The COMC’s current Music Director, Simon Irving, received his BA and MA in Natural Sciences and Economics from Cambridge University, where, among other musical activities, he directed a church choir as organist. He has a wide range of experience, including choral groups, stage performing and directing, and as an organist.MORE
Simon was Organist and Choir Director at Carlisle United Church for eight years, then took early retirement from his IBM management position in 1992 to devote more time to music.
From 1992 until 2008 he was Director of Music at Church of Our Lady in Guelph, directing the 30-voice Adult choir and the Junior Choir. He initiated the Sundays at Three concert series, which ran for thirteen years, and presented over sixty concerts. Simon was musical director of Hooray for Guelph in 1993, and of Amahl and the Night Visitors in 1996. He also prepared and directed a community performance of the Mozart Requiem in 1995 at the Guelph Spring Festival. He is Conductor Emeritus of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra.
Simon earned the diploma of Associate of the Royal Canadian College of Organists (ARCCO) in 1989, for which he received both the Willan and Rollinson prizes. In 1994, he became a Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists (FRCCO), and again garnered top honours, being awarded the Willan, Rollinson and Porter prizes. He has studied conducting with Nurhan Arman.
Simon is active in the RCCO, serving as Hamilton Centre Chair 1993-95 and as National President from 1998 to 2000. He was honoured with a Distinguished Service Award from the College in 2004. He is presently Director of Music at St John the Evangelist Anglican church in Hamilton.
Christine Chesebrough, the COMC’s Accompanist, began her musical studies at age two when she began lessons on the piano. Her interest in music soon became a passion and she started lessons on both the organ and violin. She completed the Royal Conservatory of Music exams on violin and piano and was also proficient on the organ, receiving a scholarship to Albert College preparatory school in Belleville. MORE
Christine attended the University of Western Ontario on scholarship, receiving an Artist Diploma, a Bachelor of Music Education and a Masters of Music Performance with violin as her main instrument. She completed the apprentice program with the National Academy Orchestra during which time she had the pleasure of being mentored by Boris Brott. She has also participated in Chamber Music studies through the University of North Carolina and has travelled to both Switzerland and Italy to study.
Christine is well established as a violinist, having played with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Windsor Symphony, Orchestra London, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and she plays regularly with Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been featured in chamber concerts at Stratford Festival and in the Royal Botanical Gardens chamber series. She has served as concertmaster for Drayton Theatre Productions, and she is the current Music Director/Organist at Brant Hills Presbyterian Church in Burlington.
Christine has had the privilege of playing with internationally renowned artists Anne Murray, Diana Krall, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Sarah McLaughlin, and David Foster, as well as with the Four Canadian Tenors in their PBS television special and on the Arkells CD Come to Light.