Power Up Gospel 2017

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PowerUp Plus

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The Art Of The Gesture

Karen Burke

Everything that your choirs need to know to perform with great precision and expression can be facilitated by YOUR gesture.  In this very practical and relevant demonstration/participation session, Karen Burke will teach you how to use your body, facial expressions and especially effective gestures of the hands to draw the best sound possible out of your choir.  Successful conductors use convincing fundamental conducting techniques to effectively cue voice entries, start and stop their choirs.  By the way, where else can you go to learn how to conduct gospel music?  Come and find out all of Karen’s secrets!


Gospel Keys – Boot Camp

Corey Butler

For Advanced Players ONLY: Want to know how to lift and play a gospel song in the least amount of time?  If you can play a I-VI-II-V-III-VI-II-V chord progression and understand what a “flat III major 7th” chord is, then you’ll enjoy learning, in a practical setting, how to lift a gospel tune with accuracy and precision. We’ll also explore popular gospel ‘licks and lines’ and learn the new emerging gospel keyboard style of using left hand chromatic movement and close chord voicings. Finally, we haven’t had church until we’ve “shouted”. We’ll ‘take it to church’ as they say and learn the popular lines used in ‘Shout’ music.


Vocal Masterclass – “It’s Your Turn!”

Jenna (Burke) Cowans

This Master class for vocalists, led by singer-songwriter and educator, Jenna Cowans (Burke), will give you a more focused experience and more time for individual performances. In a safe, smaller and encouraging environment, you will be invited to perform a song ‘solo’ and receive coaching on vocal technique and stage presence.


Discovering Your Voice – Unveiling Your Vocal Potential

Dr. Melissa Davis

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to make your voice more beautiful? If so, this is the workshop for you! As we journey through the essentials of beautiful singing, you will come away with valuable tools for how to take your voice to its greatest potential. Come and discover what your voice can do!


Audio Master Class

Robert Hunter

Go In-Depth with Robert Hunter! In this evening ‘ Intensive’ and using professional audio equipment, those with a general working knowledge of audio systems will enjoy an opportunity for a ‘hands-on’ and ‘deeper’ experience. You will learn about and discuss signal flow, console operation, microphones, speaker systems – how to aim your speakers; Stage Monitoring; Digital Mixing and how building a mix.


General Track

Songwriting “Demo” Derby

Stephen, Ali & James, Joel

Back by popular demand, delegates will have the opportunity to either perform live or play a CD of an original composition and benefit from the panellists’ experience and knowledge of the craft of song writing.  Our guest panel consists of 4 of the most experienced Christian songwriters in Canada today: James Linderman, Stephen Lewis, Ali Matthews and New this year to the team Joel Parisien, Lead singer of Newworldson.  Their comments will be constructive and administered in a helpful and gentle manner. The Demo Derby is a very fun and extremely uplifting highlight at Power Up each year and always provides tremendous encouragement and guidance to song writing delegates.  Please feel free to join us regardless of whether you are just starting out or are a more experienced songwriter.
You will learn how to specifically improve the song that you present, but also learn from the songs presented by others.  You will also gain insight into the editing process and how to take your writing to another level!  (You may even be chosen to sing at the Power Up showcase on Saturday afternoon!).  Bring a song that you can sing, either with or without accompaniment, or provide a CD recording of that song (make certain that the recording plays on a CD player and not just on a computer).  Please bring 3 typed copies of your lyrics.  As soon as you arrive at the Derby, sign up at the panellists’ table for the opportunity to present your song.

How To Get Great Sound

Robert Hunter

Having great sound is an integral part of live events. Let seasoned sound professional, Robert Hunter help you unpack the features and capabilities of small, relatively low cost digital mixers and show you how to creatively use them to properly enhance your audio support. How do I correctly connect my equipment? How can I make the correct settings? What are the hallmarks of a good mix? In addition, if you are a vocalist or instrumentalist, you will gain the knowledge to know what to ask for the next time that you are having that all important sound check. Bring your questions to this relevant session’s Q&A!

What Every Choir Conductor Needs to Know

Karen Burke

Based on over 30 years of conducting choirs, Karen Burke will impart wisdom and answer questions about the very real issues that all who lead school, church or community choirs face every day.  If conducting was all we needed to know…not!  Topics such as choosing the right repertoire, how to run a successful rehearsal, how to choose soloists, to audition or not to audition?–these are just some of the challenges that choir directors face.  Let’s talk!  Come and bring your questions!

Power Up Mass Choir Rehearsals

Karen Burke

All registrants are invited to learn exciting gospel songs in a mass choir setting accompanied by a live rhythm section.  All of the songs learned in our rehearsals will be performed in our exciting finale concert on Sunday night!  Bring your family and friends to Global Kingdom Ministries, 1250 Markham Rd. in Scarborough (Markham Rd./401) to witness what you were up to all weekend!

Power Up Youth Choir

Colette Leader-Kalumbi

If you love singin’ and groovin’ to the latest gospel hits, you will want to be a part of the Power UP Youth Choir! Designed for young people from ages 12 to 21, this exciting session involves marrying great gospel lyrics to energetic hip choreographed moves done only as young people can do, accompanied by a live rhythm section!  If you have ever wanted to be part of a Gospel Youth Choir and want to ‘kick it up a notch’, this session is for you. (Please note Youth Choir participants will NOT be able to participate in the large mass choir rehearsals or sing with the larger Mass Choir.)

Hip Hop Dance – General

Gregory Hines

Learn how to dance hip-hop like an artist!  Back by popular demand, this 75 min workshop is a beginner hip-hop class for those with little to no experience in dancing hip-hop. It is designed for people of all ages and will have you popping, locking and ‘swaggin’ it out, making you look like a pro in no time.

