Meet Our Teachers

All of the teachers at West Side Music Together are passionate about music - and more importantly about supporting your child's musical journey. During their classes, they help create a fun, informal, musically rich community that supports the varied learning styles of both children and adults. All of our teachers have successfully completed Music Together® teacher training workshop developed by the Center for Music and Young Children , Princeton, New Jersery, and many have participated in Music Together's Advanced Certification Program from Princeton's Music Together Center For Music and Young Children for outstanding achievement in teaching and articulating the program. Teachers receive ongoing support and development through yearly songs workshops, skills workshops, certification training, teachers' newsletters, and an international exchange of ideas through the Music Together Forum.

Katherine Deane

Teacher and Centre Director

Katherine Deane has been a teacher of drama, music, and dance and a favorite nanny to children of all ages throughout her life. She began her career in the performing arts in 1988 as a dancer with the Alberta Ballet and went on to pursue her love of dancing, singing, and acting in both the Toronto and International Touring productions of "The Phantom of the Opera". She has also performed in various other musicals across Canada, including "Fiddler on the Roof", "My Fair Lady", "The Secret Garden" and "A Christmas Carol-The Musical". Katherine’s formal music education includes classical studies in piano, voice, and music theory as well as having completed her Bachelor of Music Therapy. She has a private Music Therapy practice specializing in work with children newborn through adolescence. In 2009, she was awarded the Certification Level 1 qualification from Princeton's Music Together Center For Music and Young Children for outstanding achievement in teaching and articulating of the program.

   
Donalyn Simpson

Teacher

Donalyn started taking her daughter, Charlotte, to Music Together® classes in the summer of 2006 and she loved it so much – the diverse music, the warm community of families, the exercise (!), the fun – that she decided to become a Music Together teacher. There was always singing in Donalyn’s home growing up. Her mother sang in the church choir and Donalyn loved to sing along, picking up the harmonies. Christmas caroling is a favourite tradition in her home. A native Vancouverite, Donalyn has a long history of singing in choirs, both through her school years where she studied under John Trepp at Magee High School and as an adult in community choirs. She finds great joy participating in a community of singing voices. Growing up, Donalyn also studied recorder and clarinet and pursued classes in musical theatre. She loves to dance too and, though it’s been many years since her last dance recital, she still remembers some of the tap dancing moves! Today, Donalyn devotes herself to bringing joy and discovery to her daughter through play and, of course, music. “We’re always singing at home!” She looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm with you. In 2010, she was awarded the Certification Level 1 qualification from Princeton's Music Together Center For Music and Young Children for outstanding achievement in teaching and articulating of the program.
 

   
Joan de Verteuil

Teacher

Joan started exploring her musical nature later in life. After singing in a community choir for three years and dabbling in African dance and hand-drumming, she began learning to play Zimbabwean-style marimba (wooden xylophone). In 2002 she joined the band Kwayedza Marimba, and played with them for almost 8 years. One of her favourite aspects of performing this joyful and energetic music was seeing the fascination that small children have with the music and instruments. When she heard about the Music Together® teacher training program, she was thrilled about the opportunity to share her love of music even more directly with children. Joan enjoys the delightful chaos of large groups of children – she has five nephews and three nieces, and has volunteered at the Vancouver International Children's Festival and at the Cloud Forest School (a K-11 school in Costa Rica). Since 2009, Joan has been singing in the 100-voice soul and gospel choir City Soul Choir. Her most recent musical passion is playing ukulele, and she now teaches it to adult beginners as well as children. Find out more at Harmonious Joan. She is also a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor, and feels that teaching Music Together to children and teaching yoga to adults complement each other perfectly. In 2014, Joan was awarded the Certification Level 1 qualification from Princeton's Music Together Center For Music and Young Children for outstanding achievement in teaching and articulating of the program.

