Instructors, Workshops & Schedule

Festival of Voices MAY 10 to 12, 2024 in Smithers BC

2024 Instructors

Festival of Voices 2024 is thrilled to welcome these SIX exquisitely talented instructors!

Wendy Nixon Stothert

Wendy's WORKSHOPS (click here to open & close)


Do you love to sing pop songs? We’ll assemble high, medium, and low voice parts of well-known and loved contemporary tunes to sing quick and satisfying arrangements. Everyone always gets a turn on the melody. The Pop-Up Choir format is accessible to new and experienced singers and no music reading is necessary.

SINGLE SESSION WORKSHOP: Circle Singing and Vocal Improv

Let’s get creative and make our own music in the moment! We’ll explore the building blocks of music (groove, bass line, melody, harmony) vocally to develop collaborative vocal improvisations in any number of styles. We will use structured improv exercises and games to “play in the soundbox” with our voices, and to work on deep listening, sensing, leading, and following.

Wendy's BIO (click here to open & close)

Wendy Nixon Stothert, B.Ed, M.EdL, began playing piano and singing at age 6 and was hooked on Music study from then on. She is currently the choral conductor for 7 different adult community choirs in the Comox Valley, including the three Just in Time Choirs, the Canadian Military Wives Choir – Comox, the Berwick Choir, the CV Pop-Up Choir, and her latest project, the drop-in, non-performing Resonation Good Vibes Song Circle. Wendy taught K-12 Music, Band and Choir in the area for over 15 years. As a performer, you can hear Wendy sing as a soloist and with her 80’s cover band, Ricochet! Wendy spearheads Choral Valley,, a project that aims to help singers and choirs grow through Workshop offerings.

A life-long learner at heart, Wendy completed her Masters of Educational Leadership degree at Vancouver Island University in 2012, being awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal for academic achievement. Wendy’s Masters degree inquiry centered on Music Performance Anxiety in choral singers. She has been a Finalist in the Local Hero Award – Community Builder category and was the Arts Ambassador Winner in 2022. Aside from spending quality time with her family, facilitating rewarding singing experiences with people to help spread positivity and connection in community through music is one of her greatest joys.

Patti Powell

Patti's WORKSHOPS (click here to open & close)

TWO PART WORKSHOP: Songs for Living Together

Humans have used songs to survive, to thrive and to sustain us through grief and pain. We will learn songs for growing, loving, working, just hanging out, making change, and sustaining our spirits thru this era. The right song can keep our sense of humour alive – essential for these times! We’ll learn tunes to take home to share with your communities, to bring song and ritual back in to life at work and home and the world.


Have you ever wanted songs that you can just pull out and share with friends at the park, or around the table, or out on the street? We’ll learn cool layer-songs, grooves, rounds, chants and little quickies you can enjoy with your communities. There’s a song for every occasion! We’ll sing a pocket-full!

Patti's BIO (click here to open & close)

Patti grew up with a significant stutter, which made speaking up in public a difficult experience. However, there was no difficulty in singing – a liberating revelation. This liberation brings joy and belonging with it, and she believes everyone has a right to this, as part of being human. If you have a pulse, and breathe (even if only occasionally!), she knows singing is for YOU.

A graduate of the Community Choir Leadership Training program in Victoria, Patti has been bringing the joy of singing to many ordinary folks through her four community choirs since 2006. Her charisma, natural high energy leadership skills and warm personality bring an atmosphere of cheerful community spirit to the choirs. She leads 3 community choirs in the greater Vancouver area, and solos and conducts for the popular City Soul Choir, under the direction of Karla Mundy. wPlus, she plays great party guitar!

Jeff Harden

Jeff's WORKSHOPS (click here to open & close)

BONUS WORKSHOP (Friday 4:30pm): Live Performance skills

“Do you suffer from stage fright? Does the prospect of singing or speaking in front of a group excite you AND make you wanna throw up in your mouth? This group class will help singers manage their stage fright by teaching them actual performance skills , giving perspective on where the stage fright comes from and how to move forward with confidence.

SINGLE SESSION WORKSHOP: Real-time choir improvisation

In the style of Jacob Collier or Bobby McFerrin… together in this single-session workshop, we will learn to sing a spontaneous song by layering simple harmonies and rhythms, using call and response, all that leads to a performance of a simple, but beautiful choral song.

Jeff's BIO (click here to open & close)

Jeff Harden is a singer, songwriter, media composer, musician, and music teacher. Most importantly, however, he is the loving husband of Eva, his high school sweetheart, now married 27 years.

Jeff and Eva have 3 adult boys, Josiah, Liam, and Eli. They live in the picturesque northern town of Smithers, British Columbia.
In his early years as a young boy, Jeff has always had a great ear for singing, finding harmony parts, singing regularly on stage with his father, Tim Harden, who was the tenor singer for the well-known Canadian Southern Gospel Quartet, The Watchmen, for over 57 years before passing away in 2022.

He became an integral member of the prestigious Cambridge Kiwanis Boys Choir, where at the age of 11 he traveled around Canada and Europe. He also started classical piano lessons with the Royal Conservatory of Music at age 6, taking that particular training through college to his Grade 10 RCM)

At the age of 12, he formed The Reporters Quartet with his dad, and they studio recorded an acapella album. Jeff also received first place in musical composition for his age category with the Kiwanis Music Festival and began to learn how to play numerous other musical instruments.

Jeff has directed and performed in many musical/theatre productions while continuing to build his craft by studying for his Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music at Prairie Bible College (2.5 of 4 years completed).

Over his musical career, Jeff has had the privilege of singing/playing piano on stage with many of the best in gospel music, with the likes of Greater Vision, The Talley Trio, Guy Penrod, Marshall Hall, The Martins, The Booth Brothers, The Watchmen Quartet, Steve Green, Mark Lowry, Valiant, and The Heading Home Trio, just to name a few. At the beginning of 2020, Jeff started composing/orchestrating music for music production libraries, beyond releasing some of his compositions to streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube. Please view Jeff also placed 3rd in a scoring competition created by Jon Meyer, a prominent YouTuber and Instrument Sampler connected to the PianoBook community.

To see the review please view

After years of singing, playing, and instructing other musicians and singers privately in Ontario, as well as extensively traveling across Canada as the Home Piano and Specialty Keyboards Product Specialist for Roland Canada for 3 years, Jeff now calls Smithers, BC home and is establishing his music teaching practice a after moving west.

Jenny Lester

Jenny's WORKSHOPS (click here to open & close)

BONUS WORKSHOP (Friday 4:30pm): Harmony for Popular Hits

Want some ideas for harmony lines to songs by John Prine, Van Morrison, Johnny Cash and beyond? Let’s explore lots of favourite choruses and create different harmony parts.

TWO PART WORKSHOP: 3-Part Harmony Bluegrass Style

This rewarding 3-part harmony singing workshop teaches singers how to establish predictability and offers a shared dialogue. It guides 3-part harmony singers in maintaining a consistent harmony that aligns positionally with the melody, facilitating by ear the creation of instant three-part harmony. The workshop focuses on helping individuals distinguish between folk harmony and organized harmony, resulting in lush, 3-part arrangements without the need for an arranger.

Jenny's BIO (click here to open & close)

Jenny Lester is a dynamic Canadian Bluegrass performer and recording artist who has established herself as an important singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her original songs are carefully crafted in the bluegrass convention while at the same time displaying a contemporary freshness and vitality that breathes new life into the fabled “high lonesome” sound. Jenny is a veteran stage performer, beginning on the fiddle at age eight with her family’s Driftwood Canyon Family Band out of Smithers, BC.

Sharon Carrington

Sharon & Jen's WORKSHOP (click here to open & close)

TWO PART WORKSHOP: There’s no business like show business!

Our musical theatre workshop will feature singing, acting and some movement. You need a creative mind (silliness encouraged) and all skill levels are welcome to
participate. We will also have rhythm and some singing games and just general tomfoolery so you can be comfortable entertaining the masses!​


Sharon's BIO (click here to open & close)

Sharon’s formal training is anchored with a M Div (Lutheran Seminary) and ARCT (voice/piano).

She has performed at Rainbow Stage and Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, Minneapolis, San Diego, California and Miami, Florida. Sharon has taught musical theatre for 25 years at Creative Roots in Smithers and has had many students continue their careers nationally and internationally. She loves to sing, act and dance which is the perfect combination to offer the Festival of Voices workshop. She was able to bring a group of choristers to perform at Carnegie Hall, NYC in 2018. She was a BCCF director for North Western BC and has sat on the Festival of Voices executive since its inception. Sharon is dark chocolate with a nibble of chilli… Know her for her open-mouthed hilarity and sanguine spirit.

She continues to operate her studio as she has for the past 57 years.

Jenn McGibbon

Sharon & Jen's WORKSHOPS (click here to open & close)

TWO PART WORKSHOP: There’s no business like show business!

Our musical theatre workshop will feature singing, acting and some movement. You need a creative mind (silliness encouraged) and all skill levels are welcome to
participate. We will also have rhythm and some singing games and just general tomfoolery so you can be comfortable entertaining the masses!​



Jen's BIO (click here to open & close)

“Hello, my name is Jennifer and I am so excited and honoured to be a part of this weekend! I have been doing musical theatre since I was 4 years old with over a decade of vocal lessons, multiple choirs, and many many acting classes through my theatre degree at UVIC. I was also an internationally touring salsa dancer for 8 years when I lived on Vancouver Island. I toured to Puerto Rico, New York, Seattle, Portland and all over the lower mainland performing and competing. My heart and soul are with the arts and I can’t wait to share that with everyone.”

$325 • Adult EARLY BIRD
until March 15, 2024 (SAVE $50)

$375 • Adult REGULAR
until April 22, 2024

$200 • Youth EARLY BIRD (age 13-18)
until March 15, 2024 (SAVE $50)

$250 • Youth REGULAR (age 13-18)
until April 22, 2024

Cancellation Policy

  • up to April 12, 2024 – a full refund
  • after April 12, 2024 – no refund
    (you are welcome to find your own replacement for your registration spot)
    If you are in a bind, please contact us at and we will endeavour to help.
VIEW Schedule (click to open & close)


Friday May 10

  • 3:30-6pm Registration (HALL)
  • 4:30-5:45 Bonus Sessions for early arrivals (Choose 1)
    Harmony for Popular Hits – Jenny (Hall or Schoolhouse)
    Live Performance Skills – Jeff (Hall or Schoolhouse)
  • 6:00-6:45 Dinner (HALL)
  • 7:00-9:30 Mass Choir Rehearsal (HALL)

Saturday May 11


  • 8:30-8:45am Physical & Vocal warm up (HALL)
  • 8:45-9:45am Mass Choir Rehearsal (HALL)

Break 15 minutes

TWO PART workshops: 1st part

  • 10-11:30 Wendy – Pop-Up Choir (TBA)
  • 10-11:30 Patti – Songs for Living Together (TBA)
  • 10-11:30 Jenny – 3-Part Harmony Bluegrass Style (TBA)
  • 10-11:30 Sharon/Jen – There’s no business like show business! (TBA)

Lunch 11:30-1pm (HALL)


  • 1-2:30 Jeff – Real-time choir improvisation (TBA)
  • 1-2:30 Wendy – Circle Singing and Vocal Improv (TBA)
  • 1-2:30 Patti – Yummy Pocket Songs (TBA)

Break 15 minutes

TWO PART workshops: 2nd part

  • 3-4:30 Wendy – Pop-Up Choir (TBA)
  • 3-4:30 Patti – Songs for Living Together (TBA)
  • 3-4:30 Jenny – 3-Part Harmony Bluegrass Style (TBA)
  • 3-4:30 Sharon/Jen – There’s no business like show business! (TBA)

Break 1.25 hour


  • 5:30-6:30 Happy Hour/Sing for Your Supper (HALL)
  • 6:30 pm Dinner (HALL)
  • 8:00 pm Clinician Concert (HALL)

Sunday May 12


  • 8:30-8:45 Physical/Vocal Warm up (HALL)
  • 8:45-10:00 Mass Choir Rehearsal (HALL)

Break 15 minutes

10:15-11:00 Workshop Rehearsals (2 part)

  • Wendy – Pop-Up Choir (TBA)
  • Patti – Songs for Living Together (TBA)
  • Jenny – Jenny – 3-Part Harmony Bluegrass Style (TBA)
  • Sharon/Jen – There’s no business like show business! (TBA)

Break 15 minutes

11:15-12:00 Workshop Rehearsals (Single Sessions)

  • Jeff – Real-time choir improvisation (TBA)
  • Wendy – Circle Singing and Vocal Improv (TBA)
  • Patti – Yummy Pocket Songs (TBA)

Lunch/Last Minute Rehearsals 12-1:30 (HALL)

Afternoon Concert

2:00 pm Concert (HALL) • Admission by Donation


DOWNLOAD Schedule as PNG »

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Festival of Voices 2022 Sponsors

— voices from the festival —


The Festival of Voices is the best place to learn new music, meet new friends, build skills and build community. The instructors are amazing and I came away full of inspiration and new ideas to try. The sense of community, especially when singing gospel songs together, was uplifting!

~ emily bulmer


— voices from the festival —



What an exciting and encouraging weekend! I have learned SO MUCH and am going home stoked to SING!

~ joanne vinnedge


— voices from the festival —


What more could I ask for? A weekend of singing with all my dear friends and meeting new people! It renews my soul and flushes out winter's cobwebs. The beautiful weather and venue was the icing on the cake!

~ ingunn reinsbakken


— voices from the festival —


What an exceptionally well-organized and fun event. The clinicians had a great diversity of skills and talents to share. They co-facilitated the large group sessions seamlessly with great energy and humour and the smaller group sessions were a great opportunity to explore a variety of musical styles and techniques. 

~ emma tius


— voices from the festival —


This weekend was very healing for me, bringing some much-needed joyful balance into my life.... I feel the voice is a tool for healing and mobilizing energy. I have a renewed heart to take back to my community. It was very thoughtfully organized by a great group of people. The artists were amazing.

~ cheri reidy


Sing Out Loud

Festival of Voices 2013 – some of the braver participants got us all up and groovin' at the Sunday morning Gospel Workshop on the final day of our fabulous weekend singing workshop.

Morning Vocal Warmups

Better than coffee! Tho we'll have hot mugs of java on hand. You'll love these happy vocal warmups with a great crowd of people. Ain't nothing better on a sunny sing song morning at Glenwood Hall, in Smithers, BC.