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 Principal Guest Conductor of Symphony New Brunswick. He has also just been appointed Music Director of Orchestra Toronto, beginning with the 2019/20 Season. 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!.

John Fautley, JKYO Farm Lead Coach

John Fautley earned his music and education degrees at the University of Toronto. Following a decade of varied roles in the professional music world, he settled into a teaching career at the University of Toronto Schools and OISE/UT. After moving to Peterborough in 2008, he became active in local music, enjoying the diversity of musical talent in our area. Here, he has performed in a variety of ensembles, from Celtic and country to jazz and classical. He has helped establish International Jazz Day Peterborough as a major annual event, and has now turned his energies to the KYO’s quest to bring classical music to eager local youth.

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 26-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.

Stephanie Harnden, Music Librarian

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.

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.

Zuzanna Chomicka-Newnham, KYO Cello Coach

Zuzanna Chomicka-Newnham was born in Poland, and received her Master’s Degree from the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw in 1991. Among her teachers were Daniel Shafran, Milos Sadlo and Arnold Rezler. While still a student, she became a member of the Polish Radio Orchestra, with which she toured Europe several times and made numerous recordings. She also performed extensively with the Warsaw Philharmonic and the Polish Chamber Orchestra in Gdansk.

In 1997, she was invited to teach at Taegu-Hyosung University in South Korea. During her tenure there, she performed as a chamber musician and soloist in various settings and music festivals

Ms. Chomicka-Newnham has been Principal Cellist of the Peterborough Symphony since 2002. She performs with the Ontario Philharmonic and various other professional orchestras throughout Ontario. As a chamber musician, Zuzanna has been active as a member of the newly-formed PSO String Quartet and has been appearing with the Gould String Quartet.

Teaching and educating cellists has been one of Zuzanna’s passions for many years. She coaches the cello section of the Kawartha Youth Orchestra and runs a successful private teaching studio in Peterborough under the auspices of “Accademia Musica”.

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.

Nick Gilroy, JKYO Percussion Coach

Originally from Peterborough, Ontario, Nick has been playing the drums for over 10 years. He has experience in various genres and ensembles; both in the studio and performing live shows. Nick has often been seen playing drums for musicals, as well as filling in for bands that need a drummer for shows and studio recordings. It was after getting the taste of being a professional artist that Nick decided to push forward and make music his career.

Matthew Girolami, KYO Bass

Matthew began piano lessons at a young age and eventually migrated to the double bass to continue his studies at the University of Toronto. During summer music programs in Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco and Oregon he developed a specialty in Historical Performance Practice. Matthew enjoys instructing students in both double bass and piano as well as fostering a broader interest in music through various teaching opportunities in the GTA and Kawartha Lakes regions. Sharing a passion for the arts is important to Matthew and he hopes to continue to be a part of a wide range of artistic endeavours.

Samantha Glass, JKYO Flutes

Samantha has studied voice and piano for 18 years, and began flute 13 years ago. She has played and coached in multiple community and youth bands with Marilyn Chalk. Samantha has been with the JKYO flutes since September of 2019.

Tanah Haney, JKYO harp

Tanah is a local harpist whose repertoire draws on many traditions, from folk and Celtic to Classical and early music from the Renaissance, Medieval, and Baroque periods. She has been teaching music since her teens, and currently teaches harp, piano and recorder to students of all ages. When not teaching, she plays solo and with several ensembles throughout the Kawarthas.

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. She is also a coach for beginner cello.

Janet Louden, Instrument Librarian and JKYO strings

Janet originates from Edmonton, Alberta. During her free time while attending university she worked for Edmonton Public Schools in their strings-based music enrichment program as a teaching assistant, and later as a teacher for one year covering for a medical leave position. She also managed the stringed instrument inventory and stringed instrument repair program during her tenure at Edmonton Public Schools. As part of the teaching staff she attended annual music camps and teacher training outside of Boston, Massachusetts and learned to play violin, viola, cello and double bass in the teacher training programs. Janet played violin and then cello in the Edmonton Philharmonic Society community orchestra for many years. She currently plays in String Song, a strings chamber orchestra in Peterborough, and when time allows, participates in impromptu chamber music sessions with friends as well as playing fiddle in a group of musicians accompanying the Peterborough English Country Dancers. She joined the KYO board for the 2018/19 season after playing cello in the KYO as a community member for one year.

Jane MacKay, KYO 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.

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.

Scott Wight, KYO Woodwind Coach

A Native of Peterborough, Ontario, Scott studied Orchestral Performance at Wilfrid Laurier University in Kitchener-Waterloo under clarinetists Pauline Minevich and Ross Edwards. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he moved to the U.S. to continue his studies with world-renowned Canadian clarinetist James Campbell at Indiana University, and worked and performed at the Banff Centre for the Arts in the Artist Residence program.

Scott has performed in virtually every major city in Canada both as a chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral or wind ensemble performer. He has been concertmaster of the Ceremonial Guard band in Ottawa and performed with a myriad of ensembles, including the K-W Symphony, Orchestra London, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Wight has had the privilege of studying or working with many talents such as Raffi Armenian, Eli Eban, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Fenyves, and others.

Scott currently resides in Peterborough and teaches clarinet while performing with several professional and semi-professional ensembles. He is Principal Clarinetist of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and has performed with Alchemy, a French wind trio consisting of PSO members Tori Owen and Ben Bell. Scott has been active with the Kawartha Youth Orchestra as a mentor and wind coach over the past decade and is passionate about engaging youth in music. He currently works as an RN and Clinical Informatics Specialist at the Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg.