Facilitators

The facilitators of Women’s Music Weekend—Jane Lewis & Katherine Wheatley—have years of experience writing songs, performing, touring, and hosting workshops for people of all ages. Together they create a weekend that encourages you in a safe and nourishing space to play, break through any barriers you have to exploring your music, and have fun. Different weekends will have a guest facilitator (or two!), bringing their own skills and areas of expertise to share with the group.

Hosts

Singer-songwriter Jane Lewis is a strong believer in the power of music and singing to bring people together. She founded the All Together Now workshop series in Guelph, and leads regular choir groups as well as workshops on harmony singing, finding your voice, vocal meditation, vocal improvisation, Circle Singing, and more. She has studied with Rhiannon and Música do Círculo, and attended Bobby McFerrin’s CircleSongs workshop.

Jane is a published YA author, and she harbours a deep fascination for words and poetry. Her debut album Stay With Me was released in 2014 to critical reviews. She performs most often in the folk duo Gathering Sparks, which was nominated for a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year. Their latest album All That’s Real was released in October 2019 with Borealis Records, and the lead track from the album “Bringing in the Light” won that year’s Folk Music Ontario/Songs From the Heart award (singer-songwriter).

“Everything about this record from the gorgeous songs, crisp lead vocals, stunning harmonies, creative arrangements, the stellar band accompaniment and its production are top drawer…. Sure to be one of the best albums of 2014.” — Jan Hall, Folk Roots Radio

Geologist-turned-folk singer Katherine Wheatley is one busy musician. In addition to her solo performing singer/songwriter career, she’s half of the duo “Wendell and Wheat,” a third of the trio Boreal (with Angie Nussey and Tannis Slimmon), and is one of the founding members of the Toronto All-Star band “Betty and the Bobs.” Her song “Hallelujah” won a 2009 Porcupine Golden Quill award and has become a standard in sing-along circles. Her 2010 solo show in Charlottetown was selected “Performance of the Year” by the Guardian. Two of her songs were selected for the new Rise Again songbook (30th anniversary publication of Rise Up). She writes and records songs with kids through her Youthsongs program and has produced over 30 CDs with schools across North America. She works as a singer/zodiac driver on board the ship The MS Expedition as it plies the seas of Antarctica and the Norwegian Arctic. When she’s not on tour, Katherine presents songwriting and choral workshops in her home town of Guelph, Ontario.

“It is rare that one can find a singer/songwriter who nails guitar licks while at the same time dazzles you with emotive songwriting and perfectly pitched vocal prowess.”—Todd MacLean, THE GUARDIAN, Charlottetown, PEI

Guest Facilitators

Special Guest – May 2024

Coco Love Alcorn has had a deep, 30-year-long career of performing at festivals, theatres and other top venues all across Canada and beyond; singing, recording, exploring, collaborating and writing in many genres of music. She has toured with a rock band, led electronic projects, got her start as a teen in jazz, fronted a 10-piece cover pop band in Vancouver, has dabbled in hip-hop, country and even classical.

These days she is mostly known for her own special blend of soul and folk, and her love of improvisation. Coco has also been embraced by the community choir world in recent years for her simple and singable original songs. Many of her songs have been covered by choirs, and “The River” is a true grass roots choir hit. “The River” has been sung all over the world and has found its way into over 250 community choirs plus also church choirs, song circles, yoga retreats, climate rallies, living rooms, and campfire jam sessions.

Coco also leads a choir at home in Owen Sound, and has led singing/creativity workshops all across Canada and performed live with many choirs.

“Coco is the ultimate musical spark plug… an electrical connector through which the creative energy flows.” — James Keelaghan – Artist Director, Summerfolk

Special Guest – May 2024

Liv Cazzola is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, educator, and earth advocate from Guelph, Ontario. Whether it be performing and recording with her bands Tragedy Ann or The Lifers, teaching private music lessons, or sitting on the Music Declares Emergency Board of Directors, bringing out the best in others brings out the best in Liv. Through these musical projects Liv has been privileged to tour across Canada and internationally.

Her song “Thomas’ Lullaby” garnered her a Folk Music Ontario Songs from the Heart award in the Children’s Category. Her band The Lifers were Canadian Folk Music Award nominees in the Emerging Artist category, 2018. Liv’s vocal, organ, saw, ukulele and synth arrangements were featured in the two-time Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated album Salt (Moonfruits), 2024.

A frequent Women’s Music Weekend attendee and volunteer, we are pleased to have Liv with us this May in an official capacity as a music & song doula as well as our resident ukulele guru!

Special Guest – September 2024

Singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan is one of Canadian folk music’s true gems. She has kept away from the media circus and celebrity scene, preferring to live at home in rural Prince Edward Island. She’s worked diligently at her craft, releasing a series of remarkable, creative albums, culminating in the Juno Award-winning The Raven’s Sun from 2014, to go along with multiple East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Music PEI Awards.

More recently, she set aside her own songwriting to celebrate the life and legacy of her late father, Gene MacLellan. She recorded and released the album, If It’s Alright With You: The Songs of Gene MacLellan; produced a stage show by the same name; and an award winning documentary, The Song and the Sorrow—all in tribute to him. Gene MacLellan is recognized as one of Canada’s most celebrated songwriters with worldwide hits including, Snowbird made famous by Anne Murray, and Put Your Hand in the Hand by Ocean.

Catherine says, “I was born to do this, and my father taught me the ways of a songwriter. I first used songwriting as a way to find out who I was. Now with every song I hope to find truth in inspiration and light in the dark.”

She feels most at home on stage. That moment of connection with the audience is what matters most. “Perhaps we don’t have the same story but we all share the same emotions and many of the same experiences. Being able to share my songs and stories with people and finding that connection point is what it’s all about for me.”

“A lyricist wise beyond her years and with a voice like honey dusted with gold she shares the gentle darkness of her lyrics which are sometimes countrified, sometimes lamentful and sometimes tinged with joy.” — Boston Herald

Special Guest – September 2024

Treasa Levasseur  is a busy creative who wears many hats with enthusiasm. As a JUNO-nominated songwriter and seasoned sideperson, she has played almost every style imaginable, from folk, blues, and country to sunshine pop, heavy metal, and hip-hop. She is a multi-instrumentalist as well, playing piano, accordion, guitar, and mandolin.

She has released 4 albums over the course of her career as a front woman, though these days she is finding fresh inspiration in her work as a community music facilitator. She has designed and delivered classes and workshops for, among others, the Royal Conservatory of Music, ArtsRehab, and the Hamilton Music Collective, as well as being an in demand MC and pop-up choir leader. Treasa ran a successful early years music education program from 1999-2020, and helmed the Developing Artist Program at Folk Music Ontario for six years.

Elle est une fierte Franco-Ontarienne, and a proud Hamiltonian, and believes strongly in the power of personal expression as an agent of positive change. Also she loves rhyming and alliteration.

Treasa has recently been activated by the words of Margaret Killjoy: “What if we replaced gatekeepers with ushers and helped people find where they belong?”

Past Guest Facilitators

Special Guest – September 2023

Singer/Songwriter Dawn Tyler Watson is a multi-faceted and seasoned entertainer who has earned her place among Canada’s Blues elite. After graduating with a degree from Concordia University in Jazz Studies, she launched a career that has spanned over 2 decades, five continents, and numerous recordings.

Internationally renowned and decorated, Watson has won numerous Maple Blues Awards, including Entertainer, Songwriter and Female Vocalist of the Year. She took home the highly coveted 1st Place Band at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN in 2017, the first woman to receive the honour in 25 years!

Her latest and fifth album Mad Love, received the 2020 JUNO award for Blues Album of the Year, though she is equally at home in the Jazz arena. Her rich, expressive vocal style incorporates her many influences into a unique and versatile sound. She employs honest lyrics, potent vocals and a powerful stage presence to deliver performances that will have you crying one moment and laughing the next.

Watson is also committed to freeing the voice as the most authentic form of individual creative expression. She has been invited to give master’s classes and workshops on vocal performance and improvisation in Canada, the US, and Europe.