Hip Hop Dance – Intermediate (I & II)

Gregory Hines

These two back-to-back 75 min. workshops are for dancers of all ages with some dance experience. They will challenge the dancer, focusing on pushing the boundaries and their stamina. You will sweat and will love every minute of this unique workshop that grooves to Christian hip-hop music.

Vocal Track

Master Class for Vocalists

Jenna (Burke) Cowans

Would you like to learn how to perfect your solo performance skills?  Singer-songwriter and educator, Jenna Cowans (Burke) will work with singers to build more confidence and communicate strong messages with their solo voice.  Whether for special music at church or other public functions, this is the class for the singer with a performer’s heart.  In a safe and encouraging environment, participants will be invited to choose from three familiar songs and be coached in a master-class setting accompanied by a keyboard musician.

Steps to Great Vocal Tone

Lavinia Celaire

This workshop will focus specifically on how effective vocal tone is achieved and maintained. In the midst of striving to master and properly balance all of the technical aspects of healthy vocal production, singers often overlook the importance of a stable and consistent vocal placement. This practical (and extremely technical) clinic will dig deep into the physical and mental combinations that must be in full alignment with one another, so the singer can be capable of successfully operating at the maximum quality of his/her vocal tone.  You are invited to come and join us as we take this interesting journey together.  Please bring a recording device (smart phone, digital voice recorder, etc.) and a song to this class, and come ready to sing!!

The Art of Vocal Style

Nicole Sinclair-Anderson

A singer has countless ways in which they can “colour” a song with nuance and stylistic interpretation. This session breaks down some of the mysteries of the current Vocal Styles and provides practical tools that will allow you to express your songs with relevance and authenticity.
Presented in a master class setting and using familiar songs, this workshop will greatly benefit anyone who wants to expand and improve the ways to deliver a song effectively.

Vocal Troubleshooting: Targeting vocal issues and working to resolve them

Dr. Melissa Davis

Have you ever felt frustrated with your singing? This workshop is for you! Through demonstrations, exercises and songs, this workshop will target and tackle common vocal issues and will provide workshop attendees with practical solutions to set you on the path to vocal confidence!

Power Up Small Vocal Ensemble

Darren Hamilton

Are you looking for an opportunity to improve your vocal performance skills within a small group setting? If you answered yes, then the Power Up Small Vocal Ensemble is for you! This ensemble will meet multiple times during the conference. Rehearsals will address topics such as blending, diction, articulation, vocal styling and group interaction while learning repertoire to be performed at the Power Up Showcase and Finale Concert. It is recommended that participants have some previous vocal ensemble experience. A short survey is required with registration for this ensemble.
Key Elements:

  • How to blend effectively when singing in a group
  • How to effectively apply diction and articulation to clearly communicate the lyrics of a song
  • Understanding stylistic characteristics to appropriately perform repertoire
  • Possible opportunities to performance solos or duets (depending on selected repertoire)

NOTE: Participants must register and attend ALL THREE rehearsal blocks for the Power Up Vocal Ensemble which are scheduled on Friday morning, Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Register early as this workshop is accepting a limited number of participants.

Road to Vocal Success (Part 1)

Rob Greene

We will explore the mechanics of the voice, while learning proper breathing, posture, warm-ups, and cool downs, and singing techniques; all of which will help us to achieve vocal success. Tips such as vocal health and maintaining good vocal habits will be discussed.  Come ready to sing!

Road to Vocal Success (Part 2)

Rob Greene

An extension of Part 1, this session will go further and discuss additional creative vocal elements.  We will talk about improvisation, explore innovative singing techniques and learn about using proper diction, expression and more! Come prepared to be creative.  Participants will have fun singing up a storm.

Choir 101: ‘From Singing Wannabe to Choir Geek’

Rob Greene

This workshop will be an informative, fun, and interactive session for non-choir singers, those who desire to sing in a choir, or who are currently a choir member. We will be exploring what it means to be a choir/ensemble member (including responsibilities and tips to help you win a “Best Choir Member award”) and become more familiar with the musical lingo! You’ve never sung in a choir before? No problem! We will be learning to sing as “one”, learn a song from scratch, and build it into an expressive and dynamic song. If you love to sing, possess a desire to sing expressively in a group, and love to have fun, this session is for you!

Harmonization (Part 1)

Stephen Lewis

There are 3 very easy steps to harmonizing: Hearing it, understanding it, and singing it.  This workshop will help you to understand what you are hearing when you’re listening to vocals and what to focus on when you do.  We will also break down 2 and 3 part harmonies to help you to more clearly understand the standard fundamentals of harmony.

Harmonization (Part 2)

Stephen Lewis

Building on the concepts learned in Part 1, we will take harmonizing to another level!  Learn how to understand more complex harmonies and to utilize them while singing in groups.  Together, we will dig a little deeper and also perform for each other song arrangements assigned in class.  Singing harmony together is the best way to improve!

Singing Together

Cassandra (Sommers) Powell

This fun and interactive workshop will provide tips on how to get the most out of your song and how to incorporate ad-libs and ‘flavor’ with or without background vocalists.  Discover how to approach a song as a soloist versus singing in a group setting.  You will come away with a wealth of tips on how to develop healthy vocals using effective vocal exercises, warm-ups and techniques to prepare your voice.  A practical group assignment will be included to practice what has been shared.  Whether you are a seasoned vocalist or just love singing and want to improve, you will definitely enjoy ‘Singing Together’!

Instrumental Track

Piano Technique – Beginners Only

Dr. Karen Cyrus

This is a workshop for persons who do not play the piano/keyboard. Participants will explore basic functional piano skills related to playing hymns and simple gospel songs. Basic skills that will be covered in this 90-minute workshop include interpreting chord symbols on song sheets, playing chords, basic improvisation, hand position and memorization. Participants will be able to use these skills to perform simple accompaniments. Please bring along a set of headphones!

