VIRTUAL VOICES

WHAT IS VIRTUAL VOICES?

Tomorrow’s Voices won’t let a global pandemic keep our kids from being heard. We may not be able to gather in person, but we can still sing together — online.

We’re inviting kids ages 8 -18 to participate in our after-school Virtual Voices kids choirs. This is a barrier-free opportunity for kids who love to sing to develop new skills, improve their self-confidence, and make meaningful connections with their peers.

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO

Through our new online after-school program, Tomorrow’s Voices aims to create a safe space online for kids to come together and lift their voices in song. Music has been proven to alleviate stress, and in these unprecedented times, we truly believe kids need Tomorrow’s Voices now more than ever.

We are passionate about giving the kids in our communities a voice, exposing them to the joys and challenges that come with making music together. Tomorrow’s Voices is more than just a kids’ choir — it is a community-building, social development program. The kids in our programs leave with a sense of belonging and achievement through the power of song.

VIRTUAL VOICES 2021-2022

Virtual Voices will be running for our Niagara, Hamilton, Toronto, and Saskatoon chapters with days and times as follows:

Niagara: Wednesdays from 4 -5:15 pm
Hamilton: Wednesdays from 4 -5:15 pm
Toronto: Wednesdays from 4 -5:15 pm
Saskatoon: Bi-weekly via Zoom

As shifting to online does have implications for technology and internet availability, please contact us if there are any concerns with device accessibility.

Because we do not want to compromise anyone’s health and safety, Tomorrow’s Voices will be exclusively online. We will continue to monitor the return to school and if/when singing in person together is safe.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Each week, our Tomorrow’s Voices choirs will meet online, through a Zoom video conference to practice new songs and create meaningful connections with peers. All registered participants will receive a link to come together for one hour and 15 minutes of song and friendship. Our programs are led by talented, experienced and fun music directors who want to see the children of Tomorrow’s Voices grow into successful young adults.

HOW CAN MY CHILD PARTICIPATE?

Our zero-cost, audition-free programs strive to make Tomorrow’s Voices accessible to all families. Our programs are currently offered in St. Catharines, Hamilton, Toronto, and Saskatoon for children ages 8-18 to participate in our after-school online kids choirs. If your child has a passion for music, you can contact us for more information about registration. Don’t have a device to connect online? Let us know! We will work with you to find a way for your child to connect and sing with us.

MEET OUR CHOIR DIRECTORS

Mendelt Hoekstra

Niagara Choir Director, Mendelt Hoekstra grew up in the Niagara Region of Ontario. A lifelong lover of music, Mendelt busked his way to a degree in Music Therapy at Capilano University.

Mendelt has been performing for more than 35 years and enjoys collaborating with several different groups. Mendelt’s passion for bringing people together through music is energetic, palpable and contagious.

Mendelt also serves as the executive music director for Tomorrow’s Voices. He is now the music director of the Niagara choir while also providing support to the choir directors in Hamilton and Toronto.

Melissa Lauren

Melissa Lauren

Toronto and Hamilton Choir Director, Melissa Lauren, has been singing professionally for twenty years making a mark for herself in the Canadian music scene. She has been conducting in a variety of choir settings for several years, bringing her own brand of enthusiasm to the role of Choir Master with Choir Nation, The York Minstrel Show Choir, My Pop Choir and the “We Are One” jazz project.

Melissa has been a professional singer, songwriter and arranger since completing her undergrad at York University. Her music has taken her on several cross-Canada tours and one of Europe, and she has performed at International festivals, and her albums have been well received by radio charts.

With a Master’s in Music specializing in voice pedagogy, Melissa created a method of teaching singing to individuals with Autism.  With ten plus years of teaching experience, Melissa incorporates her own method of vocal coaching into individual needs. She has has been conducting and music directing for several years, bringing her enthusiasm to a variety of different choirs and vocal groups.

Jennifer Budd

Jennifer Budd

Hamiton Choir Director Jennifer Budd is an award-winning recording artist and celebrated vocal coach across the GTA, dedicated to telling important stories through music, drama, and dance. Budd began teaching vocals and piano 10 years ago and remains actively involved in the North American music scene. She is often praised for her equanimity and comfort level with her students, and for providing incredible vocal breakthroughs from beginner to Juno-Award winning vocal students.

Jennifer graduated from The Contemporary Music Centre in Nashville, TN in 2013, a program focused on songwriting, performing, and the music industry. In 2014 she earned her B.A. in Music Performance from Redeemer University.

Professionally, as a performer, Jennifer Budd has been working in music, film, and television for the past 4 years as a singer, songwriter, and actor. Budd released her debut album “Lip Service” in 2015, recorded at Threshold Studios (Hamilton, ON). Budd won “Best New Artist” in 2016 at the Hamilton Music Awards and was nominated for “Gospel Song of the Year” at the 2016 Canadian Gospel Music Awards. She is releasing music this year under her Artist name, Myla (@yours_myla).

Budd’s notable performances include The Hamilton Music Awards, Supercrawl Hamilton (Main Stage), Maxwell’s (Waterloo, ON), Harmony Vocalist for The City Harmonic,  Resident Artist at the Poetry Jazz Café (Toronto, ON), and Mary Kay Conference (Toronto, ON) with Director, Jeff Dimitrou. Jennifer Budd is commonly featured both locally and nationally in the press, including CBC, Exclaim!, and The Hamilton Magazine.

Budd is currently the choir director of the Hamilton chapter of Tomorrow’s Voices, the Grade 1 AIFEC Program Coordinator & Camp Director for the Hamilton Music Collective, and teaches privately through her home studio, Singer Studio.

Jennifer Budd is a member of CARAS, SOCAN, NATS, and WIMM.

Brette Kristoff

Brette Kristoff

Saskatoon Choir Director Brette Kristoff has been involved in the early childhood music program since infancy, and even while in the womb, as both her mother (Nicole Wilton) and grandmother are/were musicians and early childhood music educators. Growing up in a musical household, she was encouraged to explore her creative and musical sides, enjoying a well-rounded and exploratory education. As a child, Brette was introduced to piano, violin, guitar, and voice— her favourite being musical theatre. She has been involved in assisting and teaching early childhood music classes through Wilton Academy of Music for many years, also working as a nanny/au pair in both Saskatoon and abroad. She enjoys working and learning with children through music and play in the early childhood music programs.

Brette holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in religion and culture and is currently pursuing her Master degree in religion and politics.