“Dynamic and utterly captivating…Watsons voice is a marvel.”
Peter Lindblad/Elmore Magazine

Special Guest – September 2023

Combine the pathos of Johnny Cash and the grit of Joan Jett, a dash of Lucille Ball, and you’ll understand the spirit that embodies Lori Yates’ music.

She is a legacy artist who has spent her life performing and writing alternative country music. She is considered a “pioneer of the genre” since bursting onto the scene in the late 80s on Queen St. West, Toronto, with her band Rang Tango.

Lori has released five independent CDs since recording for Sony Music Nashville and Virgin Music Canada. She has been awarded/nominated for Juno Award, Canadian Country Music Award, Polaris Prize (longer list), and two Lifetime Achievement Awards.

She has sung with Rick Danko, Jim Cuddy, and Greg Allman, written with Guy Clark & Colin Linden, met Johnny Cash and June Carter, jammed with Jerry Jeff Walker, was mentored by Tammy Wynette , and ate jelly beans with Roy Acuff.

Lori started her successful songwriting workshop “Creative Genius Songwriting” in 2013 to share her love of songwriting and fulfill a community need. Her passion for the written word was ignited in Mr. McLeod Grade 6 class, where she wrote a poem a day for the entire school year. Her lyrics “Concrete rises hits you like a kiss” from her Angels With Bloody Knees song is immortalized in Hamilton’s Gore Park.

She is finishing her latest recording, tentatively named “Beans on Toast” at Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed Studio and slowly writing her memoir, “Sunday Drunks; A Life Well Wasted in Music. She recently moved back to Toronto and is happily gigging like a maniac, including a monthly residency at the Cameron House with powerhouse band Hey Stella.

Special Guest – May 2023

Joni NehRita invites listeners to feel, move and think more with her socially charged Afro-Latin and Caribbean soul. Her knack for writing sun-drenched melodies and infectious grooves help her message of equity, social change and the cultivation of compassion to be received like a cool drink on a sweltering day.

Career highlights include twice being the guest vocalist of KW Symphony & Hamilton Philharmonic, playing lead roles in professional musical theatre productions of Hair and Obeah Opera and performing her original music on national live tv (Canada AM) and founding a pop choir called Guelph Glee Songbirds & playing on stages around the world including North America, Australia, Europe and The Middle East.

NehRita also spins her music and message into facilitation workshops. She is a TEDxED and keynote speaker, and regularly a guest lecturer at secondary and post-secondary institutions, covering topics such as vocal technique, improvisation, body percussion, songwriting and using music to change the world.

In January 2023 she completed studies with Brazilian collective, Música do Círculo and is building a Circle Music practice based on this powerful form of music making. 2023 will also see NehRita continuing to expand her choral project entitled “Songs For Community”—a collection of songs written and arranged for informal choirs & schools.

Special Guest – May 2023

Eve Goldberg sings music that draws honey from the rock of life. A compelling writer and interpreter, Eve’s watercolour voice and solid instrumental style has made her a favourite with audiences across Canada and the US. Her performances on guitar and ukulele are intimate and relaxed, moving effortlessly from folk classics to original gems. Since 1990, she has performed her trademark mixture of folk, blues, country, bluegrass, old time, and jazz in venues across Canada and the US, ranging from small house concerts to the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Along the way she’s earned the respect of legendary musicians like Peggy Seeger, Geoff Muldaur, and Penny Lang. She has released three CDs and performs with the folk/roots duo Gathering Sparks.

When she is not performing, Eve specializes in teaching music to adults in community settings. She especially enjoys teaching beginners and strives to create a supportive environment that encourages students at any skill level to learn and grow.

Eve currently leads the Parkdale Ukulele Group and the Ukulele Orchestra of Toronto (Ukes of T). For over twenty years she organized The Woods Music and Dance Camp, an adult folk music retreat in Ontario. She has performed and taught music classes at many adult music festivals and camps across Canada and the US, and is in demand as a workshop leader and performer at ukulele events near and far.

In 2021, Eve was honoured to receive the Folk Music Ontario Estelle Klein Award for her contributions to the folk community in Ontario.