Playing Keys by Ear – Intermediate Level

Natalie Stewart

Have you ever wanted to learn to ‘play by ear’? Join this exciting session and have the ‘mystery’ taken away from this helpful skill, using the electronic keyboards provided. You will learn how to manipulate chords on scale degrees and create simple chord progressions by combining theory with intermediate-level keyboarding skills.  By the end of this workshop you will be able to follow and flow in easy contemporary worship sets and gospel tunes using applicable and transferrable ear training techniques.  Participants with some basic keyboard knowledge will get the most out of this session.  Please bring along a set of headphones!

Putting It All Together (Keys) – Senior Level:

Joy Brown

This workshop is for pianists/keyboardists who have the facility to play but want to take it to the next level.  Fun techniques for hand strengthening, coordination and feeling comfortable with your instrument will be emphasized.  Participants will be able to demonstrate more complex chord progressions including chord substitutions, tritones and secondary dominants.  At the end of the session, you should be able to take a simple song and enhance the harmonic structure.  Please bring along a set of headphones and a pair of mittens.  Mittens, you say?  YES!!!! (Not gloves)

Gospel Keys – Advanced (Part 1)

Corey Butler

Learn, from one of the best, the harmonizations and techniques that make a gospel song sound, well…gospel! In this module, participants will learn how ALL secondary and complex chords i.e. minor 7th’s, 9th’s, 13th#11th’s, flat 9, diminished chords etc, are derived from the basic primary chords: I, IV and V.  You’ll enjoy exploring and understanding chord structures and secondary dominants, as used in gospel music.

Gospel Keys – Advanced (Part 2)

Corey Butler

In Part 2, we’ll put into practice what was learned in Part I, by applying the harmonizations and techniques that facilitate the “gospel sound” and explore this using the common progression I, VI, II, V, III, VI, II, V.  We’ll also apply these concepts in a traditional African American gospel song, To God Be the Glory and a Christian Contemporary gospel song, Good Good Father.

Puttin’ The Bach in Gospel

Joy Brown

Bach?  J.S Bach, you say?  That’s right!  Mr. Bach was working the cool ‘chord’ harmonies of Jazz way back in the 17th century. His music has influenced many historical and contemporary musicians, including the Beatles!  So if you want to know about jazz harmonies, chord progressions, chord/key relationships, secondary dominants and IMPROV, this course is for you.  If you want to know WHY you should know this—-this course is definitely for you! All you need is a pencil, a set of eyes and a pair of ears.  See you there!

Steelpan: The FUN-damentals

Josette Leader

This workshop serves as an experiential introduction to the world of steelpan and geared more for youth. Have you ever seen someone performing on the steelpan and thought, “That looks like a lot of fun”? Well, you’re right! Not only do steelpans sound captivating, but they are also a blast to play. Participants will learn the history of these beautiful instruments, the types and roles of each, as well as its relevance in modern day context. Participants will also be taught proper playing techniques and will be given the chance to test out their skills by coming together as a steelband and playing a tune. Whether you’re a steelpan novice or a steelpan enthusiast, this workshop has something for you. There is no equipment needed, just come ready to have a pantastic time!

Steelpan I

Joy Lapps-Lewis

The steelpan is the only acoustic instrument belonging to a family of instruments invented in the 21st century. The introductory workshop provides an informative hands-on experience allowing participants to learn basic approaches to mallet technique, form and posture.   They will develop an understanding of the various pans included in a steelband and their respective roles and ranges.   Participants in this workshop will develop a general understanding of this instrument’s history, development and relevance in Toronto’s Gospel and general music communities.  Each participant will have their own steelpan to play on and will be challenged to understand the geography and layout of their instrument as well as learn to play 1 or 2 basic grooves.

Steelpan II

Joy Lapps-Lewis

Introduction to Steelpan II builds on approaches to mallet technique, posture, form and understanding of note layout through repertoire development. The full workshop period will be dedicated to learning a short piece for steelband ensemble. Come prepared to make music in a community setting and have a good time.  

Guitar Master Class – “Now that I’m Singing…What am I going to Play?”

James Linderman

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced player, this workshop will help you to connect your singing with an ability to play the guitar.  In this master class setting, find out how to find a good selection of available guitar chords for a melody and string those chord choices together into a chord progression. Gain the tools to further your ability to play guitar and sing with the best possible relationship between your voice and your instrument.  See examples, from the charts provided, being brought to life in a leader-driven spontaneous improvised atmosphere.

The Drummers’ Q&A Masterclass

Rob ‘Beatdown’ Brown

This year’s sessions are an ‘open forum’ type format, designed for students to come with their questions right from the start. Registrants are encouraged to come with anything they’ve been having trouble executing or understanding on the drums and the plan is to discuss, clearly explain and/or demonstrate solutions on the kit. Students who need clarification on a certain technique or musical ideas or just the general business of drumming professionally will benefit from Rob’s 25+ years of experience on the instrument. A cool hang out for drummers of all levels!

Bass Guitar- Beginner/Intermediate

Tim Ball

Bass is the foundation of the gospel sound. What happens on bass guitar not only helps to drive the harmonic progressions, but also locks in with the drums to confirm and support the rhythm. If you are a beginning bass player eager to grab hold of the gospel music style, sign up for this very unique workshop session. There is limited space, so register early.  Bring your own bass guitar…bass amps are available!

