Band Leader Bios

Cathy Wilcox

Cathy Wilcox studied piano in Bobcaygeon and with dear friend and mentor Edythe A. Holmes Meekin in Lindsay.  She completed an Honours Bachelor of Music, as well as a Bachelor of Education at Western University, mentored by Marian MacLennan, Deral Johnson and others.  Soon after graduating, she joined the vocal Renaissance octet Vox Humana, where a passion for music of the Renaissance was ignited.  In her career as a teacher, Cathy directed musicals, choral ensembles, concert and jazz bands, and her school music program was selected for special projects, such as the pilot of Blues in the Schools and Listen Up!  In her retirement, Cathy has taken up primitive rug hooking and French horn.

Cathy has guided the Ottawa New Horizons Band program as founding band leader since 2008 at Dominion Chalmers United Church, and continues to serve on the volunteer board of directors for the ONHB.  She is thankful for the many talented people who support the ONHB as volunteers, clinicians and band leaders.

Colin Williamson

Colin Williamson

Colin Williamson has been performing, teaching, coaching and leading ensembles in Ottawa and Indiana for almost four decades. He recently retired from the OCDSB after 30 years experience as a band director/music teacher.

As a bass trombonist he has performed with most of Ottawa’s finest orchestras, ensembles and military bands. He is a former member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the Terre Haute Symphony. As a member of the Canadian Forces (Regimental Band of the Governor General’s Foot Guards) he performed with all the Canadian Regular Force bands. In addition, Colin was a member of the prestigious Ceremonial Guard band for 5 years.He is currently a member of the Ottawa Wind Ensemble and the O.W.E Brass Ensemble.

Colin studied at the University of Ottawa, Indiana University and Queens University. In 1999 Colin was awarded a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence by the Right Honourable Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada.

In Colin’s teaching career he has helped countless thousands of young students learn to play musical instruments.

Felicia Persaud

Felicia Persaud received a Bachelor’s in Music, with a profile in Music Education, from the University of Ottawa in 2016, a Master’s of Arts in Music Theory in 2018, and a Bachelor of Education in 2020. During her time at uOttawa, she studied with members of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.  She is currently a High School Teacher and member of the Ottawa Pops Orchestra both playing Clarinet and on the administration team.

Felicia is involved with many different music groups in the city to bring music to a wide variety of people and audiences. She has volunteered with OrKidstra and at Featherston Drive P.S., where she ran small group lessons for students, assisted individual students, and directed the Jazz Ensemble, all while in the Canterbury High School Music Program. She started working with the ONHB in 2008 and has worked in varying capacities as volunteer, clinician and band leader.

Jean-Pierre Lafleur

Jean-Pierre Lafleur has been involved with community bands for over 35 years. His music director and performer experience spans many years, with concert bands, jazz bands, pit bands, and many other ensembles. He has received several awards and accolades for his support to community and youth music programs. Jean-Pierre has also been a member of the executive committees of the Sackville Community Band (Halifax, NS) and the Concert Band of Kanata. He has served as associate conductor of the 14 Wing Volunteer Military Band (Greenwood, NS), the Comal Community Band (New Braunfels, TX), the Hill Country Community Band (Wimberley, TX) and as instructor for a Royal Canadian Air Cadets Squadron Band. Jean-Pierre’s primary music focus continues to be in entertaining audiences all over. 

From starting his high school’s Jazz Band program, in his native Québec, to performing as lead trumpet with Big Band Ottawa and Aardvark Big Band, some 30 years later, J-P has been dedicated to keeping the music of traditional Big Bands alive and to promoting today’s Jazz Band music. Jean-Pierre is very grateful for the opportunity to lead Two Beats Ahead Jazz Band and carry on the great work of its previous band leaders. 

