Studied music at the University of British Columbia, and then Broadcast Journalism at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. In October 1983, she moved to Halifax to begin a career with the CBC. For three yea rs, she was the news anchor on “Maritimes Tonight”, and then during the next 11 years hosted 2 CBC Radio network shows, “Weekender” and “Music Alive”. For the last 15 years of her career, until her retirement in 2012, she worked as host and producer of the regional arts show, “Connections”, and produced a daily arts report for “Mainstreet”. She continues to emcee 15 to 20 community events each year. In November 2012, in recognition of her community service, she received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.
Kurt works as a financial consultant 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 Ca nada and abroad. His professional music career began in 2007 when he joined the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra, a position he still holds today. 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
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 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. In his spare time Rob owns and operates the Indian Harbour General Store, one of Canada’s oldest mercantile.
D. Mark Laing
D. Mark Laing has been a designer and art director in film & television since 1990, and from 2006 – 2016 taught in the Screen Arts Program at NSCC. He continues to be a sessional lecturer at NSCAD in the Media Arts Division, and at Dalhousie University in the Faculty of Computer Science. His credits in television include numerous dramas, comedies and children’s series. Before going into film, Mark practiced architecture in Halifax and Toronto. Two of his children studied music (violin and piano) at the MCPA and he is strongly committed to performing and visual arts education in the Maritimes.
Retired Chartered Professional Accountant who worked in public practice, primarily in audit, accounting, taxation and business advisory services for a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations. All three of her children participated in Kiwanis Festivals and piano exams at MCPA.
Recently retired after a 37 year public service career in the provincial public service, her most recent position was as Chief Electoral Officer for the Province of Nova Scotia. She held that position for 7 years during which time she headed up the rewriting of the new Provincial Elections Act and established the first independent provincial elections office in Nova Scotia. Her other government experience included extensive work in governance, regulatory and corporate affairs and legislative drafting. She has three grown & successful children, is a lifelong fiber artist and devoted gardener. She continues to work in the field of legal and legal editorial writing.
Edith Hancock - MCPA Association
Edie (Edith) Hancock joined the Board of Governors of the MCPA in 2006 for approximately 4 years. She volunteered after that period with fundraising for The Conservatory for several years and joined the MCPA Association 3 years ago and is currently their President. Other volunteer work includes being a trained mediator with NS Department of Justice(5 yrs), Board member with Youth Alternative Society (5 yrs) including a term as President, a member of the Professional Standards Committee with NS Real Estate Association. She is a successful Realtor in Halifax with over 30 years experience.
Susanne Brown - MCPA Faculty Association
Bio to follow shortly
Tirene Padget - Dance Faculty
Bio to follow shortly
Andre Pretzel - Music Faculty
Bio to follow shortly
Jack Bennet (Ex-Officio)
Jack Bennet is an established professional arts administrator and choral conductor based in Halifax (K’jipuktuk), Nova Scotia. Jack has a broad range of experience working with, and leading projects for, individuals in the cultural sector.
This includes working with marginalized communities through Phoenix Youth Programs; artistic collaborations with artists such as Meaghan Smith and Dave Gunning; and governance roles with the Nova Scotia Choral Federation and the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.
Today, he is a director with Choirs for Change Association, and the conductor and co-host of The Big Sing. A graduate of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the University of Cambridge, and Dalhousie University, Jack has presented at various forums about the intersections between the arts and community sustainability, as well as his time working with music communities in rural Mozambique. This has included keynote presentations at Podium (Canada’s national choral conference), Dalhousie’s College of Sustainability Thursday night lecture series, and at NSCAD University.
John Murray (Ex-Officio)
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
Diana Rutherford (Ex-Officio)
Originally from Owen Sound, Ontario, Diana Rutherford started her dancing career in both Ballet and Highland Dance. Once a highland competitor representing Canada at the Cowal Highland Games world championships in Scotland, Diana continued her dancing career in Ballet and Highland, performing across Canada and the United States. Diana began her teaching career as a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School Teacher Training Program and York University. Accredited ballet teacher holding her Licentiate teaching qualifications and Advance 2 with the Cecchetti Society of Canada, Advance 2 with the Royal Academy of Dance, Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance and Associate ISTD National Branch. Diana has been a faculty member of the Maritime Conservatory for over 14 years working as a ballet instructor, choreographer and more recently holds the position of Dean of Dance.