Toronto Kiwanis Festival Administration
Pam has a BMus in piano and organ, but also plays clarinet, guitar, banjo, ukulele, bagpipes, french horn and the tin whistle. She is also an accredited piano tuner. Pam was an inaugural member of the TEMC Choir School as well as serving as the carillonneur at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church for many years. She played clarinet with the National Youth Orchestra and, of course, in her high school marching band. She was also a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir in its inauguration year – 1977, under Elmer Eisler. Her great-great grandmother was the first female piano soloist with the Toronto Symphony so she comes by this all honestly. Pam has also had an active career as a session musician with many well-known popular performers. If “forced” to, Pam will teach Theory, Harmony and Counterpoint.
This all led to her Arts Administrator work. She became the General Manager of the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival in 1999. Shortly after that she became a member and then President of the Ontario Music Festivals Association. At the National Music Festival (FCMF), the only job she did not hold was Treasurer. She was President for 3 years, and Past-President for 7 years. She was chair of the PR committee, and was a member of the syllabus, financial, social media, planning, Da Capo and many more committees.
She is a strong supporter of the entire music festival system – especially in schools – and has been around long enough to see the results of young competitors now coming back as inspired adjudicators, teachers and performers.
Pam loves the outdoors – she loves kayaking on an Ontario lake or out in the wilds of BC, camping & hiking – this is her happy place. Her workout ethic is stellar – and just so you know – keep your distance from her or she could pop you with her awesome left hook as she took up boxing and Muay Thai over the past few years.
Assistant Festival Administrator
Martha Gregory grew up in Rochester, New York where she studied violin, piano and voice at the Hochstein School of Music,The Eastman School of Music, and Roberts Wesleyan College. Her early administrative training was at Hochsteins where she worked her way up to assistant to the Dean of the School to help pay for her and her siblings’ lessons. She also spent summers working for the Federal government programme to bring arts to the Inner Cities .
Her string studies involved classical and Suzuki methods. In College, she worked at a Major in Music Education and Classical Voice with double minors in Violin and Piano. Marrying in 1974, she moved to Toronto and continued her Voice Studies with Megan Rutledge at the Royal Conservatory of Music and free- lance performing with many orchestras. She also taught for The Toronto District School Board in an out reach programme for strings in Cabbagetown schools.
Martha established a private studio in Pickering in 1982, that she still maintains, and also spent 12 years touring with the Jean McDonald Singers, performing in Choral, Opera and Musical Theatre. Jean was also her first introduction to the Music Festival world by entering her in local competitions.Jean involved her in the Pickering Rotary Festival and also trained her as first Vice-President in the Pickering Metro East Festival. In 2000, Martha took over the Festival and has run an independent Music Festival, the Pickering GTA Music Festival ever since by herself.
After accompanying her competitors from her local to Provincials she was approached to be a Member of the Provincial Board of Directors. Starting as a Member-at-Large and eventually becoming the President of OMFA, she was President for 8 years and has been Past-President for the last 3 years.
After commiserating with Pam Allen about adjudicators, Pam invited her to try her hand at adjudicating in the Toronto Kiwanis, a daunting task indeed! Adjudicating has become her passion for the last 13 years. Martha has enjoyed performing, teaching and promoting Canadian music through her work with music festivals across the country.
She has been performing with the Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra for the last 27 years under Marco Parisotto’s baton and was principal violinist with the Hamstrings of Durham Trio for 12 years, performing at weddings and corporate events. She also enjoyed Christmas Carolling for several years for Corporate and Community Events. Not long ago she was awarded an Ontario Volunteer Service Award for 20 years. Martha has been involved with music festivals for the last 32 years and has retired as the Ontario representative on the National Board of Governors.
Her slice of Heaven is her 2 and a half acre island in the Kawartha’s where she spends as much time as possible 3 seasons of the year. This is where she also met her husband of 48 years.
In July of 2019 she became the Artistic Director of the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, the largest festival of its kind in Canada. She is proud of her local festival that celebrates 21 years this year and having its second virtual festival this February.
Kiwanis Music Festival Executive Officers
George Rowell (Kiwanis Club of Kingsway Humber)
George is married to Laura Somerville; a father of one daughter; grandfather to 2 grandchildren. George spent over 40 years in education as an elementary school teacher and middle school principal
George has been a Kiwanis member since 2003 when he joined the Kiwanis Club of East York where he became staff and Kiwanis Advisor to a Builders Club. He is currently a member of the Kingsway/Humber Kiwanis Club.
George has held a variety of positions in the Kiwaniverse. Currently, he is serving as the Board President of the Toronto Kiwanis Festival.
George has many interests outside of Kiwanis. Golf is a favourite sport, but in the Covid world, reading and fitness are the main pastimes. That and Zoom meetings, and FaceTimes with family.
Ruth Ostrower has been involved with the Kiwanis Festival for over 25 years. She began as a member of the Dance Advisory Committee, before being invited to join the Music Festival Board a few years later. She is currently the Past President of the Festival, while continuing to hold primary responsibility for the Dance Festival.