Bass Guitar – Advanced

Tim Ball

If you already have some skill on bass guitar, but would like to expand your abilities of expression and implement some new skills, this course is for you. We will be threshing through techniques such as slapping, muting, and 4 fingered plucking, and examining where they can be useful in a gospel/worship setting. Come with your own bass and an open mind! NOTE: This advanced class will only be offered during the first mass choir rehearsal on Friday evening.

Church Musician Track

Crash Course for Worship Leaders

Cassandra (Sommers) Powell

The job of a worship leader is to lead!  This means having a plan for a live music setting i.e. a worship service or concert and taking the audience along on a journey that leads to corporate praise!  In this exciting session offered by Cassandra Powell, topics will include prepping a song list, running a rehearsal, leading from an instrument, and learning to speak ‘musician’.  Choosing appropriate keys, tips on what to do between songs (including ad-libs) and exploring the elements of effective stage presence will also be covered. There will also be a brief look at various helpful websites and software resources.

What Everyone Needs To Know About Praise & Worship

Pastor Richard Brown

God is in search of worshippers who are passionate for His presence; our worship will be the channel for His love, presence and power. The next dimension of worship is calling for people who are no longer content to simply revel in the anointing of a worship service, but who will also stretch beyond the service to the life changing presence of Jesus Christ.  This class is designed to equip you to be prepared to transform your worship experience both individually and corporately. We will discuss: What the Bible teaches about worship, the various traditions of worship, how to develop a Praise and Worship department and a God-centered focus in personal and corporate worship. Note the New Time: Saturday, February 25 only, 8:30 a.m., just prior to the second mass choir rehearsal.

‘Lift Off” – Going Deeper!:

Pastor Richard Brown

Those that are passionate about worship will have an extended opportunity from seasoned worship leader and recording artist, Pastor Richard Brown to go deeper concerning how to develop the heart of a worshipper and to do so in a way which applies to both personal and corporate worship. NOTE: This class will only be offered on Thursday evening, February 23, 2017.


Nicole Sinclair-Anderson

Returning favourite, Nicole is a graduate from Humber College with a diploma in Jazz Studies where she honed her skills by studying with great instructors such as Trish Colter, Pat Labarbara, Denny Christianson, Shelly Berger and Don Thompson. She graduated in 1998 from Humber College and quickly started to use her God given gift becoming a sought after studio musician. Nicole was a principal soloist with the Juno-awarding winning Toronto Mass Choir for over 10 years, being featured on many of their gospel recordings.
Nicole has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Joe Hendricks, Alvin Slaughter and Shelly Berger and many other seasoned artists. Nicole was also on the inaugural television season of Canadian Idol, making it to the top 30.

Nicole is currently Music Director at MCA and is happy to share with others her unique vantage point of being not only an experienced singer, but also a seasoned gospel music artist/instructor. For over 20 years, Nicole has been using her gifts from the Lord on piano and voice to bless thousands.

Tim Ball

A solid foundation in any band, Tim Ball had emerged as one of Toronto’s most beloved and respected bass players. With firm dedication to making every song the most it can be, Tim helps deliver a cutting edge sound that is not only fun to listen to, but also inspiring.
In his 18 years on bass, Tim has played and recorded for many of Toronto’s well-known gospel and R&B artists such as Toronto Mass Choir, York University Gospel Choir, Toya Alexis, Kim Davis, Aileen Lombardo, Mark Masri, and Echoes of Praise. Also an emerging producer and prolific songwriter, Tim heads the dynamic worship group, “For The Master”. Tim is also the music director for the Kennedy Road Tabernacle, located in Brampton, ON a church that has over 2500 regular attendees.

Joy Brown

Joy Brown is a performer/arranger/producer/teacher/choir director. She has worked with well-known artists such as Mark Masri, Kevin Pauls, Hilario Duran, Shelly Berger, Michael Burgess, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and the Juno-Award Winning Toronto Mass Choir. She has toured as a music director, bandleader, and piano soloist throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Central America, and the West Indies.
A graduate of McMaster University with a B.Sc. in Nursing, Joy also has a B.A. from Waterloo University with a music specialty in piano. She is a Humber College Graduate in Jazz and Commercial Music for which she won the prestigious Board of Governor’s Achievement Award. Ever multi-talented, Joy is also an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music with an ARCT in Piano Performance.
Joy is happily married to Delroy and is the proud mom of Julian, Bryden, and ‘Princess’ Sara.

Rob ‘Beatdown’ Brown

Rob ‘Beatdown’ Brown is a professional session and touring drummer as well as a renowned educator and clinician. With over 25 years experience on stage and in studio, Rob has played with several artists spanning several different genres and has toured and performed on stages all across Canada.
Rob’s company endorsements are:

  • Yamaha Drums
  • Paiste Cymbals America
  • Vic Firth Drumsticks
  • D’Addario Canada (Evans Drumheads)

His popular instructional YouTube channel is currently numbered at over 2.1 million channel views and over 12,000 subscribers worldwide.

Richard Brown

Pastor Richard Brown was born in Birmingham, England and emigrated to Canada in 1990. RJ Brown Ministries, birthed in Europe, has expanded beyond the nation of Canada, being received throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Wherever he ministers he has received the reputation for delivering a dynamic, sound word and worship ministry. His educational goals led him to Tyndale University College and Seminary where between 1999 – 2001 he completed his Bachelors Degree of Religious Education and he is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity, majoring in Pastoral Counselling. Utilizing the education he received, Pastor Brown works with the City of Toronto as a counsellor specializing in Chronic Substance Abuse and Addiction. Affectionately known as “The Chief Levite,” Pastor Brown has authored and produced many worship songs that continue to bless people around the world. He wrote and performed on his debut live worship project, “Heart of a Worshipper,” produced by Daniel Weatherspoon for Zhanre Music Group. Presently, Pastor Brown serves as Founder & Senior Pastor of Kingsway Community Life Centre in the heart of Toronto. Pastor Brown presently resides in Toronto with his wife Paula, and their children; Monique, Jazmin, Daijohn and Xavier.

