Facilitators

The founders of Women’s Music Weekend—Linda McLean, Jane Lewis, & Katherine Wheatley—have decades of experience writing songs, performing, touring, and facilitating workshops for people of all ages. Together they’ve created 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 may have a guest facilitator (or two!), bringing their own skills and areas of expertise to share with the group.

Founders

Award-winning, critically acclaimed singer songwriter Linda McLean has released four albums to rave reviews across Europe and North America. Her vocal stylings and finely crafted tunes are compared to Joni Mitchell, Lucinda Williams among others, and our own CBC said she’s part of the holy trinity of Canadian songwriters, a trio that includes Kathleen Edwards and Sarah Harmer. She won the Atlantic Writer’s Award in Creative Non-Fiction in 2016 and a recipient of the WFNS Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program. Linda has a Masters Ed in holistic arts learning, a professional background in theatre, and is a certified yoga instructor. She was Festival Director and co-owner of Muskoka Sound Music Festival, and founder and host of Muskoka Song Night. In her spare time, she moonlights as lead singer in the rockin’ Linda McLean all star Band. A major talent with songs that both entertain and challenge an audience, McLean justifiably finds herself bracketed alongside the very best of today’s singer songwriters. Linda is currently working on her non-fiction book, “The Importance of Being Important.”

 “…these tunes have the ache and retrospective wisdom of a dame in her prime, and McLean’s unafraid to root her writing in specificity or add political heft…”—SL, Music Writer, Toronto

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 workshops on harmony singing, finding your voice, vocal meditation, vocal improvisation, and more. Jane is a published 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 as a solo artist and in the folk duo Gathering Sparks, which was nominated for a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year. Their new album All That’s Real will be released in October 2019 with Borealis Records.

“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 in 2020

Special Guest – May 2020

Joni NehRita is a singer-songwriter based in Guelph, ON. She studied jazz vocals & arranging at Humber College & The Shelly Berger Music School. She studied vocal technique at the late Bill Vincent’s Voices & Company. NehRita performs regularly, and her expansive career also includes professional theatre, choir directing, music education, arranging and touring as a solo artist & side person throughout North America, Australia, Germany, the UK, France & the Middle East.

She is currently completing her 4th full length album, “Love & Protest.” It’s a concept album about social justice, equality, race and exploring the juxtaposition between love being “the answer” and anger being the fuel. The new album finds NehRita switching from keys to guitar as her main instrument and relies heavily on percussion & rhythms found in her Afro-Caribbean roots.

Special Guest – September 2020

Coco Love Alcorn is a truly gifted singer, songwriter and performer with an extraordinary ability to lift spirits, engage in the moment and connect with audiences. Coco writes songs with simple, singable melodies and lyrics that resonate deeply and offer a sense of hope.

Her song “The River” (Sept 2016) has been sung by hundreds of choirs and singing groups around the world. This support sparked Coco’s passion with community singing resulting in multiple collaborations, concerts and workshops with choirs across Canada and beyond! All this lead to Coco forming her own choir ‘The Wonderland Singers’.

Coco’s career has spanned 25 years, 10 albums, multiple cross-Canada tours and award nominations. Coco’s latest album ‘Rebirth was released in Oct 2019 to rave reviews.