our Artistic Director
Heather Fraser maintains an active career as a choral conductor, music educator and collaborative pianist in Nova Scotia. She is the Artistic Director of both the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir and The Aeolian Singers, and music specialist for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education and its Halifax Regional Arts Program.
A dynamic and energetic educator, Heather is an active clinician, presenter and adjudicator. Passionate about the power of choral music to build community, she acted as Program Director for the Nova Scotia Choral Federation for seven years, and sits on many program committees. She is also privileged to serve the Advocacy and National Youth Choir Committees for Choral Canada, and was heavily involved in the National Choral Census project.
Heather is grateful to have had the opportunity to study conducting and pedagogy with mentors across Canada and the USA. She was honoured to be the first conductor in Pro Coro Canada’s emerging artist program, a Conducting Fellow with the Canadian Chamber Choir and was Apprentice Conductor of the National Youth Choir of Canada under the guidance of Dr. Victoria Meredith.
our Assistant Director
Joanne Slack has been making music with piano, organ and voice from the age of six. She completed her Royal Conservatory Grade 10 in Piano in Ottawa, and continued singing, directing and playing the organ for churches in her home neighbourhood. A member of the Aeolians since 1989, choir was instrumental in her decision to study piano and voice at Dalhousie University where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in 1997. There she studied choral conducting and sang with the Dalhousie Chamber Choir under the tutelage of Dr. Walter Kemp and enjoyed performing and singing in the Opera Group with Professor Gregory Servant. She completed two composition courses with composer and Professor Laura Hoffman. Joanne taught voice and piano privately from 1998 through 2004 in the Halifax area, and since then was appointed the Assistant Conductor of the Aeolian Singers under previous director Jackie Chambers.
Mary Castello, is the Staff Accompanist for the School of Music at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and is an active freelance pianist. Mary is currently the accompanist for the Aeolian Singers in Halifax, and a member of the Manning Chapel Choir in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. She is an alumna of the operatic training programs Opera NUOVA in Edmonton, AB; COSI in Sulmona, Italy; Opera McGill; and Opera on the Avalon. In July of 2016, Mary participated in the Franz-Schubert-Institut master course “Poetry and Performance of the German Lied” in Austria. In 2016 – 2017, she was a member of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program at Vancouver Opera, and in summer of 2018, an Apprentice Artist at Opera Saratoga.
Mary holds the MMus in Collaborative Piano Performance from McGill University. She is a member of the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers Association, maintaining a private teaching schedule in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in addition to her work at Acadia University.