   
Laura Cowan

Teacher

Born and raised in Metro Vancouver B.C. Laura has an extensive background in the performing arts with over twenty years of musical theatre experience. Growing up she studied private voice instruction and trained at various musical theatre programs and dance schools.
Off stage, Laura discovered a newfound delight in guiding families through music and movement at West Side Music Together. Along with her love for community music making, Laura is an Early Childhood Educator and has the pleasure of providing preschoolers with endless opportunities to explore and create at “Little People’s Community Preschool” in Vancouver. In addition, Laura is a (RYT) 500hr Yoga teacher and holds certifications in Yoga for Kids, Restorative Yoga and Yoga Outreach. 
Laura has successfully completed the Music Together Teaching Workshop developed by the Centre for Music and Young Children, Princeton, New Jersey. In 2011, she was awarded the Certification Level 1 qualification from Princeton's Music Together Centre For Music and Young Children for outstanding achievement in teaching and articulating of the program. She is also grateful to live, work and play on the unceded land of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/ Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam) Nations.

   
Noa Neuman

Teacher

Noa's life long engagement with the arts is her main driving force and passion. She started studying classical piano as a child and then moved to classical ballet and modern dance through till high school.

From there, she made her move to acting and singing as she performed on stage and on screen as a professional actor, singer and dancer and she never stopped singing even while completing her fine arts and graphic design diploma. After arriving to Vancouver from Israel in 2000, Noa continued with acting and voice training at 'Lyric' and most recently with vocal coach Jennifer Scott. Noa holds a fine arts teacher certificate and she has facilitated workshops in art and drama with children of all different ages. She currently sings with Brian Tate's 'City Soul Choir' and is also an enthusiastic photographer. Noa's work has been published and presented at group exhibition. Noa's enthusiasm for Music Together® began when she and her son Lior were taking classes. It is the joy of singing and the love of community music making that lifts her soul and opens her heart. She is thrilled to combine her passion for music with empowering parents and nurturing children's natural curiosity. Noa has completed her Music Together training and is a registered Music Together teacher.

   
Tanya Cosgrave

Teacher

Tanya had two main loves in life growing up, one was sport and the other was music. With her young ear pressed against a speaker, she listened to her parents vinyl records, like Patsy Cline and Johnny cash, and a passion was born. However, it wasn't until her high school music theatre teacher, Mr. Peter Vanderhorst encouraged her to follow her musical pursuits, that she seriously considered a career in music. From there she studied voice with Nancy Davis and performed in her high-school musicals and choir. In 1995 she was chosen as the "Peoples Choice" award winner at the British Columbia Country Music Association vocalist of the year completion, held at the Boone County Cabaret. In her youth, she also taught skiing, attended Capilano University for Business Administration and played for the Cap Blues volleyball team. In 1996, she started TAG Sale Inc., a growing and successful sportswear sales and distribution company that she still runs today. TAG Sales Inc now owns and operates two Golf stores in the Vancouver area under the name of Peak Golf. When her children were born, her desire to rekindle her musical passion was re-ignited. She was determined to create for her children a love and a comfort around music that would stay with them for a lifetime. After attending a Music Together® class with both her children, she was hooked. Her goal with Music Together is to help parents and caregivers successfully bring music into their homes as a form of everyday communication. She hopes to develop musically competent children, who can embrace music without fear. Tanya feels music is an all-too-often forgotten gift, which we all possess. She successfully completed her Music Together Teachers training, developed by The Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, New Jersey.