Karen Burke

Karen and her husband, Oswald own Burke Music Inc., a Gospel music company which also offers production and publishing services, consulting and choral workshops. In 1988, Karen co-founded the Toronto Mass Choir; a gospel choir and continues to serve as its principal director. She runs the choir with her husband, Oswald Burke, developing the choir’s touring schedules and choral arrangements. Since its inception, she has also written many original songs for the choir’s recordings.  Karen holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from McMaster University and a Master of Education degree from York University.

Following a twelve-year stint as a high school music teacher, Burke became a Professor in the music department at York University in 2005, teaching music education and musicianship courses and developing the first post-secondary gospel music curricular courses in Canada including the 100-voice York University Gospel Choir.  Her busy music career continues as a guest speaker and conductor, songwriter and clinician offering gospel music workshops for many organizations both in Canada and overseas including the Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA), the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Burke has also spearheaded other initiatives to share gospel music with the community such as the City Youth Gospel Project.

Corey Butler

Corey Butler currently serves as the Music Director of the Juno Award winning Toronto Mass Choir and has worked with other international artists such as Tamela Mann, co-star of the TV sitcom ‘Meet the Browns’. Mr. Butler has also had the opportunity during his career to share the stage with icons such as jazz legend, Jon Hendricks and has played with one of Canada’s piano titans, Andrew Craig on several occasions.
Mr. Butler also now serves as the Musical Director at Global Kingdom Ministries, as a music professor in the Music Industry Arts Performance program at Centennial College and as a course director of the York University Gospel Choir at York University. There is no doubt that he is making his mark on the music industry in Canada having produced the Toronto Mass Choir’s Christmas album, “A Christmas Gift”, and their most recent album, “Made For Worship”, both of which have won a number of the GMA Covenant awards.
Apart from his skills as a piano player, musical director and producer, Butler also conducts regularly a 40+-piece symphony orchestra particularly during the Easter and Christmas seasons.

Lavinia Celaire

Lavinia E. Celaire was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. She grew up with a Dad who is an accomplished musician and a well-respected choir director, and a Mom who also sings and plays the guitar. At age 7, Lavinia became a founding member of two female singing groups that performed and traveled around South Africa. Her love and passion for vocal music eventually compelled her to study and explore the intricate details of this art form, so she moved to the U.S. to study Vocal Performance. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Anderson University in Indiana, after which she pursued a Master’s Degree with further study at Eastern Michigan University. Lavinia has maintained a successful vocal studio for the past 20 years, and many of her former students have gone on to become professional singers, actors, teachers, and recording artists. Currently living around the Greater Toronto Area in Canada, Lavinia continues to be a very active voice teacher, performer, mentor, as well as a well-respected, strong worship leader in and around the GTA church communities.

Jenna Cowans (Burke)

Singer/songwriter, Jenna Cowans, is also an established music educator and artist in the GTA. Growing up in a musical family, Jenna has been greatly influenced by the Juno award-winning gospel choir, the Toronto Mass Choir, led by her parents, Karen and Oswald Burke. Jenna began classical piano training at 5 and she is a sought after studio vocalist as well as a prolific songwriter and arranger receiving a Covenant award for writing Made for Worship – ‘Gospel Song of the Year’ in 2015.
Jenna holds a diploma in jazz from the renowned Humber College as well as a Bachelor degree in Music from York University. Jenna is an accomplished classical pianist having studied with world-class instructors and has also studied vocals with celebrity vocal coach, Elaine Overholt.
Jenna has released three solo albums including ‘Insight’ which was nominated for two Urban/Soul Covenant awards. Jenna is a piano and vocal instructor at Centennial College and, in addition, her private teaching studio has 4 sites in Toronto. Her solo performance venues have included The El Mocambo, Lambadina Lounge, Markham Theatre, York University, Gladstone Hotel and the Harbourfront Studio Theatre.

Dr. Karen Cyrus

Music educator, researcher and musician, Karen holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from York University, and a Licentiate of the Royal schools of Music (LRSM, teaching piano). She is a registered member of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT vocal intermediate) and a graduate of UWI (BA, 1990) and Mico Teachers College (Music – honors).
Karen has worked in music ministry since 1985 in a variety of positions including church pianist, playing for weddings, directing choirs, and as an accompanist. She has taught music at all levels, from pre-Kindergarten to Grade 9 and been an instructor of piano, recorder, elementary and secondary methods in a number of teacher training colleges in Jamaica along with teaching group piano classes for many years at York University.
Karen is an avid researcher with a talent for creating visuals for abstract concepts. She currently volunteers at Richmond Hill Pentecostal Church and her publications include music textbooks that are widely used in elementary and high schools in Jamaica.

Dr. Melissa Davis

Dr. Melissa Davis is an active concert soloist, music professor, choral conductor, worship leader, vocal instructor and clinician. Dedicated to the ministry of the Gospel through music, she has been a worship leader for over fifteen years, and a minister of music for over twenty-five years in the GTA and abroad. Dr. Davis received her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Vocal Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has been a music professor at the University of Arkansas and Tyndale University College and Seminary. As a concert soloist and professional chorister, she has toured internationally singing in France, Wales, the Caribbean, the United States, and throughout Canada. She has been a guest soloist with several choirs and orchestras throughout North America and abroad including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Melissa has conducted many ensembles, notably the 100-member University of Illinois Black Chorus and recently launched the Tyndale Community Choir for singers throughout the GTA in September 2016. Currently serving as Director of the Music Department at Tyndale University College and Seminary, she has also made frequent solo appearances on Vision TV, and CBC Radio.

