Ian Bent (Piano, Music Theory)
Sought after for his versatility, sensitivity and taste, Ian Bent is in high demand as a pianist/keyboardist and arranger in nearly every corner of Halifax’s kaleidoscopic music scene.
Since returning to Halifax after completing his Masters of Music at the University of Montreal in 2008, Ian has performed with dozens of projects, in a tremendous range of styles, from Klezmer (with Oy Gevalt, and the Halifax Klezmorim) to Tango (Libertango), Chamber music, 16th-century sacred polyphony, Jazz, Indie Rock, Contemporary Folk and Blues.
With his band, Caledonia, Ian has performed across Canada and in the United States, packing venues in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The band’s latest album, We Are America was nominated for 5 ECMA awards in 2010.
In addition to his work as a collaborative musician, performing alongside artists such as songwriter and poet Tanya Davis, and recording and performing with the band Acres and Acres, and songwriters Keith Mullins, Steve Gates, Zac Crouse, Alana Yorke and Morgan MacDonald, Ian has been hard at work developing his career as a solo artist. He has taught students ages four to adult of all levels adding composition and theory if the student desires.
Vanessa Buhr-Rountree (Voice, Piano)
Vanessa Buhr-Rountree has been teaching voice and piano at FRSPA since 2005. She has had the privilege of performing as a principal soprano soloist and actor in numerous operettas, musical theatre productions and concerts with such groups as the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of N.S.; Theatre Arts Guild (N.S.); Maritime Concert Opera ; Savoy Society Ottawa; N.S. Drama League; and Rhapsody Quintet. She has also been music director for productions such as Do The Right Thing (an antibullying project ), G&S’s Trial By Jury ; and the Canadian premier of Sheridan Morley’s musical Noel and Gertie, (taking it to two International Theatre Festivals).She has also worked in film, TV, radio and is a full member of The Alliance of Canadian Cinema , Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA).
Vanessa has degrees in Psychology and Recreation from Dalhousie University, with a minor in Theatre. She studied voice and piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music. She loves witnessing the “light-bulb” moments from her students as the musical experiences transform them to another level and believes in finding the music that best helps a student express themselves. Vanessa’s students have done very well in RCM exams and Kiwanis Music Festival Competitions.
Ryan Cox (Bass, Guitar, Rock Ensembles, Campfire Guitar
A native of Windsor Junction, Ryan has been teaching at FRSPA for twelve years. Originally born a bass player, Ryan has grown into a talented multi-instrumentalist. Equally at home on either guitar and bass, Ryan has also developed a reputation as a uniquely stylized and prolific song writer. His current musical project, SecondBand, has released several singles to critical acclaim and has performed throughout Nova Scotia to growing audiences. Ryan teaches several of the Rock Ensembles, The Campfire Guitar Classes, and has run the popular FRSPA Rock Camps for many years.
BECCA GUILDERSON - MUSICAL THEATRE, GLEE CLUB, VOICE LESSONS
Becca Guilderson is a Halifax-based performer with a passion for working with youth in theatre! She studied Classical Voice and Theatre at Mount Allison University and participated in the Music Theatre Foundation Program at Neptune Theatre. She has taught musical theatre for Neptune Theatre School and private voice lessons through a conservatory as well as privately. She’s spent the past 2 years working with Citadel High School on their musical productions of The Drowsy Chaperone and Jesus Christ Superstar. She also works with Le Marchant St Thomas Elementary School on their musical productions. Catch her this winter on the Neptune Theatre Main Stage in Peter Pan as Tink! We welcome Becca to FRSPA!
KIMBERLEY HOLMES - (Fiddle, Piano Accompaniment, Accordion, Banjo and Ukelele)
Kimberley, a native of Nova Scotia, is one of Canada’s premier piano accompanists in the traditional style of fiddling and has won many awards for her fiddle playing as a solo performer. She has also captured first place at the Maritime Fiddle Festival in the group category with Dave Bagnell, Jocelyne Bourque, Samantha Robichaud and most recently with Sherryl Fitzpatrick on July 9, 2011. She is also the house accompanist and past artistic director of the Maritime Fiddle Festival.
Kimberley has toured with such artists as Graham and Eleanor Townsend, Richard Wood, Calvin Vollrath and April Verch among others, and has recorded with a long list of musicians including Richard Wood, Jocelyne Bourque, Ray Legere, J.P. Cormier, Tara Lynne Touesnard, Calvin Vollrath, Gordon Stobbe, Peter Dawson, Sherryl Fitzpatrick and Kelli Trottier.
Kimberley has been a member of the FRSPA staff since 2005 teaching both piano and fiddle to ages 4 to adult. She is a guest instructor at camps across Canada, most notably the Tobique Fiddle Camp in New Brunswick, Canadian Grand Masters Camp, Calvin Vollrath Camp as well as at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton. In 2019 Kimberley was inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame.
SYLVAIN (Syl) MEDINA - DRUMS - ROCK ENSEMBLES
After teaching the FRSPA Summer Rock Camp 2019, Syl has come on as a drum kit instructor for Fall 2019. Syl has been playing drums for over 20 years and is comfortable in many different styles of music including latin, funk, metal, country and musical theatre, and also has a soft spot for hard rock music. He has played in many different Halifax bands as a drummer and backup vocalist including The Folk and Country Line, Raftus, Brett Waye, Cody Degaust and NOR. Besides drumming, Syl is also a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer and is the creative force behind the band Voieces. His love of music and diversity of skills helps him convey the lessons in a way that connects young drummers to their instrument and to their context within music as a whole.
KENNETH PASHER - Guitar and Bass
Ever since picking up a guitar at age 12, Kenneth’s love of music hasn’t stopped growing and evolving. Kenneth holds a Performance Degree from Dalhousie University and is completing his Music Education Degree from Memorial University He has become well versed in music theory and classical guitar technique. When he’s not teaching music, he’s playing lead guitar for Halifax based folk rockers Ryan Hull and the Storytellers, who are beginning to gain traction in the local music scene. Kenneth’s playing style is very diverse, and he feels at home in almost any genre. Whether it’s teaching, playing, or even just listening, he’s always happiest playing and sharing music with others.
EMMANUEL SAMUEL - Voice and Theory Instructor (composition)
Emmanuel Solomon is a Nigerian Tenor in his 3rd year in Music at the FSPA (Fountain School of Performing Arts), Dalhousie University. He started his singing career as a Tenor in 2014 as a student of the MUSON (Musical Society of Nigeria) Diploma school of Music in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a music director, voice instructor, and he loves directing choral works and musical theatre Emmanuel has won gold and silver laurels with the Nigerian choir-Mountain Top chorale- at the 9th Johannes Brahms international choral competition and festival in Werningerode, Germany (2015), and at the World choir games competition in Sochi, Russia(2016). Next winter, Emmanuel will be playing the title role of Aeneas from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the Dalhousie Opera. His list of Performances in the world of Opera is vast. Emmanuel likes to compose and rearrange instrumental and vocal works and therefore is studying composition and vocal performance (double major) at the FSPA. He is also a recipient of the RCCO (Royal Canadian College of Organists) Organ scholarship and is currently taking lessons with Mr. Shawn Whynot, a member of the RCCO, Halifax. Emmanuel has been passionate about music since he was a young teenager and has always loved impacting his musical knowledge and experience into young kids who love music. He was music teacher and director of several high school and church music groups when he was in Lagos, Nigeria. Emmanuel is very excited to be amongst the faculty of instructors of FRSPA. We welcome you Emmanuel! Available as a private voice instructor and music theory instructor.
RAQUEL WASSON - PIANO
Raquel Wasson began her love of music at the age of five at the Fall River School of Performing Arts where she studied music for fourteen years. She is now attending Dalhousie University’s Fountain School of Performing Arts studying percussion and piano as a Fountain Scholar. She has studied piano with Ian Bent, Betty Ro, and is currently studying with Peter Allen. Raquel loves to work with children and has spent many years volunteering with an after school childcare program. She also created a Music Therapy program in the Learning Centre at Lockview High School and loves sharing her music with people of all abilities. Raquel was also a percussionist in the Nova Scotia Youth Wind Ensemble for a number of years. She can’t wait to share her love of music!