Along with leading Two Beats Ahead Jazz Band, with the ONHB, J-P is also the Music Director of the Barrhaven Community Concert Band, since 2016

Laurie HamiltonLaurie Hamilton Bio Picture

Laurie Hamilton (B. Mus, B. Ed, Phi Beta Mu, A.R.C.T) recently retired as Head of the Music Department within the specialized Arts program at Canterbury High School in Ottawa. She is equally at home working with instrumental and choral ensembles and is the recipient of many awards both personally and for excellence in her performing ensembles locally and nationally. Laurie directed all three of the choirs at Carleton University from 2015 until 2019, and has directed the Ottawa Carleton Choristers, the staff choir of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board for the past 31 years. Laurie also directs two choirs within the Salvation Army and plays in two brass bands. Laurie has travelled extensively to work with instrumental and choral specialists and is especially known for innovative programming.

Peter Archibald

Peter Archibald is retired from his position as the Commanding Officer / Director of Music of The Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces, and brings over 34 years of professional musical experience and expertise.    A prolific writer for the Canadian Forces, he has composed and arranged a wide variety of music for professional bands and has continued this passion supporting many community ensembles in the Ottawa area.   An avid jazz clarinetist, Peter fronts the Serenade & Swing combo, enjoys performing Jazz standards, classical repertoire as well as Big Band Era music.

Peter is currently the Musical Director of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board Secondary All Star Band and Assistant Director of the Centralaires Concert Band.

Peter is thrilled to be joining the Ottawa New Horizons Band and looks forward to the return to in-person music this fall.

Rocco Romeo

Rocco Romeo has been on the Ottawa music scene for the past 45 years performing in a wide variety of ensembles as a composer, arranger, conductor, vocalist, trumpeter and on the electric bass.  He was an original member of the legendary rock and roll band Bruce and the Burgers for 25 years and organized several Latin dance bands over the years. Rocco is currently the Music Director of the National Capital Concert Band and has formed a new rock band that performs music from the 70’s and 80’s.

Rocco is a retired music teacher and taught at Nepean High School with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board.  His high school concert and stage bands consistently performed challenging repertoire and were the recipients of numerous awards for their technical accuracy and blend. His commitment to live performance also led him to collaborate and produce several high school Broadway musicals and offered musicians insight into alternative styles of ensemble opportunities.

Rocco’s recipe for musical success is simple; mix in a melody, stir it with rhythm, pour it into your community, and have fun!


Sheila White

Sheila White (BMus) has been involved with Ottawa New Horizons since 2013 as a flute clinician and band director, and has taught chamber music workshops at ONHB intercity gatherings. A full-time freelance musician, she has performed with concert bands, orchestras and small ensembles across Canada, Ireland and in Germany. She has also played Irish flute in various Celtic bands including the Ottawa Ceili Band and Paddies on the Tundra. Well known for her work with the flute and harp duo of sheila&lucile, she has co-produced four albums of original arrangements for flute and harp.

From teaching pre-schoolers through to university students and seniors, Sheila was also Ottawa’s first Suzuki flute teacher. She directs flute choirs, and has instructed elementary and secondary music programs for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. In addition, she has maintained an active teaching studio since 1986. A strong supporter of school music and arts programming, she served as Chair of the OCDSB’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

Tessa MacLean

Tessa MacLean is a PhD student in Educational Studies at McGill University. Her research investigates intersections between instrumental music education, democratic theory, and educational philosophy. Tessa completed her B.Mus. and B.Ed. at the University of Ottawa, specializing in secondary instrumental music education. She also holds a M.Mus. in musicology from McGill University. Prior to moving to Montreal, Tessa taught music and social science in the OCDSB, including in Merivale High School’s first-rate arts department.

Tessa studied conducting with several prominent conductors including Drs. Mark Hopkins, David Currie, Mark Davis Scatterday, Gillian MacKay, and Prof. Alain Cazes. She has previously taught Instrumental Conducting at McGill University and will be teaching Methods in Music Education at McGill this winter. Tessa is committed to nurturing democratic citizenship and responsive musicianship in her ensembles and classrooms.

Tessa is privileged to have been involved with the Ottawa and Montreal New Horizons Band programs for the past 12 years. She is currently the president and co-director general of the MNHB and is absolutely thrilled to be returning to make music virtually with the ONHB!