Rob Greene

As a gifted musician, singer and songwriter, Rob Greene has been a sought after soloist and worship leader in Canada and abroad. Born and raised in Dover, Delaware, Rob began singing at his home church at the age of 5. He continued his education in music, majoring in Music Education with a Choral concentration at the University of Delaware. He toured with the University of Delaware Chorale in Los Angeles, California singing at the American Choral Directors Association Conference in 2004. He developed his talents in teaching, vocal coaching, and song writing at Gateway College of Evangelism, St. Louis, Missouri and later released his single “Stand” with the college choir, chorale, and ensemble. He has continued to have numerous recording artists record and publish his music.
Rob has conducted numerous choir clinics and worked with worship teams both in Canada and the U.S. and currently resides in Belleville, where he serves as Worship Pastor at the First Pentecostal Church of Belleville directing the FPC Choir, teaching voice/piano studies, and facilitating dynamic worship experiences. It has been his desire to use singing and the gift of music to reach others with the saving message of Jesus Christ.

Darren Hamilton

Darren is a musician, vocalist, arranger, songwriter, music educator and consultant. His musical journey encompasses a wide range of experiences in church, community and educational settings. Darren served as National Music and Worship Director for the Church of God of Prophecy – Eastern Canada from 2007 to 2015. His most notable contribution was coordinating and inspiring the vision behind the 2010 and 2012 Designed To Worship Music Conferences, for which he also wrote the theme song. During his tenure, he was instrumental in implementing and developing the National Youth Praise and Worship and Audio/Visual teams to serve at various events within the organization.
Darren holds a music diploma from Grant MacEwan College, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto and recently completed a Master of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario. He is a two-time recipient of the Harry Jerome Scholarship Fund and was awarded the 2015 Don Wright Award in Music by the University of Western Ontario.
Darren has been teaching high school music with the Peel District School Board since 2008 and currently serves as a member of Toronto Mass Choir.

Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines is no stranger to the ever-growing dance industry. Having worked since 1995 under legendary Choreographer Luther Brown as a hip hop Judge from “So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Gregory has toured all over Canada and the US for numerous artists such as Mariah Carey, rapper Eve, Jully Black, Shawn Desmond, Christina Aguilera, Maestro Glenn Lewis and many more. He has also made numerous television appearances dancing for such award shows as “The Canadian Urban Music Awards, The 2000 & 2001 Juno Awards” and the 2001 Teen Choice Awards, to name a few.
These experiences has given him many tools and intensive training to later branch out and begin his own Dance Academy, DOAHL. Gregory has had the opportunity in teaching cutting edge hip-hop workshops in Europe and was a host of a television show called “Love Is Moving”. Gregory’s dancers have performed at huge events such as Winterfest 2015 and ‘Open Heavens’ 2015 New Year’s Eve celebration. Gregory spends time motivating and inspiring the many dancers that attend the academy to reach their fullest potential in not just dance but all areas of their lives.

Robert Hunter

Robert Hunter is the Principal for AVLI, and is the company’s primary point of contact, systems designer and overall project coordinator.

Robert’s over 25 yrs of direct industry experience includes a lot of studio-based audio and video recording projects, and a huge variety of live event work, including international stadium & convention conferences and concerts. The knowledge acquired working “live” is constantly referenced, ensuring that system and design solutions are practical from a hands-on perspective.

Robert’s design development and technical training is on-going in order to keep pace with the constantly changing state of technical-arts technologies. Robert brings expertise in professional audio, video, and lighting systems design, as well as related fields like acoustics, digital control and user interface systems to the systems-integration plan for building projects, and then helps to ensure the proper implementation of the plans through the construction process.

Robert continues to take industry-related training, but has already had product, concept and system-level training from companies and industry organizations such as Synaudcon, QSC, Sony, EAW, WYSIWYG, Roland, Yamaha, JVC, Harmon Group, Draper, Jands, EASE, Smaart, Kramer, Strand, ETC, Shure and Panasonic.

Joy Lapps-Lewis

Joy Lapps is a musician, composer and arts educator. Her efficiency with the tenor pan and her diverse performance range have led to performances including Toronto’s Afrofest, Muhtadi’s International Drumming Festival, Toronto’s TD Jazz Festival and Antigua’s Moods of Pan Festival. She is also a member and supporter of the Toronto-based steelband, Pan Fantasy.
Joy has released four recordings and most recently an EP of original compositions entitled “Morning Sunrise” (2014) and is currently focused on writing and arranging new music for her ensembles. She recently completed a Masters in Music Composition at York University and looks forward to a new chapter of creation, collaboration and performance.
In addition to her work as a stage musician, Joy spent six years working in various roles at Drum Artz Canada, a registered charity committed to making music and arts programming accessible to all people. She now serves on the DAC board, the Toronto Arts Council Community Arts Committee and the Board of Directors for the Toronto Mass Choir.
During the academic year, she visits various schools as an Ontario Arts Council Artist in Residence. And at venues such at the Downsview Public Library serving as the branch’s Toronto Arts Council Artist in Residence, providing free lessons, workshops and special performances for the community.

Colette Leader-Kalumbi

Colette Leader-Kalumbi is an author, educator and creative soul who loves music. She shares her love of music with children and adults alike, writing books that teach life lessons with musical components and sharing seminars through the Pathfinder Ministry on creativity. She has released two steel pan instrumental albums; one with her sisters and in October 2016, another with her husband titled, “All Nature Sings”. For the last 6 years, Colette has directed the annual Power Up Youth choir and enjoys every minute of it.  With her Masters of Science in Education she is able to mix what she loves with the tools she has obtained to bring others closer to God.
When she is not singing with the Toronto Mass Choir, playing the steel pan with Sisters of Steel, or writing, she continues to work on other creative ventures and ministers alongside her husband, Pascal, in various capacities.

