The Leadership Team & Board Members

We are so thankful for our leadership team. This outstanding group of individuals bring not only a high level skill set to the organization but hearts filled with compassion and a passionate commitment to the vision of Voices in Motion.

Erica Phare-Bergh (B.Mus, Dip.Ed, M.Mus)

Erica Phare-Bergh (B.Mus, Dip.Ed, M.Mus)

Artistic Director, Voices in Motion

The first Artistic Director and conductor of Voices in Motion has been directing choirs for over 30 years. Her first term paper at McGill University as an undergraduate was entitled The Benefits of Music for Alzheimer’s Victims. That was back in 1983, after her grandmother died from Alzheimer’s. Erica brings a big skill set and positive energy to the choir. She arranges most of the music sung by all of the Voices in Motion choirs. She is a published arranger with Cypress Choral Music and is in demand as an adjudicator, guest conductor and choral clinician. She directed the McGill Conservatory Choirs and taught music at Vanier College in Montreal. In 2010, she moved to Calgary and directed the William Aberhart High School choirs, Savridi Singers and Westwinds Green Choir. Now in Victoria, Voices in Motion has become her passion. She has learned so much from these wonderful singers, aged 8 to 100.

Debra Sheets (Ph.D., MSN, RN, FAAN)

Debra Sheets (Ph.D., MSN, RN, FAAN)

Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Victoria | Lead Researcher and Founder of Voices in Motion

Dr. Sheets is an affiliate of the Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria and is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), the Gerontological Society of America and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). Her research interests focus on gerontology and geriatric nursing—and in particular dementia, technology in home care, caregiving, and the humanities and arts in aging.

She has been published in the Journal of Aging, Humanities and the ArtsInternational Journal of the Humanities, International Journal of the Arts in Society and Generations.  Currently she serves on the editorial boards of The Gerontologist, Gerontology and Geriatrics in Higher Education, Canadian Journal of Nursing Research and Home Health Care Services Quarterly.  In 2014 she served as guest editor for a special issue on Family Caregiving for the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.

Rick Bergh (M.Div., CT, NT)

Rick Bergh (M.Div., CT, NT)

Executive Director, Voices in Motion

Rick brings a wealth of nonprofit and marketing expertise to his role with Voices in Motion. In addition, he has well over 33 years of bereavement education and counseling experience. His narrative therapy and grief counseling background allows him to help people transition through loss as well as understand the complexities of grief that arise when families journey with a loved one who has memory loss. Rick began singing with the Voices in Motion choirs initially to support his wife, but since joining has been inspired by the individuals who find joy in the midst of their challenges. As a result, he now sings in three of the ViM choirs. Rick has published numerous books dealing with bereavement and meaning-making. As a thanatologist, he offers workshops and training across Canada. He has been heard frequently on CBC Radio as a story-teller.

Garry Wickett, BA, BSW, MSW (UBC 1965)

Garry Wickett, BA, BSW, MSW (UBC 1965)

Board Member

Garry and wife Adele (BScN 1965) after graduation spent two years in Manipal, Karnatika State, India with Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO). Garry was doing community development work which included starting a social service department in a hospital and Adele taught nursing. Returning to Canada Garry spent five years with Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship as a youth worker in camps and schools.  He then went on to assist in the start-up of the first child and youth psychiatric unit in Victoria where he spent four years.  Following this he ran a book store and eventually he returned to psychiatric social work where he worked for fifteen years as a group psychotherapist in Victoria.  Over the years he has served on several boards and been involved in a variety of volunteer organizations.  Adele was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016 and since that time we have also participated in a drug study before joining the Voices in Motion choir.

Sue Goldsack

Sue Goldsack

Board Member

B.Ed. in Secondary Education, M.D.D.E (Master’s Degree in Distance Education), Diploma in Journalism and a Professional Photographer Designation from the New York institute of Photography.

I have been teaching high school for the last 40 years.  Thirty of those at St. Andrew’s Regional High School, during this time I spend 25 years working as a course creator and marker at South Island Distance Ed. School. I work also in the online environment at an online high school.  I have taught at the college level and have been involved in developing a course in good online practice.  I got involved in ViM as a teacher sponsor for our school.  It has changed the way I look at music and its effect on the brain.

