A native Calgarian, Nicholas Allen endeavoured into a life of music at an early age. He has been playing the piano as well as singing in choirs for the last 18 years, including two years with the prestigious Vienna Boys Choir. He earned a degree in Music Education from the University of Victoria, where he studied voice with tenor Benjamin Butterfield, and sang with both the university's Chamber Singers and Vocal Jazz ensembles.
As a baritone soloist, Nicholas performed with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in the Matthew Halls completion of J.S. Bach's St. Mark Passion (2017), in Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem with Knox Presbyterian Church and Christ Church Elbow Park (2016), with the Calgary Bach Society (2014), with Calgary-based VoiceScapes (2009), and various orchestras across Vancouver Island. He sings professionally at Knox Presbyterian Church and as the Bass Section Principal for the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus. When he's not performing on stage, Nicholas works as a teacher with the Calgary Separate School District.
A recent graduate of the University of Alberta (Master of Music, Choral Conducting), conductor, singer and percussionist Graham Fast is a passionate and versatile musician. A Calgary native, Graham is currently based in Edmonton where he actively contributes to the robust choral community both as singer and conductor. Graham has worked with many of the city's finest choirs including The Richard Eaton Singers, Pro Coro Canada, the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, Chronos Vocal Ensemble, Da Camera Singers, and Vocal Alchemy. Graham also sings with the Schola Cantorum of St. Joseph's Basilica, directed by Roderick Bryce. Graham is always thrilled to put his conducting training to work; he started conducting Vox Hominis, part of the Cantilon family of choirs, in September 2017.
Graham completed his Bachelor of Music at the University of Calgary in 2014, primarily in vocal performance with an integrated focus on wind band conducting. He studied voice with bass-baritone Donald Bell, soprano Patricia Hrynkiw, mezzo-soprano Edith Pritchard, and studied wind band conducting with Gareth Jones.
While Graham's singing and conducting engagements in the Edmonton area develop, he maintains connections with his Calgary roots, where he is frequently engaged with music projects.
Paul Grindlay feels fortunate to have been blessed with a unique bass voice. He is indebted to the many amazing teachers, mentors, conductors and colleagues who have inspired and supported him on his musical journey, including his parents and grandparents, his wife, brothers and so many others.
Paul has enjoyed a quarter century of professional performances with such groups as the Vienna Chamber Opera, Opera Atelier, Calgary Opera, American Bach Soloists, Carmel Bach Festival, Tafelmusik, Toronto Consort, Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, VoiceScapes, Luminous Voices, Pro Coro Canada and many others. He has also recorded CDs for NAXOS Records, Toccata Classics and Marquis.
In 2004, Paul was appointed Artistic Director of the Calgary Boys’ Choir. He also directs the choir at Knox Presbyterian Church and is on the vocal faculty at Mount Royal Conservatory of Music. In his spare time he loves spending time with his family, fly fishing, cooking and writing poetry.
Bryan Hryciw, a founding member of Luminous Voices, has been involved in music since the age of five. Educated on violin and viola, he played with string ensembles and orchestras until graduation. He also performed with choral and concert band programs throughout high school and university. Bryan began a percussion career as a performer in 1996, joined the music staff at the Stampede Show Band in 2001, and was the percussion caption head and arranger from 2006 until 2010. Bryan sings with the award-winning Spiritus Chamber Choir, and collaborates regularly with Il Sono Men's Vocal Ensemble, The Cathedral Church of the Redeemer Choir and VoiceScapes.
Bryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science (Calgary) and works as a software developer.
Dave Latos has been an avid musician for many years. He began singing in choir at age 6 and hasn’t stopped since, and he also spent a few years with a trombone along the way. He just about went to university for engineering, but ended up seeing the light and choosing music instead. His Bachelor of Music degree was obtained from the University of Saskatchewan, where he studied voice with Janice Paterson and Garry Gable and performed with the Greystone Singers and Musical Theatre Ensemble. Since returning to Calgary, Dave has sung with various choirs in the area, including the Festival Chorus, the Bow Valley Chorus, and the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus. In addition to Luminous Voices, he also sings currently with Spiritus Chamber Choir and Il Sono Men’s Vocal Ensemble.
Another element of Dave’s musical life is composition, which he studied at the University of Calgary. While he has written music in many styles and for many instruments, his current compositional activities centre on the writing and arranging of choral and vocal music of various genres (everything from original pieces in the classical realm to Boney M), a reflection of his lifelong love of singing.
Wes Nickel has been singing since childhood. He began his musical studies on the violin at age seven. He has studied with Imant Raminsh and Dr. Francis Chaplin. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Brandon University.
Wes' choral singing experience began at the Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg under Dr. George Wiebe, and then at Brandon with Dr. Earl Davey. Since then, he has sung with accomplished choirs in Manitoba, British Columbia, and most recently in Calgary with the award-winning Spiritus Chamber Choir, with Il Sono Men's Vocal Ensemble, and Luminous Voices, of which he is a founding member. Wes served as principal bass for the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus for six seasons, and has participated in programs with VoiceScapes, Pro Coro Canada, the Calgary Bach Society and Supersonic Men's Choir. Wes works in the renovation sector of the construction industry and is an experienced log-builder. A purist with an "old-school" approach to common ideals, he loves to cook over an open wood fire.
Leonard Ratzlaff AOE, OC has been on the faculty of the University of Alberta Department of Music since 1981. With Prof. Debra Cairns, Ratzlaff co-founded and now directs what is now the most established graduate training program for choral conductors in Canada. He directs theUniversity of Alberta Madrigal Singers, one of Canada's leading university choirs, which has gained both national and international competition awards for its performances and recordings.
Dr. Ratzlaff has conducted premieres of new works by numerous Canadian composers, including Violet Archer, Allan Bevan, John Estacio, Malcolm Forsyth, Allan Gilliland, Christos Hatzis, Gerhard Krapf, Stephanie Martin, Imant Raminsh, Sid Robinovitch, James Rolfe, Mark Sirett and Ruth Watson Henderson. As a baritone he has sung in numerous projects in North America and Europe with the late American conductor Robert Shaw, and participated as soloist in the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria for many years. In recent years he has immensely enjoyed singing with numerous Alberta ensembles, including Pro Coro, Spiritus and Voicescapes.
Dr. Ratzlaff also directs the Richard Eaton Singers, a 110-voice symphonic chorus that performs regularly with the Edmonton Symphony and has toured both nationally and internationally, most recently to the UK in 2017. He has served as president of Choral Canada, and is currently on the board of Chorus America. Honours include induction into the Alberta Order of Excellence, the Order of Canada and the Royal Society of Canada.
JORDAN VAN BIERT
Jordan Van Biert is a choral conductor and singer based in Edmonton, where he conducts the chorus Vocal Alchemy and the award-winning chamber choir Chronos Vocal Ensemble, the winner of the Healey Willan Grand Prize in the 2015 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs. He directs choirs in both English and German as Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Edmonton. He also leads Ante Meridiem, a daytime choir for adults, and recently finished a number of years with Singspiration, a summer choir camp for youth, adults, and teachers. In 2016, he was nominated as an Emerging Artist in the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts (Edmonton), and also honoured the same year by Choir Alberta with the Con Spirito award, which recognizes the “spirit and dedication of individuals and their commitment to choral music in their local community.” He is a founding member of Luminous Voices, and has performed regularly with the ensemble since its inception.