A bit more about us . . .

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Jacob Caines

Jacob Caines is a conductor, musicologist, and teacher in the Halifax area. Having studied music education and conducting at Acadia University, he went on to complete a Master of Arts in Musicology at the University of Ottawa. Jacob's thesis was focussed on the Eastman School of Music and their first wind ensemble conductor, Frederick Fennell. During his graduate work, Jacob was an active conductor in the Ottawa area, focussing on local professional and semi-professional theatre groups. Performances included Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, Lully's ballet Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Rogers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, and several other graduate theatre productions. After graduating from the University of Ottawa, he accepted the position of Director of Music and Choir Director with the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and the Canadian Unitarian Council as their Music Director at the annual national conference. It was at this time that Jacob co-founded and became Artistic Director for Sesquisharp Productions. Although Sesquisharp began as a production company that focussed on performing new music in new spaces, it quickly evolved into an organization that prides itself on reinventing the entirety of the concert experience. From new music in new spaces to innovation and reinvention. 

Having recently moved back to Nova Scotia, Jacob has been working as the Conductor of the Fountain School of Performing Arts Wind Ensemble at Dalhousie University as well saxophone and clarinet faculty member at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. His work with the FSPAWE has been focussed on creating multi-disciplinary shows that encourage students to broaden their understanding of art forms and new music in the traditional wind ensemble setting. As a performer and clarinetist, Jacob has performed with the Atlantic Wind Orchestra and the National Concert Band. Jacob has also been on the clarinet/woodwinds faculty of the Acadia Summer Academies and the University of New Brunswick Summer Music Camps. He has also been a lecturer and presenter with Leslie University, CAMMAC, SCANS, and various High Schools and honour bands and choirs across Ontario, Nova Scotia, PEI, and new Brunswick. Jacob is an advocate for lifelong music education, community through art, and cultivating a love of all art forms and music genres in performers and audiences.

Jacob also founded and runs ClassicalQueer.com, a site that showcases interviews with Queer, 2SLGBTQ+, and Trans+ people working in the classical arts. 



Megan Johnson

Megan is a performer, dramaturg, performance scholar, and arts administrator. A classically-trained mezzo-soprano, she maintains a fluidity between musical genres in her singing—delving into opera, operetta, art song, music theatre, jazz, and contemporary music. In addition to her extensive recital work, selected stage credits include Little Buttercup in HMS Pinafore with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia, Yu Xianji in Vocalypse's world premiere staging of the opera Trudeau: Long March/Shining Path, composed by D.D. Jackson with libretto by George Elliott Clarke, as well as Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado and the Witch in Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel with the Acadia University Singing Theatre Ensemble. As the Witch in Hansel and Gretel Opera Canada Magazine described Megan as "dynamic [and] exciting", noting that she "completely took over the stage while on or near it." 

Megan has trained as a dramaturg with Mark Bly and Adrien Alice Hansel at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and with Brian Quirt in Toronto. Previously a Program Coordinator at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, AB she is currently a PhD student in the Theatre & Performance Studies department at York University. Megan holds an MA in theatre & performance studies from York University, an MA in musicology from the University of Ottawa, and a BMus in vocal performance from Acadia University. Her doctoral research—which centres on disability performance, infrastructural politics, and inclusive dramaturgy—explores how the creation practices of disability-identified performers in Canada intersect with frameworks of disability justice. In recent years Megan has turned to practice-based-research methodologies to serve her interest in both academic inquiry and live performance.  

Megan is currently based in Toronto. 



Ethan Lawler

Raised in Chicago, Illinois, and later moving to Memphis, Tennessee, Ethan now calls Halifax, Nova Scotia home. In Memphis, he completed a B.A. in Music with a focus on bass trombone performance, with a bit of composition, audio engineering, and sound recording on the side. Along the way, he has picked up a wide variety of musical interests from bluegrass, indie rock, and electro-acoustic music to symphonies, chamber music, and jazz bands. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies in statistics at Dalhousie University, but maintains an active second life in the arts.

On trombone, he has performed a number of new works including Dream by Andrew Cadima, The Felix Variations by David Del Tredici, and the world premiere of slushpump//deathgrip by David Shotsberger. He also has no problem shamelessly adapting works written for other instruments, performing, on trombone, pieces such as Le Grand Tango by Astor Piazzolla, Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt, and even the cello part for the finale of Beethoven’s Eroica. In addition to trombone, Ethan has also performed on trumpet, horn, tuba, and even the banjo.

Ethan’s somewhat sporadic composition career started in high school where he won a state-wide award for the choral piece Luna lux lucis, his very first composition. Since then, he has had performances of his works a ghra mo chroi for flute and string quartet, O Death for voice and piano, Gott sei gelobet for low brass quartet, and The Beauty of the Northern Lights for voice, piano, and small ensemble. His influences include Arvo Pärt, Jennifer Higdon, Giya Kancheli, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, and many others.