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Program Staff


Anita McAlister – Hannaford Youth Program Director

Anita McAlister received a BMUS in Performance from the University of Toronto and a MMus in Solo Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario. An active freelancer in the Toronto area, Anita has an interesting and varied career performing with the Toronto Symphony, the National Ballet Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Anita is a member of the Esprit Orchestra, the ARRAYMUSIC Ensemble and the Hannaford Street Silver Band, and has been a contracted member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Stratford Festival. She has toured as Principal Trumpet of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Orchestra, and performed with a number of theatre productions such as Phantom of the Opera. As a student, Anita studied with the Canadian Brass in Banff and went on to be a member of the Great Lakes Brass Quintet, the Composers Brass, and for many years performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Brass Quintet. As a soloist, Anita won the National Competitive Festival of Music at age 18, and has since performed as a soloist with a number of orchestras and in recital. Anita has taught at Interprovincial Music Camp, the Scarborough Board of Education Music Camp, the Mount Allison Summer Music Program, and is on faculty at the National Music Camp of Canada. She is an active adjudicator and clinician, has taught for the Royal Conservatory, was on trumpet faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University for 11 years, and is presently on Faculty at the University of Toronto as Head of Brass, teaching trumpet and orchestral studies, coaching chamber music and teaching music education classes. Anita is a board member of NABBA (North American Brass Band Association) and a core member of the Canadian Women’s Brass Collective. Dedicated to the development of brass education, Anita is the Director of the Hannaford Youth Program and conducts the Junior, Community and Youth Bands as well as the Hannaford Youth Virtual Brass Camp which includes masterclasses from internationally renowned brass artists.  


Carlene Brown

Carlene Brown is a highly accomplished musician, passionate educator and advocate for the arts. Carlene received her Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance from the University of Toronto. She received an Artist Diploma from The Glenn Gould School which she attended on the Michael and Sonja Koerner Scholarship. Carlene is currently completing a Master of Education at The University of Toronto’s OISE.

As an active freelance trumpeter in Toronto, Carlene has had the pleasure of performing with The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Canadian Opera Company, The Hannaford Street Silver Band, The Esprit Orchestra, and The Toronto Pops Orchestra, among many other ensembles. She often has performed with ensembles across Ontario including The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. She is a frequent soloist at Kingsway-Lambton United Church, with The Tapestry Chamber Choir, and was a featured artist at Newmarket’s Young Artists Showcase in 2022.

Some of her finest musical memories include being broadcast live as Principal Trumpet on BBC Radio at the International Edinborough Festival, performing at the world-renowned Konzerthaus in Berlin, and performing as a guest soloist alongside her first trumpet teacher, Barton Woomert in 2018 for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Concert. Carlene has had the incredible opportunity to perform and learn from her many of her trumpet heroes, such as internationally acclaimed trumpet players Philip Smith, Gabör Tarkovi, and Håkan Hardenberger.

Her experiences as a performer reinforced her passion as a music educator and led her to take an active role in music education. Carlene has held several roles as a Music Teacher and Band Director of various Independent Schools across Ontario. She has also taught as a guest lecturer at several Ontario High Schools in the YRDSB and TDSB, and leads several summer camps at Crescent Camps.

Carlene’s joy and passion for music is largely due to the youth training ensembles that provided many opportunities and challenges that helped her to her successes. She is extremely proud and grateful to have been part of The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, The Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, The National Youth Orchestra of Canada, The University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The University of Toronto Wind Ensemble, The Royal Conservatory Orchestra, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestral Institute.


Denise Simpson

Being the first member of her family to pursue postsecondary studies, Denise has her Master’s degree in music performance from the University of Toronto (UofT) after attaining an Honours Bachelor’s degree in music education (UofT), and a Bachelor’s degree in education (OISE), and is currently working towards a PhD in music education at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music.

During her undergraduate and graduate studies, Denise studied with Canadian euphonium soloist Robert Miller, and had the opportunity to perform for world-renowned euphonium soloists Steven Mead and David Childs. In 2012, Denise studied and performed in Rome, Italy through the RomeSMART summer program at UofT, and taught at various music camps including the Durham Intergraded Arts Camp and National Music Camp. 

Following her graduate studies, Denise’s passion for fostering the love of music in students inspired her to go to the United Kingdom to teach music at an all-boys secondary school in Hertfordshire and returned to Canada in 2017 to continue her career as a music educator at The Sterling Hall School. 

Recently, Denise has presented at her first academic conference at the International Symposium for the Sociology in Music education in June 2021 for her paper “Gender Identity and Musical Expression: A Recontextualization of Lucy Green’s Gendered Musical Practices and Meaning” which has provided a foundation for her graduate research. 

Being a euphoniumist and baritonist has led Denise to perform with various groups in the Toronto area including the Hannaford Street Silver Band, the Weston Silver Band, Kingston Brass, and is currently a founding member of the Euba Tuba Quartet. Presently, Denise is teaching music at The Sterling Hall School and with the Hannaford Youth Program, and is a Buffet Crampon/Besson Artist. 

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Charlotte Alexander 

Charlotte Alexander is an up and coming Toronto-based brass musician, specializing in French Horn. She performs across Ontario in genres from classical to jazz, hip hop to musicals, and brass band to klezmer. Her performances have taken her to the stages of many venues in Toronto, including The Opera House, Lee’s Palace, The Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar, and The Garrison. She has recorded on Bangerz Brass’s self-titled album, released in 2019, Dwayne Gretzky’s “A Night at the Opera House”, released in 2020, and Marie Goudy’s “The Bitter Suite”, released in 2018, in which her “contribution bolsters [Goudy’s] argument that there’s simply not enough French horn on modern jazz recordings” - Marie Goudy, The Republic of Jazz.


 With a growing passion for equality in education, Charlotte designed a free two-day workshop in 2018 called “Boom-Bam Brass and Emcees” with the Rising Youth grant from Toronto Arts Council for women and non-binary folks to learn from female hip-hop artists. She also assisted with the organisation of a free four-day workshop in 2019 held at the Scarborough Museum with the Animating Historic Sites grant from Toronto Arts Council for youth in low-income households. She teaches private lessons on her own as well as group lessons at Branksome Hall and Rosedale Heights School of the Arts. She has also been on staff at the National Music Camp of Canada for 5 years, with the last year as senior staff. 


 In 2019, Charlotte completed a classical performance degree in French Horn from the University of Toronto. During her education there, she was often first chair in the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the University of Toronto Jazz Orchestra, and the Hannaford Youth Band (which she is still a part of today). She also played in many brass quintets, woodwind quintets, french horn quartets and contemporary music ensembles, and took every playing opportunity available to her. 

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