* Kathy Erickson *
* Nalini Bissoon * Aya Robertson *
* Christina Kempenaar * Jewleana Marens *
* Timo Pehkonen *
Owner & Director of 'The Music Box'
Piano & Cello
Kathy Erickson, originally from Cheshire, England, has been teaching music to children and adults for over 25 years. She began playing the cello and piano at the age of nine and studied at the Royal College of Music in London, England. While at the college Kathy performed in many concerts, including concerts with John Williams and Placido Domingo and for Prince Charles & the late Princess Diana.
While living in London, Kathy taught music at a private school in South Kensington for four years and also taught private instrumental lessons there and at several other schools.
After moving to Canada, Kathy owned and directed her own music school in Nanaimo BC for fifteen years. The school brought music to over 160 children per week through private lessons in piano, voice, strings, guitar, choir and musical theatre and through the Music 'n' More Preschool Music Programs for children aged 12 months - 6 years (written by Kathy Stacey).
In addition, Kathy provided music lessons as a part of the rehabilitation program for brain-injured adults through Bill's Place Support Services as well as music therapy with children with autism and for visually impaired children with cerebral palsy, through the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children's Health.
While living in Nanaimo she was the assistant principal cellist in the Vancouver Island Symphony orchestra for nine years and was also the Education Consultant with the VI Symphony for 5 years, responsible for compiling the educational materials for the schools for the Children's Education Concert Series.
Kathy performed as a guest artist with the Vancouver Island Symphony in 1999 with the Celtic-rock band, The Bremen Town Musicans (review here).
In a more intimate setting, also in 1999, Kathy was hired to perform at the birthday party of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Kathy was also the cellist hired to perform in the stage production of "Lies & Legends - A tribute to Harry Chapin" at the Belfry Theatre, Victoria BC during the Summer of 2000.
From 2000 - 2008 Kathy has been on the teaching faculty of the Celtic Performing Arts annual Celtic Festival 'Celtfest', teaching Celtic cello to musicians from across North America and beyond.
Kathy, also a mother of four children, now resides in Victoria, BC. She still plays professionally as a session musician, in the cello and guitar duo 'Ten Strings & a Bow', and as a soloist. Kathy's cello work has graced a great many albums.
Kathy has been a Primary music specialist and instrumental teacher at Christ Church Cathedral School since 2008 and is the Choir Director for the Primary Choir. Kathy believes in continuous education and is constantly updating her skills as a teacher. She regularly attends and participates in workshops & master classes and takes advantage of the many professional development opportunities available to teachers in Canada. Through 'The Music Box' Kathy has successfully guided students through festivals, exams, and performances.
Voice & Piano
Nalini Bissoon has been performing and teaching music for over ten years. She studied voice from the age of nine while performing in the Viva Choir, the Greater Victoria Youth Choir and the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival. She has participated in numerous voice recitals, master classes and workshops throughout the city including the Victoria Conservatory of Music Summer Vocal Oratorio Academy (2012). Expanding on her interest in other genres of music, Nalini began studying Jazz piano in 2005 and founded and directed her own folk fusion band in 2011.
Between 2003 and 2006 Nalini volunteered at George Jay Elementary School teaching singing and music theory. Following this, Nalini began her post-secondary studies at the Victoria Conservatory of Music graduating in 2009 with a Diploma in Music (Classical Voice) and an AVCM in teaching. In 2010 and 2011, she participated in the Katimavik National Youth Volunteer Program working as a music teacher and choral director at Duncan J. Schoular School in Smiths Falls, Ontario. This rewarding experience further fostered her passion for teaching music to young children and upon returning to Victoria, she volunteered at the Fernwood Community Centre as a music facilitator, providing interactive musical games for pre and school aged children and their parents.
In June 2014, Nalini received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria where she majored in Classical Voice and minored in Composition. In addition to having her own works performed, she has premiered those of fellow UVic composers including Justin Boechler’s opera “Ithaca,” (2012). She has been the soloist for the UVic Convocation Ceremonies since April 2013.
Nalini is thrilled to share her diverse range of knowledge, experience and love of music with her students at the Music Box.
