Meet the Team
Artistic Director | Conductor, Main Choir & Coro
Dr. Zimfira Poloz
Dr. Zimfira Poloz is a passionate musician, educator, award-winning conductor, and internationally respected adjudicator and clinician. When working with young musicians, Zimfira believes that ‘brilliance has no age.’ By building the finest capabilities and encouraging superb artistry with boundless positive energy, she is able to unleash the creative and musical potential of every child unlike any other.
Dr. Poloz has been decorated with numerous awards, including Honoured Representative of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the city of Hamilton’s VIP Award, and the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting (Ontario Arts Council).
Zimfira teaches “Vocal Pedagogy for Young Choirs” at the University of Toronto, Music Faculty. She is a Canadian Representative for Choral Space – International Academy for Choral Arts as well for the Interkultur World Choir Council, and a mentor for ACDA International Activities. She is a Board Member for the World Alliance of Children’s Choirs (A Global Network of Children’s Choirs and Conductors) and curator/editor for the choral music publisher, Cypress Choral Music
Judith Bean holds a Master of Arts Community Music and an Honours Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance (Wilfrid Laurier University), a Bachelor of Education in Vocal Music (University of Western Ontario), and a number of Kodály and Suzuki piano certifications. Her musical studies take her around the globe as she attends conferences and workshops, as well as serving an elementary music clinician throughout Ontario.
A teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board for more than thirty years, Judith has taught vocal music, drama, and dance to children from Grade 1 to Grade 6 at Blue Heron Public School in Cambridge. She is the former director of Menno Youth Singers, directed the Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir for 7 years, and taught piano and voice at The Beckett School of Music in Kitchener-Waterloo for 18 years. In 2019, she was the conductor of the more than 1000 voice mass children’s choir and Teacher’s Orchestra at the Kodály Choral Festival at the Centre in the Square.
She is delighted to be a member of the Artistic Staff of the Toronto Children’s Chorus and the Conductor of Pasio Training Choir.
An accomplished conductor and dedicated educator, Nila Rajagopal is driven by an unwavering passion for uniting people through the power of choral music.
Nila’s outstanding expertise has led her to assume numerous pivotal roles within the choral landscape. She currently serves as Conductor of the Toronto Children’s Chorus’ Anima training choir, Associate Conductor of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto and Co-Conductor of Modern Sound Collective’s Sehnsucht ensemble. Beyond her conducting work, Nila’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of musicians shines through her work as music teacher at the Toronto French School. Her exceptional contributions have earned her esteemed accolades, including the Doreen Rao Choral Award, the Iwan Edwards Award, the Ken Fleet Choral Conducting Scholarship, and the Helen Hall Prize.
A dedicated lifelong learner, Nila holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from McGill University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Toronto. Nila’s dedication to the choral community also extends to her role as South Central Regional Chair on the Choirs Ontario Board of Directors.
Conductor, Cantare and Chorealis
Conductor, Spirito | Theory Coordinator | Arts Admin
Meredith Wanstall (she/her) has recently completed a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting at Western University, studying with Dr. Mark Ramsay. Previously, she completed a Bachelors of Music in Music Education at the University of Toronto, studying voice with Mark Daboll. Additionally, she has earned two ARCT certifications in Piano and Voice Performance, and has completed two levels of Kodály Certification at Western University.
This season, Meredith is looking forward to continuing her work with the Toronto Children’s Chorus as the Conductor of Spirito, Theory Coordinator for all Training Choirs, and Administrative Assistant to the Artistic Director. She is also an Associate Conductor with the Modern Sound Collective, and was recently an Intern Conductor with the Ontario Youth Choir. Beyond her passion for choral conducting, Meredith also greatly enjoys teaching private lessons in piano, voice, and theory to students of all ages.
Born and raised in Iran, Bahareh Ameri discovered her passion for music at a young age when she began playing the piano. After obtaining her bachelor's degree, she embarked on a journey of musical exploration, delving into the realms of piano and vocals. Her dedication led her to master the intricacies of Orff pedagogies, earning her certification as an Orff Specialist. She enriched her expertise through various courses and workshops at esteemed institutions like the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and The San Francisco International Orff Institute.