Josette Leader

American-born and Canadian raised, Josette Leader, has been ministering on the steelpan for the past 14 years. She started out in a group called The Leader Sisters/ Sisters of Steel with her sisters, Colette and Zinette. Together, the trio has performed across Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. Over time, Josette has grown to love a variety of musical genres including Classical, Jazz, Afrobeat, Pop and her ultimate favourite, Gospel. While a student at York University, Josette was able to explore these genres as a member of the York Tones Steelband and credits these experiences as playing a pivotal role in the development of her personal style of steelpan performance.
Aside from her time on stage, Josette is pursuing a career as a registered social worker as it combines her passion for helping others and being a change agent for a better tomorrow. In mid 2016, she, along with a partner, founded a community program “Get it Together” which uses creative art as a vehicle to equip youth with life skills, facilitate empowerment through self-expression and to be engaged in their communities.

Stephen Lewis

A musician, songwriter, arranger, producer, clinician, mentor, Gospel Dynamic Duets Executive producer and judge, and most recently the co-founder of Catapult Media & Entertainment Stephen Lewis continues to make an impact in the Christian Music community
Having worked with a number of groups and churches, highlights of Stephen’s ministry include functioning as Music Director for Juno Award winning gospel artist Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale, Assistant Musical Director at Kingdom Covenant Centre, Band Director at Kingsway Community Life Centre, and Musical Director of Music & Worship Arts at Rhema Christian Ministries.
Stephen has several songwriter credits on Canadian and American gospel artist albums,
including co-production of the album “Heart of a Worshipper” with Daniel Weatherspoon; the solo project of Richard J Brown. Most recently, executive production credits for “I AM GOD” the debut album of his wife Alynthia and production credits for Echoes of Praise’s freshman project “Hymns” as well as “In His Presence” by Mount Zion Fellowship Choir.
Through the gifts he possesses and harvesting a spirit of excellence, Stephen continues to write and produce music that transforms lives and ushers believers and non-believers into the presence of God.

James Linderman

James Linderman runs his own songwriting, composing, and recording pre-production facility in Newmarket, Ontario. He teaches guitar, piano and theory as well as contemporary songwriting and composition, in studio, as well as over Skype to students all over the world.
James has been associated with Berklee college of Music in Boston for ten years as an academic advisor and a patron and contributor to the James Linderman Wing, a wing of a Nashville-based academic resource library named for him.
James has been a freelance lead guitarist for many groups and was the worship team electric lead guitarist for the Global Day of Prayer celebration at The Air Canada Centre in Toronto in 2006.
James’ songs have received airplay in the UK and the US and on Canadian Christian radio, ranked in the top 50 songs for overall airplay in 2006 and stayed in the top 10 through most of 2007.
For the last 10 years, James has been a featured guest presenter at a number of music conferences and songwriting workshops. He is also a song assessor for The Songwriters Association of Canada and was the Exclusive Challenge Songwriting Coach for the 2015 Songwriters of Canada 6 Week Songwriting Challenge and is currently a regular columnist and songwriting blogger for Canadian Musician Magazine.

Ali Matthews

A multi-award winning recording artist, Ali Matthews has been a performing songwriter since her teens and has built a strong following across Canada and beyond. She has released 6 critically acclaimed CDs since 2000 on her independent music label, ‘Shake-a-Paw Music’ and her CDs are distributed nationally through David C. Cooke Distribution.

As a graduate of The University of Western Ontario, where she studied English and Drama, song writing is her natural passion. Ali’s song-writing and performing are highly respected in both the Christian and the mainstream music industry due to her accessible, honest lyrics and her ability to weave the “spiritual” into everyday life experiences.

Ali has received 14 GMA Covenant Awards and 34 nominations since 2004. She was a winner in the 2006 International Song-writing Competition, The Canadian National Song-writing Competition, The Word Guild Canadian Writers Awards and she was named Woman of the Year in the City of Stratford for her outstanding contribution to the Arts. She received nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year at the prestigious 2010 and 2011 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards.

Joel Parisien

Joel Parisien is a singer/songwriter from Toronto, Canada, now based in Niagara Falls. He is also the front man/principal writer for gospel group Newworldson, whose accomplishments include:

  • Singing with Nashville-based record label Inpop records (Mat Kearney, newsboys)
  • Earning four Juno© nominations for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album Of The Year: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
  • In 2010, their first single “There Is A Way” peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Music chart for Christian songs (US)
  • In 2012, their second single “Learning To Be The Light” peaking at number 3 (March 24, 2012) and remaining on that same Billboard chart for nearly a year.
  • Headliner for major festivals across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand

Parisien also co-wrote “Kings and Queens”, the comeback single for Grammy-award winning group Audio Adrenaline, which peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Music chart for Christian songs and remained on the chart for the entire calendar year of 2013.

Cassandra Powell (Sommers)

Cassandra has had a love for music from a young age. She studied music at Christian Life College in Stockton, CA. Currently she is the music director at Toronto First Church.
In 2001 she founded the music company, Divinely Orchestrated Music Group where she teaches piano and vocal classes. In 2008, Cassandra was a judge and vocal coach on the show “Gospel Dynamic Duets”. 
In 2010, Cassandra was nominated for a Covenant Award for Gospel Song of the Year for her song “Grateful”.  She travels regularly overseas as a vocal clinician and has helped many churches, schools & organizations with their music programs. Cassandra is also a music professor at Canada Christian College. Whether it be teaching, leading worship or coordinating music events, Cassandra feels passionate about living a life that honours her God-given purpose.

Natalie Stewart

Natalie is a music consultant, clinician, arranger, director, educator, and pianist. She comes from a musical family filled with musicians, worship leaders, psalmists and music producers. After graduating from the Honours Music Programme at McMaster University, she went on to complete her Masters degree in Ethnomusicology at York University with a research focus in gospel music. Natalie believes in using her experience, skills and musical knowledge to invest in others and help them reach their musical potential.

She has been teaching privately and corporately for over 15 years and has taught courses in worship, ear training and musicianship at the post-secondary level. Currently, Natalie keeps busy as the vocal director at Agincourt Pentecostal Church in Toronto. . She is also a music professor in the Music Industry Arts Performance program at Centennial College, and runs her own business offering a litany of musical services including arranging/composing, BGVs, music workshops, consultations and music lessons).


Thursday, February 23


Registration 6:00 – 7:00PM

Vocal Masterclass – “It’s Your Turn!” (Jenna Cowans)

Discovering your voice: Unveiling Your Vocal Potential (Dr. Melissa Davis)

Conducting: The Art Of The Gesture (Karen Burke)

Audio Master Class (Robert Hunter)

Gospel Keys – Boot Camp (Corey Butler)

Lift Off” – Going Deeper! (Pastor Richard Brown)

NEW: Power Up “PLUS”: Our Thursday night ‘Intensives’, offer the more advanced learner the opportunity to be challenged in an environment with other ‘like-minds’. These longer classes (2-hours) give registrants the opportunity to dig deeper into the area that interests them most. Class sizes will be limited and filled on a ‘first-come-first- serve’ basis. Registration is from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.

Friday, February 24


Registration 8:30 – 9:30AM (Please arrive 1/2 hour prior to your first session)

Playing Keys by Ear – Intermediate (Natalie Stewart)

What Every Choir Conductor Needs to Know (Karen Burke)

Steps to Great Vocal Tone (Lavinia Celaire)

Power Up Small Vocal Ensemble – Block 1 (Darren Hamilton)

Song Writing “Demo” Derby (J. Linderman / J. Parisien / A. Matthews/S. Lewis)
The Art of Vocal Style (Nicole Sinclair- Anderson)

Crash Course for Worship Leaders (Cassandra (Sommers) Powell)

Putting It All Together-Keys: Senior (Joy Brown)

Choir 101: ‘Singing Wannabe to Choir Geek’ (Rob Greene)

Steelpan: The FUN-damentals (Josette Leader)

LUNCH BREAK 1:00 – 2:00PM

Hip Hop Dance Intermediate: Part 1 (Gregory Hines)

How To Get Great Sound (Robert Hunter)

Vocal Troubleshooting (Melissa Davis)

Playing Keys by Ear: Intermediate (Natalie Stewart)

Steelpan: The FUN-damentals (Josette Leader)

Steps to Great Vocal Tone (Lavinia Celaire)

The Art of Vocal Style (Nicole Sinclair- Anderson)


Gospel Keys – Advanced (Part 1) (Corey Butler)

Piano Technique – Beginners Only (Dr. Karen Cyrus)

Guitar Master Class – “Now that I’m Singing…What am I going to Play?” (James Linderman)

Singing Together (Cassandra Powell)

Harmonization 1 (Stephen Lewis)

How To Get Great Sound (Robert Hunter)

Hip-Hop Dance Intermediate: Part 2 (Gregory Hines)

Puttin’ the Bach in Gospel (Joy Brown)

DINNER 5:30 6:30PM

Evening Registration Begins 6:30PM

Power Up Small Vocal Ensemble – Block 2 (Darren Hamilton)

Bass Guitar – Beginner/Intermediate (Tim Ball)

Power Up Youth Choir – Part 1 (Colette Leader-Kalumbi)

Power Up Mass Choir Rehearsal (Karen Burke)

Saturday, February 25


Registration 8:30AM

Power UP Your Morning!
(What Everyone Needs to Know About Praise & Worship)
(Pastor Brown)
Power Up Mass Choir Rehearsal (Karen Burke)
Putting It All Together-Keys: Senior (Joy Brown)

Road to Vocal Success Part 1 (Rob Greene)

Singing Together (Cassandra (Sommers) Powell)

Drums – Q&A Masterclass (Rob ‘Beatdown’ Brown)

Gospel Keys – Advanced Part 2 (Corey Butler)

Master Class for Vocalists (Jenna Cowans)

Bass Guitar – Advanced (Tim Ball)

Introduction to Steelpan I (Joy Lapps-Lewis)

Power Up Youth Choir – Part 2 (Colette Leader-Kalumbi)

Power Up Small Vocal Ensemble- Block 3 (Darren Hamilton)

LUNCH BREAK 1:00 – 2:00PM

Piano Technique – Beginners Only (Dr. Karen Cyrus)

Road to Vocal Success -Part 2 (Rob Greene)

Vocal Troubleshooting: Targeting vocal issues and working to resolve them (Dr. Melissa Davis)

Harmonization II (Stephen Lewis)

Introduction to Steelpan II (Joy Lapps-Lewis)

Steps to Great Vocal Tone (Lavinia Celaire)

Drums – Q&A Masterclass (Rob Brown)

Hip Hop Dance – General (Gregory Hines)

BREAK 3:30 – 4:00PM

4:00PM – 5:00PM (Power Up Showcase)

5:00PM – 6:30PM (Final Mass Choir Rehearsal)

Sunday, February 26

Global Kingdom Ministries – 1250 Markham Rd, Scarborough


5:00PM (Mass Choir Rehearsal and Sound Check)

6:00PM (Pre-Concert Gathering)

6:30PM (Concert Begins)

8:30PM (Concert Ends)

** All times and rooms are subject to change **