   
Shellana Brunelle

Teacher

Shellana has a passion for music and dance and has been singing, writing, and performing songs on her own and with others for as long as she can remember.  She studied ballet during her childhood years and as a teenager she enjoyed songwriting, playwriting and acting and was a member of Theatre Peace, which toured performances around the Kootenays and at EXPO 86 in Vancouver. She also played flute in her high school band, and has performed with many choirs including the Woodward's Community Singers here in Vancouver. Shellana also likes experimenting on the guitar, penny whistle and drum in her free time and she has always enjoyed working with babies and children. She has worked at Children's Orchard, a Waldorf inspired daycare in Nelson B.C. as well as running daycare facilities in tree planting camps and out of her own home for many years. She has also worked as an assistant kindergarten teacher and substitute teacher at The Nelson Waldorf School. From 1999 to the present she has also been volunteering to organize Children's Programs for Sahaj Marg meditation workshops and retreat gatherings. Shellana enrolled her son in Music Together® classes when he was 3 years old and they both fell in love with the program. This joy spilled over into family time with friends and Shellana became reawakened to the importance and value of music making in everyday life for people of all ages. "Music is such a natural medium for communication that enhances and enlivens our individual lives and our communities as a whole." She wishes that all of us could grow up having an ease and comfort with musical expression and she is so excited to be helping to create community with caregivers and children through music, movement, and dance. Shellana has successfully completed the Music Together Teaching Workshop developed by the Center for Music and Young Children, Princeton, New Jersey.

   
Roya Ravanbakhsh

Teacher

Roya is a pianist, choral director, singer/songwriter, and ESL/English teacher. She discovered Music Together® through friends with children, and also attended a few classes with her niece! Truly impressed by the program, Roya enrolled in the Music Together® teacher training. Roya's musical adventure started at age 8 with piano lessons and living-room musicals with her best friend. Her parents' encouragement, their enjoyment of all the arts, and frequent family viewings of "Fiddler on the Roof" helped! As a youth, she completed grade 10 piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as playing clarinet in the Killarney High School band, with some dance and theatre experiences along the way too. She taught piano to friends and children while studying at UBC and later, songwriting and composing blossomed while volunteering in Thailand (during long, quiet evenings in a house with a piano). This developed into two recording projects with a vocal trio, Devotee, and a pop/gospel band, Water after Winter. Her love of choir and singing lead to a side career in choral directing and accompaniment. A highlight was working with children at a summer arts camp in 2004, where she directed the junior youth choir and was blown away by their soulful energy. Next, she followed her heart and completed a diploma of music at Vancouver Community College in voice and composition. She worked as the Music Animator at St.Stephen's United Church for over five years and also completed the BCCF Choral Directorship certificate in 2008. Roya is currently working with the One Voice Choir in Burnaby. You can often find Roya involved in Baha'i or Inter-Faith choral project and her favourite musical activity is creating vocal harmonies from the piano, and helping others to do the same. Music Together has recently brought a new way to teach, and a new kind of excitement and meaning, to her musical life. Roya has successfully completed the Music Together Teaching Workshop developed by the Center for Music and Young Children, Princeton, New Jersey.

   
Monica Rumpel

Teacher

Monica’s life is like one big musical! She has been singing throughout her life whether it’s on stage in opera chorus’and bands or just inspired, impromptu solos at restaurants in Italy. Her childhood was filled with music-making and she happily remembers singing and playing instruments with her mom, dad and siblings. To this day, Monica plays guitar, piano, ukulele and sings with her family whenever they visit. Monica first joined the choral world in elementary school and then continued as a choral singer throughout highschool and post-secondary education. She caught the performing bug during highschool when she toured with the ‘Spirit Alive’ Concert and Chamber choirs to Banff, Alberta and then New York, Chicago, and San Francisco to compete in the choral competition ‘Festival of Gold’. After that she started to to train with a vocal coach and attended an opera camp held in Vernon, BC. She has performed a duet and sung in the chorus for a few amateur opera productions including The Mikado, The Marriage of Figaro and Cavelleria Rusticana. Monica continues to enjoy performing to this day, whether it be solo or in various ensembles. She is currently finishing her internship for a degree in Music Therapy at Capilano University and completed studies in classical voice performance in 2012 at Douglas College. In 2010, Monica collaborated with one of her friends and directed a choral camp called ‘Sing Out!’ for several young girls. Monica has successfully completed the Music Together Teaching Workshop developed by the Center for Music and Young Children, Princeton, New Jersey and looks forward to sharing the joy of music-making in her work with young families in Music Together classes!

