Board of Governors


D. Mark Laing


Mark Laing was an art director in film & television for many years. He then taught filmmaking at NSCC and NSCAD, and later communications in the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie. He is a past member of National Executive Board of the Directors Guild of Canada.  Before going into film, Mark practiced conservation architecture and has a particular interest in Nova Scotia’s historic masonry buildings. He joined the MCPA Board in 2017 and became chair of its Building Committee. Two of his children studied music at the Conservatory and he is strongly committed to performing and visual arts education in the Maritimes.

Robert Gilbert​


Rob Gilbert holds a PhD in Pharmacology and Neurosciences and is an associate professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. For many years his research and advocacy has focused on the effects of mental disorders on individuals and their loved ones. Rob joined the MCPA Board of Governors in 2017, contributing expertise in non-profit fundraising, program, and community development.  Lacking artistic ability, Rob lives vicariously within the arts community by contributing his time and fundraising talents. He has been a lifetime supporter of various artistic communities and holds a fondness for musical and dance performance art.

Jules Chamberlain


Jules Chamberlain is a spirited community builder committed to supporting a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant performing arts community in Halifax – one that contributes significantly to the rich heritage and culture of the city.

With a passion for classical music, Jules is a dynamic member of the boards of the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, Cecilia Concerts, and Bravura Nova Scotia, and is actively involved with many working committees for these and other local non-profit organizations. A proud patron, his “Nice Moves” moniker can be regularly seen as a sponsor of many local presenters. 

Originally from New Brunswick, Jules’ love of the ocean brought him back to the east coast just over ten years ago after a long stint in the Ottawa area, with bouts in Montréal, Toronto, Boston, and Paris. Now a leading REALTOR® in Halifax, Jules has broad interests and has also owned and operated various success independent businesses.

Kurt MacLeod​


Kurt works as a Senior Manager with Deloitte’s Financial Advisory practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia and specializes in debt advisory, corporate restructuring and corporate insolvency.

Growing up on Prince Edward Island next door to his grandmother, a retired high school music and piano teacher, music was always a significant part of Kurt’s life. Since picking up his first violin at the age of six, Kurt has performed extensively in Canada and abroad. His professional music career began in 2007 when he joined the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra. Since moving to Halifax in 2009, Kurt has continued to seek opportunities to participate in, and grow the local music community, including performing with Nova Sinfonia and other various local group. Kurt’s connection to the Maritime Conservatory for the Performing Arts began in the early 2000’s as a participant in the Kiwanis Music Festival and continues today in his current role as Treasure.

Janet Bradbury

Dean of Dance

Janet’s early training in ballet was here in Nova Scotia, followed by studies and performance experience in the UK and US. She began teaching at the Maritime Conservatory in 1995 as a student in the Teacher Training Diploma, and upon graduating in 1996 joined the Dance Faculty at The Conservatory. She is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (Teacher Training Certificate 1996, Teaching Diploma 1998), a Licentiate with the Canadian Dance Teachers Association in Ballet and Stage, and Examiner of Classical Ballet. Janet is also a licensed Silver Swans® Ballet instructor. Teaching all ages and levels for over 25 years, Janet has trained students from Pre-School to Solo Seal. Her latest passion is adaptive dance for dancers of all abilities.

Mark Buckrell

After 20 years at sea becoming a navigation officer, Mark came ashore in the late 1990’s to get his bachelor of computer science at Dalhousie University. He then worked until his retirement in the research and development department of a local original equipment manufacturer with global reach.
Although growing up hearing his mother playing piano, often accompanied by his father’s rich bass vocals, he came to his own appreciation of the performing arts through friends in the last decade or so, often at events and concerts at Lilian Piercey Hall.

Christopher Hopgood

Born in Halifax in 1947. Graduated from St. Mary’s University in 1973 and entered the investment business and was an investment advisor at ScotiaMcleod for 40 years. Formerly married and has three children from the marriage. My mother loved classical music, my father would rather play golf, go fishing or skiing. She would tune in to CBC on Saturday afternoon and listen to the Metropolitan Opera from New York City. Took voice lessons from Jason Parkhill at the Conservatory for a few years starting in about 2010, it was then the I truly appreciated the Maritime Conservatory for the Performing Arts, watching the kids come in with their musical instruments, full of energy and excitement, and watching the students, adult and young ones at the student recitals was great. Member of a number of choirs, Nova Voce, Jubilate, Cantabile Truro, and sang Beethoven’s 9th with the Nova Scotia Symphony choir.

Sibylle Marquardt

Dean of Music

A native of Germany, Sibylle Marquardt moved to Canada in 1997. As a professional flutist Ms.Marquardt’s orchestral career began at the early age of 23 with orchestras such as the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and she continues to perform and tour regularly with Trio d’Argento and the Argento Collective. In 1998 she joined the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music, is a member of the College of Examiners and a sought after adjudicator at music festivals. With her diverse portfolio as an arts manager, Ms.Marquardt continues to work towards promoting the value of arts education and its impact on communities.

Christine McCulloch

Christine retired from the practice of law after a thirty-five year legal career primarily with the provincial Department of Justice. Over that time she practiced in many areas of law including legislative drafting, legal writing, health, privacy, access to information and election law. She held the position of Director, Legal Services in the Department of Justice before becoming Chief Electoral Officer of Nova Scotia.

During the last seven years of her legal career as Nova Scotia’s Chief Electoral Officer she undertook the reorganization of the provincial elections office and spearheaded the consultative review and reform of Nova Scotia’s electoral law and processes addressing such issues as independence of election services from the political process and a major revision of Nova Scotia’s Elections Act.

Volunteerism has been an important interest of Christine’s throughout her adult life. She has volunteered with several different and varied organizations particularly enjoying organizational governance and the challenges of leadership. She has a wonderful, supportive family and enjoys hiking, indoor and outdoor gardening, working with textiles and music. The skillset her legal background and experience has given her is what brought her to the Conservatory.

John Murray

Born in New Brunswick but lived in Nova Scotia for over 50 years. John worked for the Department of Lands and Forestry for 32 years as a Forester. Retired in 2017 and moved over to the Conservatory. His long-standing love of music reflects the fact that during his formative years his mom sang as a guest soloist at numerous churches in Metro and Cape Breton. He studied piano for several years plus learned how to play bagpipes in his younger years.

André Pretzel

Faculty Representative

I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, the largest urban center in Brazil, where I worked for over 10 years as a professional musician and music teacher. I have a Bachelor of Music with a major in Viola from Sao Paulo University, the most prominent educational institution in Brazil, and a Graduate Certificate in Music Education from Faculdade Cantareira. As a string teacher, I was on faculty of two of the biggest social music programs (SESC and Guri Project), whose goal is to bring musical education and culture to underprivileged Brazilians.
I moved to Halifax/NS in 2016 to teach Suzuki violin, and am teaching students from early ages to adults at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.