Brenda Arrowsmith, President

Brenda retired from the Cambrian College School of Music in 2012, after more than 30 years as head of wind instruction and theory studies. She was a principal player with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, and served as their rehearsal conductor for many years. Brenda is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, where she studied Theory and Composition. She also attended the Banff School of Fine Arts. In addition to the clarinet, she is a talented pianist with an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto diploma in performance.

Throughout the years, Brenda Arrowsmith has been in demand across Northern Ontario as a wind clinician and music festival adjudicator. She has also made an impressive contribution to a number of local organizations, including the Sudbury Symphony, the Sudbury Youth Orchestra, the Northern Ontario Honour Festival Concert Band, Opera for a Cause, and the Sudbury and District Pipe Band. She also continues to act as a resource to local teachers.

 In 2006 Brenda was a recipient of the President’s Award of Excellence from Cambrian College. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to music in the community, she has also received four volunteer awards from the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, was a recipient of the YWCA’s Women of Distinction award in the field of the Arts in 2012, and in 2018, a co-recipient along with her son, Dr. Jamie Arrowsmith, of the Joan Mantle Music Trust Community Award. Brenda serves on the board of the Sudbury Youth Orchestra, as well as the City of Lakes Music Society.

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Charlene Biggs, Artistic Director

Dr. Charlene Biggs gave her first solo recital at the age of 11, and made her professional debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at age 14. She received her Doctorate in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music, and her Masters in Performance and Piano Literature from Goldsmiths College, University of London, England. She has performed extensively in Great Britain as a soloist and collaborative artist, appearing at such prestigious venues as the Royal Festival Hall, the Purcell Room, Greenwich Festival, Glasgow University, The National Theatre and the Barbican Arts Centre. She has also performed in France, Holland, Austria, Italy, Canada and the USA. Dr. Biggs was Assistant Chair of Piano in the Community Division of the Eastman School of Music and held faculty positions in both the Professional and Community Schools of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, where she was also the National Academic Advisor. She recently retired as Director of Piano Studies and Music History at Cambrian College in Sudbury Ontario. She continues as a Senior Examiner for the Royal Conservatory, and is much sought-after as an adjudicator and pedagogy clinician across Canada. Dr. Biggs has written nationally-published pedagogical articles, and continues a hectic schedule as a solo and collaborative artist.

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Danielle Braney, Treasurer

Born and raised in Québec, Danielle received a Diploma in Psychology from the CEGEP de Maisonneuve in Montréal in 1971. She later obtained the Accredited Appraiser Designation from the Appraisal Institute of Canada in 1995 and an Honours Bachelor Degree in Economics in 2009.

Danielle retired in June 2016 as Director of Asset Services for the City of Greater Sudbury where she was employed for over 20 years. Hired as the Real Estate Appraiser in 1995, she later held the positions of Real Estate Coordinator, Manager of Asset Services, Acting Director of Solid Waste and Director of Fleet Services. As Manager and Director, Danielle prepared and managed multi-million-dollar budgets.

In preparation for retirement and to fulfill her musical dream, Danielle started taking cello lessons in 2009 and piano lessons in 2015.

Retirement was also a time to give back. Danielle was instrumental in the birth of the City of Lakes Music Society and continues to support the organization by volunteering her time to further its on-going development.

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Charlotte Leonard, Director

Charlotte Leonard, a native Sudburian, is a recently retired Professor Emeritus of Music at Laurentian University, where she taught music history and low brass, serving at times as departmental chair, for over 35 years. She received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from The University of Western Ontario, a Master of Music in Trombone Performance from the University of Michigan, and both a Master of Art and a Ph.D. in Musicology from Duke University.

Dr. Leonard has published two score anthologies of early baroque music. The first is entitled “Seventeenth-Century Lutheran Church Music with Trombones” and the second “Selections from the Gespräche (1655-56) with Capellen” by Andreas Hammerschmidt, both for A-R Editions, as well as articles in various musicological journals. Her book “The Early Trombone: A Catalogue of Music,” which she co-edited, has recently been published by Brepols (2023). She plays principal trombone with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, the North Bay Symphony Orchestra, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and occasionally the Sault Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Leonard is a founding member of the Northern Brass Quartet, the Northern Brass Choir, and Triple Play with Brenda Arrowsmith and Dr. Charlene Biggs. She is also the recipient of The Joan Mantle Music Trust Community Award for Music Education. This is her third year on serving on the board of the City of Lakes Music Society.

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Paul McNeil, Vice-President

Paul was born in Sudbury and has remained here. He completed his RN diploma through Cambrian College. After graduating he began work at the then Laurentian Hospital, completing his Bachelor of Science in nursing through Laurentian University.
Paul has completed his 30 year career as a nurse.
He is an amateur pianist and a member of Bel Canto choir. He plays piano at Glad Tidings. Paul has a vision to grow the music community in Sudbury.

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Arianna Verbree, Director & Social media/Website

Arianna is a Double Bassist, multi-instrumentalist, and writer living in Sudbury, Ontario. After starting her musical life in punk rock bands in high school, she began to study music as a last-minute decision that has reverberated throughout her life. Described as a “passionate performer” by her former teachers, She has been a visible feature stage right for the Sudbury Symphony and the North Bay symphony, where she has been sitting as the Principal Bass for many years. 

She has a Diploma in Music Performance from Cambrian College, a Bachelor’s Degree in music from the University of Ottawa, a Master’s Degree in Music Performance from the University of Akron, and an Artist’s Certificate in Performance of Early Music from the University of Toronto. Her teachers have included Dr. Jamie Arrowsmith, Dr. Vernon Regehr, David Currie, John Geggie, Sue Yelanjian, and Joëlle Morton, and she has studied at musical festivals under Ali Yazdanfar, Richard Myron, Meredith Johnson, and Joel Quarrington. She has performed in ensembles under the baton of Jean-Francois Rivest, Kent Nagano, Jeanne Lamon, and Ivars Taurins.

In her free time, Arianna continues to play popular music, performing with the Hilltoppers Jazz Band throughout their 2024 fall-winter season, and recording solo indie music as Grayce Aromantic.

Her recent season highlights include performances with the Deep River Symphony, the Timmins Symphony, the Sudbury Symphony, and the North Bay Symphony, as well as a recording of a new music work, “The Seasons” by Justin Saulnier, to be premiered in Fall 2024.

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Sylvie Wallis, Secretary & Social media/Website

Born and raised in Sturgeon Falls, returning to Northern Ontario to live in Sudbury in 1992, Sylvie has worked as a Clinical and Educational Audiologist for 35 years.  She has become increasingly involved with classical and orchestral music through her child’s interest in violin and viola.  She was treasurer for the Sudbury Youth Orchestra from 2012-2014 and has remained an avid supporter of the SYO’s activities. As an adult violin learner, she appreciates the importance of music performance and appreciation for all ages, and the beauty of ensemble orchestrations. 

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Anne Zenker, Director & Social media/Website

Anne has lived in Sudbury since 1958. She worked as a piano teacher for 28 years until 1998.

Anne is currently a member of the Bel Canto Chorus and plays violin in the Sudbury Youth Orchestra.  In her spare time, she is also the organist at New Apostolic Church, Sudbury and has been a regular volunteer at Health Sciences North since 1985.