A long time folk dancer, Ruth is a member of the Performing Arts Educators of Canada (PAEC) at the Fellowship level in International Folk Dance and is also an advisor to their Board of Directors. Ruth is also a member of the organizing committee for the Ontario Folk Dance Camp.
In her other life, Ruth is the Executive Assistant to Michael MacMillan, CEO of Blue Ant Media, a media company he began 10 years ago, after selling Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. in 2007 to Canwest Global and Goldman Sachs. She also sits on the Board of The Samara Centre for Democracy (which Michael co-founded) – an independent charitable organization that encourages citizen engagement with Canadian democracy.
Mary Ellen Trimble (Kiwanis Club of East York)
CURRENT VOLUNTEER POSITIONS
Lieutenant Governor Division Maple Leaf Kiwanis of Eastern Canada and the Caribbean Board Member of the Kiwanis Club of East York
Board Director of the East York Hall of Fame
Member of the East York Historical Society
Executive Member of the Board of the Kiwanis Music Festival of Toronto
PAST VOLUNTEER IN THE COMMUNITY
Past Distinguished President of the Kiwanis Club of East York
Past Chair of the Foundation of East York Kiwanis
Chairperson of the Board of the Wexford Home L.T.C Home
Member of the Board of the Foundation of the Wexford L.T.C. Home
Retired Vice President with Scotia Bank
Retired Project Manager
Lives in East York and Nipissing
Lifetime Learner, Traveller, and Philanthropist
Barry has worked for RBC for the past 8 years and is currently Senior Manager, Initiatives and Implementation for the RBC Group Advantage business. Previous to that, he worked for 11 years in politics spending 8 years at Toronto City Hall and 3 years at Queen’s Park with two Cabinet Ministers. Barry dedicates a great deal of time to volunteering with different organizations and mentoring colleagues. He is the National co-Chair of RBC NextGen, he sits on the Fringe Festival Board, and is the Chair of AS2YP (Autism Speaks 2 Young Professionals).
Barry enjoys baseball (Go Jays!), playing the drums and exploring new places locally and abroad. After growing up in Rockwood, Ontario, Barry now calls East York home where he lives with his partner Jennifer.
Kiwanis Music Festival Board of Directors
Linda Andrews (Keynotes)
Member at Large
Member at Large
Dahlia is an experienced and accomplished lawyer with over 17 years of experience providing strategic legal advice and advocacy across various industries including Music, Broadcasting, Technology, and Hospitality.
Dahlia strongly believes in the value of the involvement of young people in the arts, having had a lifelong involvement with music. In recognition of her philanthropy and commitment to several causes, she was inducted into the prestigious Bertha Wilson Honour Society, presented by the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Induction into the Bertha Wilson Honour Society requires an alumnus or alumna of the school to have made significant contributions in areas such as non-profit or charitable organizations, the legal profession, and their communities.
In addition to her professional endeavours, Dahlia volunteers with a number of organizations including the Toronto District School Board Black Students Advisory Committee, Ontario Bar Association, and the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association.
Dahlia received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Toronto, and her Law degree from Dalhousie University.
Member at Large
Jen Bell is the VP Chief Communications Officer for Open Text. Jen is a seasoned communications, public affairs, marketing and sustainability professional with more than 25 years experience in senior executive roles across a broad range of private, public and not-for-profit organizations.
Most recently Jen served as Principal of Bellwether Communications, providing communications and public affairs guidance and advice to a wide range of clients across numerous sectors. Previously, Jen served as the Vice President of Communications and Corporate Affairs for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Additionally she has held senior roles at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Vale and Alliance Atlantis. Jen also spent more than eight years as a senior political advisor within the Ontario government.
Jen is currently a Trustee for the Royal Ontario Museum and a Director of the Toronto Kiwanis Festival. Previously Jen has served on a number of boards including the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, MaRS Mavens, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Canadian Media Fund and the Empire Club of Canada.
Member at Large
Les Dobbin developed a keen interest and talent for conducting while he was at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, majoring in voice with Louis Quilico and studying orchestral conducting with Victor Feldbrill, Margaret Hillis and Peter McCoppin. He began his career as a choral musician with Lloyd Bradshaw and professionally with Elmer Iseler.
Les Dobbin taught as an itinerant music teacher for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for 33 years. He recently retired as director of the orchestra and bands at John G. Althouse M.S., where the school annually excelled at the Kiwanis Music Festival, winning the Colonel Peacock Trophy in 2002, 2003 and 2006 and the Mary Francis Arrigo award as top jazz performers in 2006. Mr. Dobbin is active as a clinician for the TDSB and Ontario Music Educators Association and as an adjudicator for the Kiwanis Music Festival. Mr. Dobbin has been appointed to the board of directors for the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival. He was the conductor of the Concert Band at Inter-Provincial Music Camp for 10 years and for 30 years had been the Camp Director of the TDSB’s Toronto Summer Music Camp.
Mr. Dobbin continues to conduct the prestigious Etobicoke Youth Band (EYB), enriching the musical lives of over 100 young musicians. Recently he collaborated with Robert W. Smith in a concert of Smith’s works at Koerner Hall, and with Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. The band celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2017.
