Artistic Director, Joy Vox Family of Choirs
Liisa has been teaching music privately for 30 years in voice, piano, guitar, ukulele, french horn and trumpet. She completed the 2 year diploma program at Vancouver Community College in 1986, majoring in french horn, then received a second diploma from their Jazz Program in 1987, majoring in voice. From there she went on to study classical voice at UBC and received her Bachelor of Music, with a minor in piano, in 1989. She also studied classical guitar privately for a number of years.
Liisa has taught throughout the lower mainland for years, developing music programs for all ages in many areas of music. After moving from Vancouver in 2001,she founded Stepping Stone Music Company in Matsqui Village.
Liisa has also performed professionally for a number of years in many different groups. Currently she is composing and singing with Kitchen Sync and has two CDs of her own original music.
Liisa has been conducting choirs for over 20 years, and started her current projects, Joy Vox Community Choir and Voce Destino, in 2001.
Liisa has received awards such as the 2006 Arty Award for Outstanding Artist in Music in Mission, BC, the Mission Muse Award in 2014 for Arts Advocate, and was nominated for the Myrtle Everett Woman of the Year Award in Abbotsford in 2007. She also received the Celebration of the Arts Award in 2018 for Arts Advocate – Educator/Mentor.
She has served on the Mission Arts Council Board, also as their President one of the years. She was on the Cultural Resources Commission in Mission, BC from 2016-2018 and offered music workshops at the Mission Children’s Festival for over 15 years until 2019.
She has also been running the Mission Coffee House Concert Series for over 15 years.
Her first love is music education, whether it be the wee kids just starting out or older adults rediscovering their love of music. She enjoys providing free music workshops for the Mission Children’s Festival every year. Her philosophy is that everyone should participate in music in some way. Singing, playing and listening to music can light up the lives of many, and should be shared with everyone.
Nic Renaud is passionate about teaching and working with others toward musical growth and fun performances. Nic has taught and conducted many choral and instrumental ensembles, from beginner bands to university-level choirs. He has also sung professionally in many ensembles and as a soloist. Nic teaches currently in the public school system where he has taught band, jazz band, choir and vocal jazz.
Nic’s past conducting engagements include: Assistant Conductor of JoyVox Community Choir (Abbotsford, BC), Assistant Director of the University of Victoria Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Director of the UVic Vocal Jazz Women’s Chorus, Guest Conductor of UVic Massed Men’s Chorus, and Guest Conductor of the UVic Chamber Singers. In 2018, Nic was honoured to serve as Intern Conductor of the BC Youth Choir under the tutelage of esteemed Canadian youth choir conductor, Allison Girvan. Nic earned his Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Music and French at the University of British Columbia where he received the prestigious Outstanding Practicum Award. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria where he double-majored in Secondary Instrumental Music Education and Voice Studies. During his undergraduate studies, Nic was twice selected as one of eight university students to receive a fellowship to attend the UCLA Wind Conducting Workshop where he studied under the guidance of notable American band conductors, including Jerry Junkin (Dallas Winds) and Dr. Travis Cross (UCLA Wind Ensemble).
Nic is currently pursuing graduate work in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, where his studies are focused on inclusion, interaction and connection in the classroom. He is devoted to building community and cooperation through the study of music, engaging in innovative teaching that involves a variety of games and activities to foster teamwork, and empowering students to grow in confidence as they learn to express their creativity through group music-making and engaging musical performances.
Laura Wheeler has been teaching privately in the fraser valley for over 6 years now in voice, piano, ukulele, trumpet, french horn and guitar. She completed the 2 year diploma program at Capilano University in the Jazz Studies program, majoring in voice. She has studied piano privately for over 20 years, and has been singing in choirs steadily since 2000. Her varied musical background allows her students to explore all genres of music, including songwriting and the performing arts.
Laura performs/plays locally in many different groups including Kitchen Sync and Thistle Dew, which features original music and vocal harmonies largely in the folk music setting. She also sings in Voce Destino, an auditioned female choral ensemble here in Abbotsford, as well as accompanies Joy Vox Community Choir on piano.
Her love of music is apparent in every lesson, with her primary goal to always be making music and inspiring her students to learn voraciously. Creativity and fun are the first tenets of lessons with Laura. You are never too old or too young to start learning an instrument. Music is good for the soul and should be shared with everyone.