilled to be teaching virtually with CMC!