In 2014, he formed the Toronto Concert Band (TCB) in collaboration with Ken Hazlett. This ensemble, 75 strong, made its debut at the Glenn Gould Studio to great acclaim. As a founding musical director of the TCB, he has broadened his reach to further inspire musicality in adult musicians. Recently he was appointed the director of a new initiative, the Band Enrichment Program at the Royal Conservatory of Toronto.
Mr. Dobbin is a member of Phi Beta Mu, International Bandmasters’ fraternity. He was nominated for the Award of Excellence as an employee of the Etobicoke Board of Education and as a community leader for the EYB in 1986 and 1997 and won the award in 2003 and 2015. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding service to his community.
Heather Horner (Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma)
Member at Large
Heather enjoyed a 35 year career in the investment industry. Her last position was Senior Vice President, Client Service, at Greystone Managed Investments. She retired in 2014.
Heather has been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma since 2000, inspired by the opportunities the Club offered to volunteer in the community. She has served on both KCCL’s Board of Directors as well as the Board of Trustees.
In 2018, Heather joined the board of the Toronto Kiwanis Festival as the representative from the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma. The Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma has been a proud sponsor of the Toronto Kiwanis Festival since it was founded in 1944.
Member at Large
Dr. Feihong Nan is currently working as the Manager of Divisional Research, Analysis, and Assessment in the Office of the Dean at UTM, providing comprehensive, timely and user-friendly information to support data-informed planning, decision-making and continuous improvement at all levels of the university. She was nominated for the 2016 Emerging Leader from the City of Mississauga, recognizing her leadership qualities and business acumen through the development of innovative business solutions. She was also the research and analytical lead for 4 innovative research projects during her PhD study at McMaster and published 12 high impact journal papers. In addition to her work at the university, Feihong is very active in her community and founded the Canadian Division of Yuan Yin Group, organizing annual fund-raising concerts and managing over 200 volunteers and performers in support of the community and accelerating the impact of music collaborations and diverse cultural heritage. She is the recipient of the Heritage Legacy Award from Heritage Mississauga which recognizes her contributions and work in bringing generations together to work towards a common purpose. Also, she was invited to perform Guzheng (Chinese Zither) and Qin (UNESCO Intangible Heritage) music for the Album of ”Asia Beauty”, which received 2016 Grammy Nominations for Best New Age Album.
Member at Large
Heather Newsome is a retired Music Teacher. She has taught in England, and Kenya, and for the last 15 years of her career at St. Clement’s School, Toronto where she conducted the Choirs, taught Music in the Elementary School, and co-directed 6 Musicals with the Upper School. Heather is enjoying supply teaching at Havergal Junior School, and organ playing, as well as singing with two Church choirs, and a Rock Choir.
Hugh Anthony Simmonds (Toronto Caribbean Kiwanis Club)
Member at Large
Hugh Anthony, PhD is a storyteller, speaker and strategist who is a tri-sector athlete with multi-sector engagements and experiences in higher education, not-for-profit and the services sector. He is a Distinguished President and the Charter President of the Kiwanis Club of Toronto Caribbean (KCTC). He is the club’s representative on the Toronto Kiwanis Festival Board.
Hugh is an avid volunteer and believes ‘service is the rent we pay for living’. He serves on several boards that amplify social impact, diversity and inclusion, economic well-being and sustainability for children, youth and community. He was nominated in 2015 for the 50+1 Emerging Black Leaders Award in the Greater Toronto Area in recognition of his leadership and commitment to youth and community engagement. Hugh Anthony was selected as the Keynote Speaker for the Kiwanis International’s inaugural Education and Leadership Conference – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit.
Hugh Anthony is currently a Certified Leadership Education Trainer for Kiwanis International; President of the Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation (934); Director of the Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation (1081) and Co-Chair of the Kevin Pollard Memorial Scholarship Fund. Previously, he has served on a number of boards including the Clarendon College Alumni Association–Toronto Chapter; University of Technology Board of Governors and Kiwanis International Service Leadership Program – Circle K International.
In addition to his voluntary endeavours, he is the Head of Strategy, Culture and Inclusion at The New Humanity Initiative; former Teaching Faculty at Ryerson University and the University of Waterloo. He received his PhD from the University of Waterloo with a focus on leadership, culture and service; with graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of the West Indies. He is a cinephile, coffeephile, oenophile, gastronome, and traveller and he loves the performing arts, even though he has now hung up his professional dancing shoes.
Tim Simpson (Toronto Kiwanis Club)
Member at Large
Lt. Col. G.W. Peacock and Sir Ernest MacMillan
In conjunction with the following founding Kiwanis Clubs:
Toronto Club, West Toronto Club, Riverdale Club, North Toronto Club and the East York Club
Kiwanis Clubs of Greater Toronto that support the Toronto Kiwanis Festival
Are you interested in becoming a member of a Kiwanis Club in your area or want to see some of the many sponsored projects that Kiwanis supports?
Please go to the Kiwanis GTA Clubs’ Website: