Meet our Teachers
In the midst of a long career in the music industry that includes a Juno award, top 40 singles, tours throughout North America, a stint on Broadway and a feature role in the Toronto production of War Horse – Melanie Doane has added another dimension to her music career. She founded Uschool – a classroom teaching initiative to carry on the work of her father, celebrated music educator and Order of Canada recipient J. Chalmers Doane – so that her children and their peers could enjoy the same enriching music experience she had growing up in Halifax.
A TDSB music specialist, professional percussionist and drummer, Cheryl Reid has toured the world with Ember Swift and performs with Jennifer Foster and Arlene Bishop. Cheryl learned ukulele along with Melanie Doane in the original Chalmers Doane Program in Halifax and was part of the top group that toured the country, appeared on television and played for dignitaries from Princess Diana to Danny Kaye. As an Uschool Instructor, Cheryl is pleased to be teaching ukulele to the next generation.
On top of releasing several solo albums, Jennifer Foster has leant her musical know-how to many on the Canadian music scene, including: The Pursuit of Happiness, the Rheostatics, Kevin Hearn, Melanie Doane, as well as The Echo Women’s Choir. Jennifer has played and arranged songs for the ukulele since her childhood when she took part in the Chalmers Doane Program at her New Brunswick school, and later met Melanie Doane when both girls were camp counselors at Ukulele Camp. She is proud to carry on the tradition as an Uschool Instructor.
A Toronto-based actor and singer, Cara Hunter has performed across North America in productions such as: War Horse, Les Miserables, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Elf, Little Shop of Horrors and in the title role in an all-female Richard III. Cara recently re-ignited her passion for the ukulele, which began when she was a Grade 4 student in Vancouver in the Chalmers Doane Program, and relishes every opportunity to play and sing with her Uschool students and with her two sons.
Growing up in Halifax in a large family where music was a top priority, Jamie Martinez learned to sing, harmonize and play the clarinet. She also had the privilege to learn the ukulele and was a member of J. Chalmers Doane’s top ukulele group that toured Canada and made studio records, along with friends Melanie Doane and Cheryl Reid. She also was a member of Halifax City Choirs, The Chebucto Singers and The Chebuctones. Now living in Toronto, Jamie is honoured to be an Uschool Instructor.
Thanks to her music-rich Alberta background, Lisa Olafson learned the ukulele and flute and sang in the choir before switching to acting, receiving professional training at Studio 58 in Vancouver. Lisa has toured internationally with the renowned mask and mime Theatre Beyond Words, written and toured her solo clown show and currently performs with the bluegrass trio, Dirty Dishes. She loves teaching music and is thrilled to share the happiest instrument – the ukulele – as an Uschool instructor.
Growing up in St.John’s Nfld, music played a big part in Angela Dwyer’s life. Along with playing the piano, clarinet, recorder and singing, she participated in the Chalmers Doane Ukulele program. She is a graduate of the James Hill Ukulele Teacher Certification program and currently is Director of the Marigold Ukulele Players. She also teaches in her own private studio and in her spare time sings in the Cantabile Singers of Truro and Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus. She is excited to be a part of the Doane Uschool and looks forward to sharing her love of the uke with all her students
A classically-trained opera singer, actor and music theatre performer, Trish O’Reilly-Brennan has graced the stage in concert, as a soloist, and a performer in a variety of musical productions and festivals, including: My Fair Lady, Beggar’s Opera, The Magic Flute and The Ontario Renaissance Festival. Trish applies her many talents to teaching ukulele to young Uschool musicians and to adult groups in Toronto.
A clarinetist, songwriter and music educator, Julia Hambleton has been committed to creative projects in a variety of musical genres ranging from jazz, pop, folk, rock, classical, klezmer to free improvisation. Julia has performed across Canada with: Broken Social Scene, The Bidiniband, Rheostatics, Andy Kim, The Woodshed Orchestra and played on over twenty recordings. An Ontario certified music teacher, Julia was inspired by Doane Uschool to enrich her music classes with the ukulele.
Before becoming a parent, Tiffany Knight had a musical theatre career performing as part of the original cast of Hal Prince’s Showboat and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in Toronto. Music was a big part of Tiffany’s upbringing and she studied under the Chalmers Doane method as a child in British Columbia. Her love of the ukulele has led her to become an instructor in Melanie Doane’s Uschool program to share her contagious joy of playing music.
Lori Nancy is a professional actor, musician and educator and is thrilled to be part of the Uschool team. A certified teacher with the James Hill Ukulele Initiative and Artist Educator through Young People’s Theatre, in her spare time she enjoys volunteering with at-risk and marginalized youth. She is also a proud member of the interactive folk-rock band for kids, Sing Along Tim & The Pacifiers, where she is known for her singing, sharing her love of the ukulele and playing a ‘mean’ slide whistle.
Adam is a successful singer, songwriter, recording artist and composer. His engineering, music production, and live mix credits include working with artists as varied as Yoko Ono and the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, Ron Sexsmith, Jane Burnett and the Beijing Opera. He has shared the stage with the Barenaked Ladies, Randy Bachman and Big Sugar. Adam has an M.A. in Music Composition from York University, and is a Doctoral student there. He loves teaching kids at the Regent Park School of Music and at Doane Uschool.
Tim Cameron has been a professional musician in the Toronto area since the early 1990s, performing mostly as a solo artist, with a few forays into full band projects as well. Under his stage name T.C. Folkpunk, he’s performed as far away as The Cavern Club in Liverpool UK and his numerous albums of original songs have received airplay around the world. He also starred in and composed the music for the Canadian indie musical comedy film, Love In The Sixth.
A musical family, formal music lessons and Cape Breton roots have given Sandra a unlimited capacity for music. From childhood she studied classical piano until a career and parenthood put music on hold. Her re-awakened passion led her to study with J. Chalmers Doane and she is a Level III James Hill Certified Ukulele Teacher. In addition to playing bass, piano, ukulele and percussion, Sandra sings with the group 40 & Change. She has organized and taught many after school and lunchtime uke programs and teaches music in her home studio. She is excited to share her love of music as a Uschool instructor.
Growing up in Maitland and Truro, Nova Scotia, Joel participated in J. Chalmers Doane’s ukulele program from a young age. Having studied Jazz Trumpet at St. Francis Xavier University, Joel is now a regular in the Halifax music scene. Joel loves to teach and is excited to be part of the Uschool program introducing music to kids.