Bravado!, Barrie’s show choir, was formed in 1996 with a vision towards creating a multi-artistic experience. Under the new musical direction of Marianne Derow, the choir continually challenges traditional notions of choral music by layering vocal excellence with the visual appeal of staging and choreography.
Bravado! performs all music from memory, getting “off the page” and allowing a more personal connection with their audience. Bravado!’s choral-fusion style transitions fluently from Classical through Gospel, Jazz and Broadway to Rock without sacrificing musical excellence.
Bravado! performs two shows per year, at Christmas and in the spring. Bravado! also sings at charitable fundraisers and private functions, and have been guest performers at musical concerts throughout the Simcoe Region.
Bravado! reaches out to the community by holding their popular Voices at Large public rehearsals, hiring regional musicians, and encouraging youth to participate in performances both behind the scenes and onstage.
Ellen began her musical studies in the rich culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. At the age of five, her family purchased a used piano, and she began teaching herself to play the piano and read music. This was the beginning of a life-long passion for music. This passion led her to study piano performance and music education at Memorial University, where she received Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees.
Since completing her studies, Ellen has enjoyed many opportunities to share music through performing, conducting and teaching. Highlights of her career in Newfoundland include conducting the St. John’s Community Choir at the inaugural Festival 500 International Choral Festival, as well as the Newfoundland premiere of Celtic Mass for the Sea by Canadian composer Scott MacMillan.
In the year 2000 Ellen and her family moved to Barrie. She continues to teach and perform and currently she teaches vocal and instrumental music at Pickering College in Newmarket, where she conducts the Junior School Choirs, Middle School Jazz Band, and directs the Junior School Musical Theatre productions. This year she is looking forward to conducting the 300 voice Junior Choir at the Canadian Independent School Music Festival at Roy Thompson Hall.
Ellen believes in the power of music to change lives and build community, and loves sharing the traditional music of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is excited to be working with Bravado!
Born and raised in Barrie, Ontario, Nena LaMarre’s varied musical career includes collaboration with many instrumentalists and vocalists, a teaching career spanning 53 years, chamber music performances, singing in vocal groups, and leadership of the Eastview Secondary School orchestra as concert-mistress. She won top festival awards from the Toronto, Peel and Orillia Kiwanis music festivals for many years as a soloist and chamber musician. Her Montreal concerto performance, as a 1975 finalist of the Canadian Music Competition, took place in the same year as her solo recital at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Two years prior, she was the first recitalist to perform in the newly built Georgian College Theatre in Barrie and was the winner of the North American Invitational Competition in Chicago, in the Accordion division.
Nena received scholarship to study with Boris Berlin in the Young Artists Performance Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music in her teens, where she received the ARCT diploma in both piano performance and teaching. She continued her studies with William Aide at the University of Western Ontario, obtaining a Bachelor of Music with Honours in Piano Performance.
Since that time, she has enjoyed working with young students and their families in the cities of London, Toronto, Newmarket, and Barrie. Nena currently resides in Barrie, Ontario, where she maintains a Suzuki piano studio active in the community. Her students, aged three to eighty-three, have won numerous awards, including winners and finalists in the Rosebowl and Provincials. Nena has been invited as a master class clinician to many places in Canada including Concordia University, Wilfred Laurier University, Toronto, and Edmonton. Currently she is the Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Nena is a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teacher’s Association and is past Chair of the board of the Ontario Suzuki Association.
In the summer of 2012, together with her daughter, Dr. Janice LaMarre, Nena helped initiate and continues to run a summer music program, Midsummer Sound, in Barrie. This successful camp has attracted international students from China and the United States.
Nena has loved choral music since being introduced to it in the Eastview choir. She joined Bravado! as a chorister in 1999 and is delighted to return as their accompanist.
What is Choral Fusion?
Bravado presents 2 self-produced concerts each year in May and December. We support our community by performing for charitable events and we can also be hired for private functions.
STAY IN THE KNOW.
Join our mailing list for updates on what we’re up to.