Carmen So – Junior Choir Camp

Carmen So is known for her passion, creativity, and innovation in the music learning process. Ms. So is the founding director of Kokopelli’s children’s choir, Kikimasu, which was featured in a spotlight concert at the prestigious national PODIUM Conference in 2016. She has also taught with the Edmonton Public School Board for 17 years and is currently the music specialist at Rutherford School. She attained both her Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education combined degrees (2004) and a Master of Education degree specializing in Elementary Music (2015) from the University of Alberta. Ms. So holds a Level III certification in Orff Schulwerk and Kodály and is working towards certification in Dalcroze. In the summer of 2014, she had the privilege of studying choral conducting with renowned conductor and composer, Henry Leck. As a lifelong learner, she is always searching for opportunities to learn and adores all things involving creative pedagogical practices. She is inspired by working with musicians from all walks of life and feels blessed to have such a wonderful career as a music educator. Ms. So is thrilled to be leading the Nova Scotia Junior Choir Camp this year!

Scott Leithead- Youth Choir Camp

Scott Leithead is the founder and Artistic Director of Edmonton’s Korora Choir Association and TIME Association. He has been invited to conduct provincial and state honour choirs on twenty-six occasions and he has presented workshops in North America and beyond. Notable appearances include: adjudicating the Tampere International Festival in Finland; conducting the 2013, 2015-2019, 2023 Ellison Canadian Honour Choir. He has adjudicated both the ACCC National Competition for Amateur Canadian Choirs and the Kathaumixw International Choir Festival (2014, 2016, 2023). Under his direction, Korora was the winner of both the 2015 CBC National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs and both the 2015 and 2016 Canadian National Music Competition.  In the summer of 2019, Korora was invited to perform at the IFCM World Choral Expo in Portugal, where they represented Canada on the world stage.  Also in 2019, Korora was featured on an episode of CTV’s “The Amazing Race Canada”.

Scott has a passion for music from southern Africa, and he has been invited to work with choirs in South Africa and Namibia on numerous occasions. In 2008–2009, Scott was on sabbatical in Namibia, where he worked with the Mascato Youth Choir and many other choirs in southern Africa. Scott’s passion for innovative and unique choral music experiences has shaped the direction of the Korora Choir Association. In February 2023 he conducted the ISSEA Mass Choir in Johannesburg South Africa featuring international schools from across the African continent.

In 2024, he will conduct the 40th Anniversary Manitoba Sings Adult Choir, the Ellison Canadian Honour Choir (Toronto), the Eastman Honour Choir and the Nova Scotia Youth Choir.  He will also adjudicate the 2024 Ontario Vocal Festival.
Scott is a longtime member of the advisory committee for the Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival and the Edmonton and Whistler Cantando Festivals.

Scott was awarded Choir Alberta’s top honour, the Richard S. Eaton Award, in 2015. He also received Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence award in 2016. He has also been awarded the Syncrude Award for Innovative Direction.

Brainerd Blyden-Taylor – Adult Choir Camp

D. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor is the Founder, Artistic Director and conductor of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canada’s first professional chamber choir dedicated to the creation, performance and preservation of Afrocentric music of all styles. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, Mr. Blyden-Taylor immigrated to Canada in 1973. He founded The Chorale in 1998, in response to a musical void in Canada; there had never before been a professional ensemble dedicated to the diffusion of Afrocentric choral music. The response that The Chorale has received in Canada and the United States since its inception has certainly given credence to Mr. Blyden-Taylor’s vision.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor has conducted several university, youth, and concert choirs, most notably a 25-year tenure with The Orpheus Choir of Toronto. He also works frequently as a guest conductor, having appeared with organizations such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Hannaford Street Silver Band, The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Toronto Chamber Choir, Ontario Youth Choir, Nova Scotia Youth Choir, and the Central Manitoba Youth Choir. He has also worked as artistic director and advisor for the Algoma Festival Choir, the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Chatham-Kent Roots Festival. He launched The North Star Festival in August 2017, in partnership with the Yale Alumni Chorus and the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor has served as a member of the teaching staff of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and the Faculty of Music, Queen’s University. He has served as a Master Teacher with the Toronto Board of Education, coaching teachers and students in conducting and choral technique, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from York University in Toronto for his contribution to education.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor is also in frequent demand as a Clinician, Adjudicator and Lecturer both nationally and internationally, and is an active and dedicated church musician.