The Gift of New Members at Heliconian Club

Earlier this Fall, we welcomed 27 new members at the President’s Reception at the first event of the year. Since then, many of these new members have contributed to life to our Club, adding fresh ideas and perspective to our ever growing club. We are  thankful for their participation, and can’t wait to show them off as fellow Heliconians. Below are a few highlights of these women based on submitted bios.

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Dorothy de Val specializes in classical and traditional music and is the author of a book on the folksong collector Lucy Broadwood. Trained in Toronto and London, she earned a PhD in Musicology (King’s College London, 1991) prior to teaching at the Royal Academy of Music and Oxford University. She is currently an associate professor (musicology) at York University. Outside of academe she plays regularly for the English Country Dance community with her band, Playford’s Pleasure, with a focus on Jane Austen. She is also active as a duo pianist with Charlene Biggs. (Concert coming up: York University, January 17, 2013).

Nicole Rose Bond (Dance) began her formal dance training at York University graduating cum laude with a BFA Honours in Dance in 2005 under the artistic guidance and tutelage of Penelope Reed Doob, Susan Cash, Donna Krasnow, Naoko Murakoshi, Holly Small, Mary Jane Warner and Claire Wootten. Nicole feels indebted to these women for the gifts that they have shared. Since graduating, Nicole has felt privileged to perform with esteemed dance artists including Peggy Baker, Patricia Beatty, Coleman Lemieux et Compagnie, Dance Theatre David Earle, Danny Grossman Dance Company, Learie McNicholl, Toronto Dance Theatre and Yvonne Ng.

Beth Breen (Humanities) is a lifelong enthusiast and supporter of the arts. Ten years ago, she decided to learn about music. She studied piano, voice, music theory and history as well as composition, psychology and philosophy. She volunteered for local music societies, and currently attends concerts and writes book reviews related to music. She also draws, paints and photographs. Beth’s main creative outlet is hand weaving and hand spinning along with the allied fibre and textile arts.

Hannah Mae Cruddas (Dance) is from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She trained with the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts School of Dance, before attending Canada’s National Ballet School from 2009 to 2011. She is the youngest recipient of the Society of Russian Ballet’s Nesta Toumine Memorial Award and at 14, was a semi-finalist in the Genée International Ballet Competition. She joined Ballet Jorgen as an apprentice in 2011 and was promoted to the corps de ballet this past summer. She will be performing in their new production of Swan Lake this fall.

Sandra Franke (Art) is a painter and resident of Bloor West Village, Toronto. She graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in 1984. From 1986 to 1993 Sandra pursued part time studies in Fine Arts at the Ontario College of Art (OCAD). She has worked both as an architect and taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo’s Schools of Architecture. Sandra has been involved as a volunteer with various groups: Habitat for Humanity, Runnymede Public School, and activity therapy with Runnymede Healthcare Centre.

Suzanne Jaeger (Art) is currently the Director of Research and Strategic Partnerships in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University. She has a PhD in philosophy from York University and has taught philosophy and humanities at York and at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. Prior to receiving her academic degrees, Suzanne was a professional ballet dancer and teacher. Her professional training was with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet professional division. She taught ballet and creative movement for the RWB General Division, the University of Saskatchewan Dance School, and the Saskatchewan School for the Performing Arts. Her published work focuses on art dance aesthetics, philosophies of embodiment and the nature of meaning-making. Suzanne is also a certified fitness instructor who teaches Lilian Jarvis’ Somatic Stretch and older adult fitness classes.

Alison Hodsman (Music) was born in London, Ontario, Alison received a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Western Ontario.  She divides her time between being an active performer, music educator, and Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique. Most recently she performed at the Order of Ontario investiture ceremony with the Maplekeys, a female vocal trio specializing in classical and contemporary repertoire.  She is the Choir Manager and performer in the Heliconian Choir and Orchestra, assisting in repertoire selection and planning each season. In addition to being an active performer, Alison is a dedicated music educator.  She maintains a thriving private voice studio, and is a vocal coach with the Bach Children’s Chorus. She continues to build her private practice teaching voice and the Alexander Technique, offering private lessons, workshops and presentations in Toronto and throughout the GTA.

Australian-born Canadian Nenagh Leigh (Dance) trained and performed in ballet, and completed her B.A. and Dip.Ed. (Sydney University), before emigrating to Canada in 1970. In Fredericton, Nenagh founded, choreographed and performed for Maritime Contemporary Dance Company, creating 22 works for this company. She danced for Theatre New Brunswick’s 1972 production of The King and I, and created choreography for an acclaimed TNB production of Equus. In Toronto, Nenagh founded and served as Artistic Director for SpringRites, an annual choreographic showcase, creating twelve new works for this venue. Co-founding Toronto Heritage Dance with Patricia Beatty in 2002, she currently serves as Co-director/Executive Officer.

Lucia Pegararo (Music) has spent the last fifteen years working as a musician-composing, producing and performing her unique blend of Pop, Classical, Opera and R&B. She began her musical journey at age 4 when she began taking piano lessons, and taught piano in her late teens where she worked on her A.R.C.T. in Piano Performance while studying Engineering at the University of Toronto. It was during her university years that Lucia performed with many bands fusing classical music with jazz and pop. After University, Lucia began to focus on composing and producing popular music, fusing her love of all types of music by creating her own sound. She began to live in the recording studio – composing and producing her unique style of music. Lucia currently spends much of her time in Los Angeles working with world class songwriters and musicians.

Monica Pearce (Music), originally from Prince Edward Island, is a composer of new classical/contemporary music with a particular affinity for solo and chamber music, opera, and musical theatre. Monica founded the emerging composer collective the Toy Piano Composers in 2008 with Chris Thornborrow, where she is the Artistic Director. The Toy Piano Composers are currently in their fifth season and have presented over 90 new works in 13 concerts. Monica is also the General Manager of the Canadian League of Composers which serves the interests of Canada’s art music composers.