   
Alex Kraubner

Alex began singing in senior care homes with her family at the age of seven. Her love of music began early and has developed into a lifelong passion. Over the years Alex has toured through Canada with musical theatre productions and tribute bands. She enjoyed singing with the University of Manitoba Vocal Jazz and is currently singing with a trio called the The Agency featuring 40s glamour and three part harmonies. 
Alex's interest in Music Together began when she and her son took a class together when he was six months old. Through this class, Alex realized how important music and movement is for child development and how meaningful it was to bond with her son through music and play. Combined with Alex's experience as a Nanny, being a parent of two and her love of music, it only seemed fitting to become a Music Together teacher and share her passion with the community. Alex has sucessfuly completed the Music Together teacher training developed by The Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, New Jersey and can't wait to sing and dance with your family. 

   
Katie Brock

Teacher - Sub

Katie Brock has been teaching since the fall of 2006 and has attended Music Together® classes with her son Sam and daughter Isobel since the summer of 2005. It is her passion for this program and the joy she feels at every class that drew her to teaching Music Together. Born and raised in West Vancouver, Katie is thrilled to be teaching at the Gleneagles Community Centre as it is around the corner from her house!! Katie’s love of music began as a young child with classical piano lessons from her grandmother. Growing up she also played the violin, the trombone, sang in choirs, danced and acted in musical theatre productions. As an adult, Katie has continued to sing choral music and has tried her hand at community musical theatre. She has also spent some time in Toronto pursuing her love of music and theatre. While there, she completed an intensive acting program at The Player’s Academy and studied voice with Diane Lewarne. Katie currently sings with the female vocal ensemble "reVive" which is led by Peter Vanderhorst. She is also working very hard practicing the guitar and looks forward to playing for you in class! Katie has successfully completed the Music Together Teaching Workshop developed by the Center for Music and Young Children, Princeton, New Jersey.
 

   
Rachel Prior-Tsang

Teacher - Sub

Rachel is a musician and teacher, and she loves to sing! She has a passion for music making, creative play and community-building. She fell in love with Music Together while taking classes with her daughters in 2009 and has seen the wonderful music learning in her own children blossom through the joyful, connected interactions between children and families in the class. Engaging with youth in their own learning process through play and connection has been the core of Rachel’s career as a high school English and Creative Writing teacher and as mother to her children.  She has also developed creative and organizational skills as a Music Producer, Mixer, and Songwriter in solo, band projects and with the Universal Gospel Choir.  Rachel has a love for a wide range of music—soul, gospel, Afro-Cuban, folk, jazz, rock, hip-hop and classical—and continues to hone her acoustic guitar chops. She is learning to play bass and percussion along with expanding her gospel and folk-soul vocals in an acoustic soul band. Rachel has learned to sing with her whole body, and integrates her experience dancing Cuban Rueda de Casino so she can feel the rhythm in her bones. For the past twelve years, Rachel has sung with the multifaith, sixty-voice Universal Gospel Choir, and for ten years she sang with the Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorus and Choir and reveled in the huge sound of the choir accompanied by the VSO.  Rachel believes that learning music early enhances our enjoyment of life, our resilience, and our feeling of belonging. She believes it is our birthright to be immersed in a world of music and she is delighted to be making Music Together in a playful, connected community. Rachel loves creating music with her daughters, fellow musicians, choir mates, and the parents and children in her classes and looks forward to making music with you too. Rachel has successfully completed the Music Together Teaching Workshop developed by the Center for Music and Young Children, Princeton, New Jersey.
 

   
Shellana Park/Laura Online

 

Shellana is teaching the outdoor Trout Lake park classes and Laura is teaching the online add-on classes this term