Band Leader Bios

paul-behnePaul Behne

Paul Behne was born and raised here in Ottawa. After studying piano for a few years, he began studying the drum set in 1995 and played in orchestras, big bands and rock combos. Also developing an interest in fitness, Paul went on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa in 2007. Paul began studying with renowned Ottawa drum set teacher Jeff Asselin in 2010. In 2011, Paul moved to Toronto to study at Humber College. There he learned from drumming heavyweights Lorne Nehring, Mark Kelso, Ben Ball and Paul Delong. He was also fortunate enough to share the stage with Pat LaBarbera, Kevin Turcotte and the New York Voices. Following this, Paul received a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto.

Returning to Ottawa in 2015, Paul has been active in the music community as a band leader within New Horizons and as volunteer director of the seniors choir at the Carlington Community Health Centre.  Paul lives in Hintonburg with his wonderful wife and their two cats.

angela-blackwellAngela Blackwell

Angela is from Harrogate in Yorkshire. She studied clarinet with David Campbell at Dartington College of Arts, where she completed a BA (Hons) in music. She continued her studies with John Fuest at Birmingham Conservatory, completing a GBSM along with two ABSM’s in performing and teaching. She settled in Bristol, playing with the Bristol Philharmonic and Bristol Opera Company and freelancing in the many theatres in the area. She taught at Bristol University and in private and public schools in and around the city.

She moved to Ottawa in 1996. She continues her playing in Divertimento Orchestra and The fiVe wind quintet, as well as playing chamber music and giving solo recitals. Along with teaching every age of student at home, she has been a part of the Ottawa New Horizons team since its beginning in 2008, beginning with coaching the clarinets. In 2014 she took on the role of director, first with Elgin Encores and then with Rideau Cadences.  Angela is thrilled to be part of the amazing New Horizons programme…it’s never too late to learn to play an instrument!

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-Francois Fauteux

Jean-Francois (JF) is the current Band Director at Nepean High School and is a founding member of the Dovercourt Band Camp. He has more than 30 years experience as Band Director and Music teacher at grade 3-12 levels.

He has received the Ottawa Carleton District School Board Fine Arts Recognition Award, both at the Elementary and Secondary levels & the Majic 100’s Golden Apple Award. In 2004 his elementary school wind ensemble won the Capital Region MusicFest’s Most Outstanding Concert Band Award. His school Jazz bands have previously won the CRMF’s Most Outstanding Jazz Ensemble Award and for the fourth time in the last 10 years. He is also a three-time nominee for the OCRI Capital Educators’ Award.

JF is also the recipient of the  Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s 2015-16 Director Citation Award.

Heather Flinn

Heather currently works the cocktail party circuit as a freelance Harpist and can frequently be sighted next to the chocolate fountain, under the arbor, or beside the signing table at garden parties and weddings. Throughout most of the Anthropocene she worked as a high school music teacher for the Ottawa-Carleton Board. Every Wednesday night she can be found having way too much fun and playing the trumpet at the Nepean Concert Band.


Laurie Hamilton

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.  Laurie currently directs all three choirs at Carleton University, as well as the Ottawa Carleton Choristers, the staff choir of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and is very active within the musical forces of the Salvation Army. Laurie has travelled extensively to work with instrumental and choral specialists.

Kyle Nurse

Kyle Nurse has been a music educator in the Ottawa area since December 2014 and has shared his expertise with the New Horizon’s Band organization since January 2015 as a percussion clinician for several bands.  He is currently teaching with the OCDSB at Colonel By Secondary School, where he leads the Grade 9 concert bands, a beginner jazz band and a percussion ensemble.  Kyle’s education has taken him all across North America: he earned his Bachelor of Music Education at the University of Western Ontario, completed his Masters of Music at Oklahoma City University, and returned to the University of Toronto for his Bachelor of Education.

Kyle’s primary instrument is percussion and he is a top local drummer who plays any genre of music on the drum set, but especially enjoys jazz, rock, and musical theater.  Kyle is excited to be leading the Jumpin’ Jazz Band with Cathy Wilcox.

felicia-persaud-wFelicia Persaud

Felicia Persaud received her Bachelor’s in Music, with a profile in Music Education, from the University of Ottawa in 2016. 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 an MA in Music Theory.

Felicia began studying music with Catherine 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 for 2 years, all while a busy student 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.

gordon-taitGordon Tait

Gordon Tait (ATCL, RMSM) is an Ottawa based oboist, conductor, composer and multi-instrumentalist. Gordon studied oboe under Stephen West at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, later joining the British Army as HM Scots Guards principal oboe. He regularly performs on oboe with the Governor General’s Foot Guards and Ottawa Chamber Orchestra. Fuelled by a love of diverse musicianship, Gordon performs Celtic music with “Jiggs Boson” and is often seen surrounded by instruments in community productions.

Gordon runs a small but very successful oboe studio from his home and enjoys leading clinics, workshops and adjudicating in local schools and festivals. He composes original works and custom arrangements for concert bands, choirs and school groups. Gordon has been conducting with ONHB since 2014 and has learned a great deal from the Rideau Cadences band. He counts himself lucky to have been directed by some wonderful musicians and hopes to share that passion and knowledge with the musicians of ONHB.

sheila-whiteSheila White

With over 30 years experience as a musician and teacher, Sheila’s background includes concert band and small ensemble performances across Canada and Ireland, orchestral training in Germany, Irish flute studies in Ireland and Suzuki flute pedagogy in Canada and the US. She has performed as principal flute in a national military band, with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Silver Flute Ensemble, the Canadian Centennial Choir, various Celtic ensembles and with the Ottawa Flute & Harp duo, with which she produced two recordings.

Sheila has taught pre-schoolers, university students and seniors, flute choirs of mixed ages, and was Ottawa’s first Suzuki flute teacher. A strong supporter of school music and arts programming, Sheila is a member and Past Chair of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s (OCDSB) Advisory Committee on the Arts. She has also instructed elementary and secondary music programs and clinics for the OCDSB, and directed a choir and concert bands. She is delighted to be directing one of Ottawa New Horizon’s Concert Bands.

cathy-wilcoxCathy Wilcox

Cathy Wilcox began piano lessons in Bobcaygeon, and continued her studies with Edythe 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 at Dominion Chalmers United Church since its founding in 2008, and is thankful for the many talented people who have supported the ONHB. The ONHB has grown beyond her wildest expectations, and she feels very blessed to continue to share her love of music with so many enthusiastic new ONHB friends.