Band Leader Bios

adrian-cosstickAdrian Cosstick

Adrian Cosstick studied music education at McGill University in Montreal and completed his teacher training in Christchurch and Auckland, New Zealand.  One of Adrian’s first experiences conducting a large ensemble was with the McGill Symphonic Band Club, which he established to provide students in all faculties the opportunity to keep up their music.  The ensemble continues to this day.

Along with directing an ONHB band, Adrian plays E-flat clarinet with the Ottawa Community Concert Band and trombone with Ottawa-Carleton District School Board school bands, where he teaches geography, French and music.  He is also Artistic Director and founder of the Ottawa Woodwind Project, an ever-evolving group which brings together flutes and single- and double-reed instruments.  He loves working with the Ottawa New Horizons family!  When we are performing for seniors, hospitals and cultural festivals, or as the band musicians watch attentively as he conducts (because they are watching the beat, of course), he feels very fortunate to be part of the tradition of community music-making.

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

Felicia Persaud

Felicia Persaud received her Bachelor’s in Music, with a profile in Music Education, from the University of Ottawa in 2016 and her Master’s of Arts in Music Theory in 2018. During her time at uOttawa, she studied with many members from the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.  She is currently completing a B. Ed in the Intermediate/Senior Division to teach in schools.

Felicia began studying music with Cathy Wilcox at Featherston Drive Public School and has been involved in music ever since. 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.

Laurel Ralston

Laurel Ralston completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa and has enjoyed a varied performing career as a trumpeter, flutist, accompanist, and conductor. She was honoured in December 2017 to join the Nelson Choral Society as a trumpet soloist for two performances of Karl Jenkins’s Stella Natalis. Laurel performed for seven seasons with the Symphony of the Kootenays, recorded and toured with The Jazz Council, and founded and toured with the Kootenay Brass Quintet. She served as director of the Kimberley Community Band, Kimberley Community Choir, and Kimberley United Church Choir, and as an accompanist and brass coach at Selkirk Secondary School. In addition to performing, Laurel coordinated two editions of the Kimberley Arts Festival, served five terms as president of the Kimberley Arts Council, and founded the successful Jazz at Centre 64 concert series. Laurel returned to Ottawa in 2016 to pursue a PhD at the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture at Carleton University.

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-whiteSheila 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. Her background includes concert band, orchestral and small ensemble performances 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 Ottawa Flute and Harp duo, she has co-produced three 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 is a member and Past Chair of the OCDSB’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

cathy-wilcoxCathy 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.