Aya Robertson was born in Vancouver, BC, where she began piano lessons at the age of two. From the age of four, she studied under Rebecca Kelly, completing her RCM Grade 10 when she was 12. She continued on to receive her ARCT Performers Diploma with Distinction at 15, along with her ARCT Pedagogy Diploma at 16. The same year, she achieved the London College of Music Licentiate Performance Diploma with Distinction. Starting at 14, Aya began musical composition lessons with Rita Ueda and Rodney Sharman, and in her final year of high school, one of her orchestra pieces was performed at the Orpheum Theatre in 2014. Aya is currently studying piano with Bruce Vogt at the University of Victoria, as well as voice with Betty Allison.
Christina is currently a master’s student at the University of Victoria studying Musicology. Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Christina started piano lessons at the age of eight. She completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts (Music) at Lakehead University in 2016, majoring in piano performance under Evgueni Tchougounov, and specializing in choral conducting with Dean Jobin-Bevans. Christina was also the assistant director for the Lakehead University Vocal Ensemble for the 2016-2017 season. In this role, She performed two world premieres of choral works composed by Ottawa-based composer Stephen Eisenhauer.
Christina also graduated with her Bachelor of Education in the same year. In 2017, Christina completed her Associate Performer’s Diploma with First Class Honours with The Royal Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Derek Oger. In the same year, she completed her Grade 8 voice with Gillian Sadler, receiving the Conservatory Canada Medal of Excellence for the highest mark in Ontario in 2017.
As a conductor and educator, Christina has worked with performers of all ages. In 2015, Christina worked with the Boys and Girls Club to create a children’s choir. She has worked as a private tutor and piano teacher for over four years and welcomes the opportunity to be part of The Music Box.
From the tender age of 5, Jewleana has been studying and performing music. Her first introduction was to classical music and she became an accomplished pianist while her love of performing began as a child from taking the stage from time to time with her father’s band when he played at a local venue.
Jewleanas’ music career has taken her through many veins of music from classical, musical theatre, folk, pop, jazz, country, blues, gospel and worship music, and she is passionate about them all. She studied to be a concert pianist at the University of Windsor, Musical Theatre at the Edmonton School for Musical Theater and is an honours graduate from Selkirk College with majors in Vocal Performance, Songwriting, Composition and Film Scoring, Production and Engineering.
Jewleana has been teaching for over 13 years and has taught everything from music theory, history, harmony, songwriting, performance, piano and voice. Jewleana’s approach to teaching is that learning should be fun and creative while incorporating the necessities of proper techniques.
While living in West Vancouver she established a children’s choir and a youth choir that were well received in the community. After landing in Victoria, Jewleana taught privately and at Long and McQuade where she was instrumental in establishing and teaching the Rock Skool Camps. As well as her regular teaching schedule, Jewleana taught performance and vocal workshops for mature students.
Some of Jewleana’s career highlights include performing at Hermann’s and the BC Days Festival. While in school Jewleana organized and was part of a writing team and band that wrote a theme song for the Women’s Centers across BC called “Break This Chain” that received airplay on CBC Radio in conjunction with the memorial for the Montreal Massacre.
Jewleana recently took a break from teaching and performing to focus on writing for her album. Jewleana has always felt spellbound by the imagination of classic songwriters who were able to connect melody, harmony and rhythm to cathartic, heartfelt words. Jewleana’s original songs resonate like energetic diaries that reveal her genuine perspectives on magic, love, hope and self-discovery. Through her unfettered live performances and well-crafted studio recordings, she unleashes timeless, deeply-personal and playful vocals, lyrics and memorable instrumental passages. Jewleana’s talent for interpretation and arrangement as well as her years of vocal training glimmer when she reinterprets familiar favorites, transforming them into fresh works that celebrate the savoir-faire of artists who have inspired her.
Jewleana is honoured to be part of the teaching team at the Music Box.
Piano, Guitar, Ukulele
Timo is an active composer, performer, and teacher of music. He received his Bachelor's degree, with honours, in music composition at Lakehead University. He is currently earning his master's degree in music composition at University of Victoria. Teaching music to students of all ages and various backgrounds is something Timo greatly values and thoroughly enjoys. With seven years of experience teaching piano and guitar in Ontario, Timo is happy to now be musically involved with the arts on Canada's west coast and is excited to be joining the teaching team at The Music Box.