Faculty & Staff

Michael Newnham, Music Director and KYO Conductor

Michael Newnham has a rich background in symphonic, opera, ballet and pops conducting through Europe, Asia and Canada. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Mr. Newnham pursued his musical education at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, the Indiana University School of Music, and the University of Toronto. While still a student, he became a member of the Conducting Staff of the Warsaw Chamber Opera, leading performances to great critical acclaim.

Along with his duties as Music Director of the Kawartha Youth Orchestra, Michael Newnham is the Music Director of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and the newly appointed Interim Music Director of Orchestra Toronto. He remains Principal Guest Conductor of Symphony New Brunswick. A born communicator, Mr. Newnham’s informal, informative and humorous ‘Meet the Maestro’ pre-concert chats have opened the world of music to a wide audience in Peterborough.

His passion for music education and making music with young people has been reflected in his work with various Youth Orchestras, and as a faculty member of Music at Port Milford. He has also been Guest Professor of Conducting at the Taegu Hyosung University in South Korea.

The recipient of numerous awards, including ‘Best Operatic Conductor’ from the East Slovakian State Opera and the Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland, Mr. Newnham was recently presented the Turzanski Foundation Award for his services in promoting Polish music and culture in Canada.

Marilyn Chalk, Junior Orchestra Conductor

Marilyn Chalk has been a music educator for over thirty years and brings a dynamic and enthusiastic approach to music education. She is passionate about music and the youth of our community and enjoys helping them discover their inner “voice” through teaching and conducting.

Marilyn studied Performance Piano at the University of Alberta and has taught piano for many years. When she moved to Toronto in 1984, she established a highly desired piano studio in Lawrence Park for 15 years.

Marilyn moved to Peterborough with her family in 1999 and later became music director at the Bethany Hills School. While at the school, the band program received high praise from the community and it ignited her desire to continue conducting young ensembles.

In 2005, Marilyn was the music director for the Starfire Band, a community concert band of students from grades 7 -12. Over the course of five years, the Starfire Band won many awards at provincial and national competitions, performed numerous concerts in the area, and delighted local children on their annual school tours.

In addition to her vibrant music studio in Peterborough, Marilyn is also a core teacher for the Peterborough Suzuki School of Music. She is founder and music director of a community band, Friends in Music, whose members comprise all ages and play all instruments.

As conductor of the newly established junior orchestra of the Kawartha Youth Orchestra, Marilyn is delighted to be working with young musicians again (as young as eight years old!) and is awed by the support of this excellent organization.

To share her deeper knowledge, understanding and love of music is Marilyn’s greatest goal. Marilyn’s motto is to strive for musical excellence while creating a fun and supportive environment!.

Witold Swoboda, KYO String Coach

Witold Swoboda holds a Masters Degree in Violin Performance from the Cracow Academy of Music in Poland. Formerly a member of the Polish Radio and Television Orchestra and the Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra, Swoboda also taught at Algoma University, Mohawk College and prestigious international music camps. Swoboda is the founder and artistic director of the International Chamber Music Workshop in Pulawy, Poland and Peterborough’s Accademia Musica.

Rose Loranger,  JKYO String Coach

Rose grew up amidst a family of professional classical musicians; music and performance were standard features of her home life. She is a certified high school teacher and RCM trained piano and violin teacher. Rose studied violin under Ranald Shean, principal violinist of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra with influences from Pinchas Zuckermann, Heifetz, and Dorothy Delay. Rose is a former member of the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, was concertmaster of the International Music Camp at Dunseith, North Dakota, and played with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra for two seasons after moving to the Peterborough area. When not fully engaged in her community or homeschooling her five children, Rose runs her own piano and violin studio, and coaches the JKYO strings.

Zuzanna Chomicka-Newnham, KYO Cello Coach

Zuzanna holds a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland. She was a member of the Polish Radio Orchestra, and taught cello at the Taegu-Hyosung University in South Korea. She currently enjoys a successful career as the principal cellist of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, as an ensemble performer, and as a private cello teacher on staff at Peterborough’s Accademia Musica.

Jane MacKay, KYO Wind and Brass Coach

Jane McKay studied French Horn at the University of Toronto, and now travels around Ontario to freelance and teach. When she isn’t teaching music to the region’s aspiring youth, she can be seen on stage with the Peterborough Symphony, Northumberland Orchestra and Choir and other groups.

Stephanie Harnden, Music Librarian & JKYO Wind Coach

Stephanie has been playing clarinet since she was nine years old. She studied under local clarinettist Scott Wright as well as Peter Shackleton during her studies in the Faculty of Music, Wilfred Laurier University. Stephanie is an alumna of the KYO and looks back on her time with the orchestra fondly. Stephanie has returned to the KYO as a coach and mentor to help foster among the youth the same love for music which she had as a member of the orchestra.

Ruth Alton,  JKYO Brass Coach

Ruth comes from a Salvation Army brass band background. Trombone is her main instrument; she also plays tuba, euphonium, baritone, cornet, and trumpet. Ruth is currently the principal trombone with the Peterborough Temple Salvation Army Band and second trombone with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra. Ruth studied music at the University of Western Ontario and has over twenty years of experience teaching and coaching kids on brass instruments. Additionally, Ruth worked with the precursor of the Atlanta Music Project – Music for Social Change, an El Sistema-based social justice program for marginalized urban youth in Atlanta, Georgia. With a passion to help youth, Ruth is excited to come and help with the JKYO.

Ann Millen, Recruitment, Education and Outreach Coordinator & JKYO Brass Coach

Ann is one of the Founders of the Junior Kawartha Youth Orchestra. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Toronto. As a 25-year member of the Peterborough Symphony on horn, Ann runs her own music studio, as well as Mainly Music Camp for children. She is well-equipped to share her love of music with today’s youth.

Stan Ewing, JKYO Percussion Coach

Stan is a classically trained percussionist. He has served as principal percussionist with the Salvation Army Canadian Staff Band, and Band Master with Peterborough Temple Salvation Army Band for over twenty years. Stan’s involvement in Salvation Army bands has allowed him to tour the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and throughout Canada. Stan has been involved with the Salvation Army Summer Music Camp programme. He has played percussion in local theatre music group productions, and is a regular guest with the Peterborough Singers on Timpani.