Bahareh's career highlights include her current roles as faculty at the Royal Conservatory and as a Music, Choir, Drama, and Band Teacher at Sathya Sai School of Toronto. She played a pivotal role in shaping music curriculum development for the Aga Khan Museum Resources Project. Her passion transcends linguistic barriers, as she adeptly teaches and develops music curriculum in both Farsi and English. Her journey has taken her to diverse corners of the world, teaching music in international, private, and public schools across Toronto, Tehran (Iran), and Shanghai (China).
Beyond classrooms, Bahareh organizes public performances, leads camps, workshops, and children’s music classes. She fosters a positive, creative learning environment, weaving music, singing, and movement to engage and inspire young minds.
Ewa Krzatala-Slomowicz was born in Warsaw, Poland, where she studied harp and piano, before receiving her Master of Arts Degree in Music Education from the Music Education and Dalcroze Eurhythmics Faculty of the Academy of Music in Gdansk. In Canada, Ewa completed her post-graduate courses in Music in Early Childhood with Donna Wood and Kátalin Forrai, Kodály Pedagogy Certificate with Edith Lantos and Orff Pedagogy with Angela Elster.
Ewa has been on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory Teacher Training and Children’s Department since 1996 teaching music classes for babies and children ages birth to 12 years as well as professional development courses for adults. In addition, Ewa is Programme Coordinator for The Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music Education. Ewa is a national and international clinician and recently presented at the international conferences in Budapest, Hungary, Katowice, Poland and Camrose, Alberta as well as taught a professional development course for early childhood educators in Singapore. A tireless advocate of the importance of music in lives of young children Ewa has served as the President of the Early Childhood Music Association of Ontario for 15 years. Ewa is the recipient of the prestigious International Kátalin Forrai Award (The International Kodály Society, 2017). The core strength of Ewa’s lessons is the emphasis on joyful music making with an underlying emphasis on the art of music itself.
Vocal Coach & Consultant, Main Choir
Dr. Darryl Edwards
Professor Darryl Edwards is an internationally lauded singing teacher, celebrated for his effectiveness and innovation. At the University of Toronto, Canada, with individuals in the voice studio and groups in the classroom, he continually creates significant pathways for ideal learning experiences and performance outcomes. His encouragements have most recently reached the students and voice faculty of the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts as a Visiting Artist-Teacher, and the High Institute of Music in Damascus, Syria.
A hallmark of Darryl’s abilities is his extraordinary nature in elevating young singers to their best, most skilled communicative selves from the practice room to the performing stage. This is true for everyone: young vocal artists-in-training in a choral medium, in their solo own performing moments, whether it be in a local music festival class, a house or church concert, to career artists who lift their intentions into superb outcomes in international concerts, opera engagements or competitions. Each singer learns to develop the specific performing gateways and experiences that make all the difference from growing to knowing, and to consistently creating.
Assistant Conductor, Main Choir
Michael Denomme is a Canadian musician, educator, and conductor originally hailing from North Bay, Ontario, and now calls Toronto home. Michael holds a Bachelor's Degree in music education from the University of Toronto, where he is also now half way through his masters Degree in Choral conducting, studying with Dr Jamie Hillman. He is the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 recipient of the Elmer Isler national fellowship in Choral Conducting.
Michael has also had the pleasure to participate in choral conducting workshops around North America, including the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s conducting symposium, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music’s international conductors training program, where he has studied with Dr. Kari Turunen and Dr. Joe Miller respectively. Michael is currently the Associate conductor of Mississauga Children’s choir, where he leads the Junior Choir, and continues to work as an assistant conductor with Toronto Children's Chorus, VIVA Singers Toronto, and U of T’s Tenor Bass Choir.
Michael has also performed with the North Bay Symphony Orchestra as a soloist, winning their young performers contest in 2017, and will return to North Bay in 2024 to guest conduct the season finale of their ‘From Home and Abroad’ season.
RCM Theory Coordinator | Volunteer Coordinator
Collaborative Pianist, Coro
Sheldon began piano lessons at age 10 and, a year later, enrolled at St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto. Upon graduation he went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree (Theory and Composition) from the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto with later supplementary studies at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton and the Juilliard School in New York. Sheldon also has extensive choral experience, serving as Director of Music and Organist for more than a decade at St. Clare’s Church (Toronto), as Choirmaster for the Appleby College Chapel Choir (Oakville) and as piano accompanist to the Oakville Children’s Choir for 7 seasons, and for Young Voices Toronto (formerly High Park Choirs) for 16 years thereafter.
Sheldon is also an accomplished and award-wining composer, arranger and orchestrator. Many of his fine choral works have been published by Cypress Choral Music, Rhythmic Trident, and Alliance Music and are available world-wide.
Collaborative Pianist, Chamber Main Choir
Originally from Nova Scotia, Toronto-based pianist Dakota Scott-Digout has been heard in recital across North America as both a collaborator and soloist, gaining praise particularly for his performances of chamber music and art song. Dakota is an in-demand and passionate educator, maintaining a full studio of piano students. A strong proponent of choral singing, Dakota serves on the artistic staff of the Toronto Children’s Chorus and is the collaborative pianist for Toronto’s VOCA Chorus. He is highly sought as a vocal coach and is a collaborative pianist and coach for undergraduate vocal classes at the University of Toronto.
Dakota holds degrees in piano performance from Université de Montréal and Mount Allison University. Currently, he is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto where he was named the 2020 winner of the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Prize in Accompanying, awarded to the top collaborative pianist at the Faculty of Music. His principal teachers have included Stephen Runge, Jimmy Brière, and Steven Philcox. Particularly passionate about French repertoire, Dakota’s research interests are centred around early twentieth century performance practice and the mélodies of Gabriel Fauré.
Collaborative Pianist, Pasio
Hungarian-Canadian pianist Gergely Szokolay enjoys a versatile career as a soloist, chamber musician and vocal coach, and has performed across Europe, North America and Japan. He has worked with renowned artists Josef Gingold, Agnes Grossmann, Marcel Moyse, Aurèle Nicolet, János Starker, Zoltán Székely and Paul Tortelier, and appeared at festivals such as the Bartók Festival in Hungary, Domaine Forget, Festival of the Sound, Orford, Ravinia, and the Toronto Summer Music Festival.
Gergely previously held faculty positions at The Banff Centre’s Advanced Music Program and McGill University’s Opera Studio, and was principal collaborative pianist with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. In 2020, Gergely was visiting artist faculty at Bard College Conservatory, overseeing Bard’s 2020 Contemporary Festival Celebrating the Music of György Kurtág and hosting a panel discussion with the composer.
A dedicated pedagogue, Gergely maintains a private piano studio and is a piano and theory instructor at Upper Canada College and Havergal College. In 2019 he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in recognition of his outstanding commitment to music education and his students’ achievements at Crescendo International Competition at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Collaborative Pianist, Anima, & Coro
Born in 1999 in Toronto, Ontario, Nicholas Wanstall began taking piano lessons at a very young age with his grandmother, Arden Broadhurst. He started to sing in the Bach Children’s Chorus during grade school, and this sparked his passion for choral music. In Grade 7 Nicholas began his studies at St. Michael’s Choir School in downtown Toronto where he developed a love for and knowledge of sacred choral repertoire. During his time at the Choir School, Nicholas also learned to play the pipe organ under the direction of his first organ teacher, Peter Daly.
After high school, Nicholas continued his studies at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Organ Performance with a minor in Composition. He studied organ with John Tuttle and composition with Roger Bergs, two fantastic musicians and educators. Over the past several years, Nicholas has worked professionally as a pianist, organist, vocalist, composer, arranger, conductor, piano tuner, A/V editor, and much more! He continues to seek out new and challenging musical experiences within the Toronto music scene.
Collaborative Pianist, Cantare & Chorealis Main Choir
Terri Wu is a soloist, collaborator, and pedagogue in all things piano. A native of Vancouver, BC, she obtained her piano performance degree from the University of British Columbia before graduating with a master’s degree in piano performance at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 2020. At Jacobs, she held a position as an Associate Instructor, teaching group and private classes to both music and non-music majors. Terri also holds a Licentiate diploma in piano performance, as well as ARCT diplomas in both pedagogy and performance, all from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has had the privilege of performing all over Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom.
Currently settled in Toronto, Terri balances performing and a busy teaching studio with full time studies at OISE, focusing on postsecondary and professional education. She is honoured to be among outstanding colleagues and choristers once again for her third season with the Toronto Children's Chorus!
Board of Directors
Nina Bilimoria Angelo
Leslie Stewart Rose