Barbara McLean

Barbara McLean

Board Member

Passionate about enabling the creative spirit that dwells in individuals and organizations at all levels of artistic practice, Barbara’s career in the arts, culture and education sectors across Canada has included a diverse range of programs, places and community engagement experiences.

Prior to moving to Victoria in 2017, Barbara was a Cultural Planner with the North Vancouver Recreation & Culture Commission where she administered municipal grants programs, developed strategies and cultural policy to support artists, creative sector and community arts organizations, and public art projects on Vancouver’s North Shore. Her career in arts administration has included work as Arts Program Manager at 2010 Legacies Now, an organization created to develop artistic legacies in communities throughout British Columbia leading up to, during, and beyond the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. In addition, Barbara has held senior management positions with the Winnipeg and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, worked in the media arts program at the Banff Centre, lead the marketing team at the Open Learning Agency/Knowledge Network, and taught in the Arts Management program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo with a Recreation Administration major and Music Performance minor.

Now retired from full time work, Barbara maintains a busy schedule in Victoria as a board member with the Voices in Motion choir, a volunteer teaching assistant with the Inter Cultural Association of Victoria, and active musician as a violinist with the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wendy Casey

Wendy Casey

Board Member

Wendy was surrounded by music from day one with a very talented musical father. She has sung in choirs from a young age, with her last many years as an alto or soprano with The Maple Leaf Singers, Vancouvers oldest show choir. She recently returned to Vancouver Island to care for her ailing mother who has Dementia and when she heard of the Voices In Motion choir, she immediately signed up with her Mom. An avid motorcyclist, Wendy brings musical, corporate, marketing, and entrepreneurial experience with her and when offered a chance to be on the Board, she leapt at the opportunity to be involved! 

Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips

Board Member

Michael was born in Plymouth, England and early in life he acquired a yearning for travel. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1957 and spent 35 years as an aircrew officer, rising through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel. He has a degree in Political Science and is a graduate of the Royal Air Force Staff College in Bracknell, UK. He had numerous other staff functions including Mayor of the Town Council for RCAF Greenwood. He met and married Isabel in 1963 and they have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

After retiring from the RCAF, he entered the financial world and is a registered financial planner and a graduate of the Canadian Securities licensing programme. He worked with the Canadian Forces providing lectures and seminars to new retirees in all aspects of financial planning.

Both Michael and Isabel are avid travellers and hikers and have visited and trekked in most countries of the world. Michael has climbed both Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Baker and cycled across Canada in 2008. He has run marathons and many 10k races and in 2014, Isabel joined him in the annual TC10K and took the gold medal in her age category.

Both are members of the Outdoor Club of Victoria where Michael served as President and also of the Cordova bay 55Plus Association where Michael was also President and Isabel as Programme Chair.

Isabel was diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease in 2011. This was devastating news for such an active person. Michael became an instant Caregiver but he decided to continue with their world travels.This included travelling with the Love of Africa Society to Tanzania and assisting in building a school in the capital, Dodoma. They also went to Antarctica, Easter Island, Nepal, the Trans Siberian Railway from Beijing to St Petersburg, UK, Austria, France, Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland, Sabah, Borneo, W.Australia and finally back to Austria in 2017 where Isabel climbed her last mountain above Obergurgl. She entered full time care at Trillium Douglas Care 20 August 2019.

Louise Parton

Louise Parton

Board Member

Louise is retired from a full time active career in the Hearing Health Profession; she owned and operated Greater Victoria Hearing Consultants in Downtown Victoria for over 50 years.

As an active volunteer and advocate for her Profession and Community, she has, and continues to work with many organizations, participating on International, National, Provincial, Municipal and Community Boards and Committees. In recognition of her service she was honoured in 2002 to receive the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee medal and award for service.

Although Louise still maintains a busy schedule she is committed to the Mandate of the Voices in Motion Choral Society and is looking forward to supporting, promoting and serving on the Board of Directors.

Deborah Austin

Deborah Austin

Board Member

An accomplished singer and performer Deborah has performed in musicals and choirs for over 20 years. She has performed in Pirates of Penzance (Mabel), Frontenac Superstars (choir), Music Man (Marion the Librarian), Mikado (YumYum) plus numerous solo performances.   

Graduated Registered Nursing Assistant and Westervelt College in Travel and Tourism

Performed in the Masters Performance class at Western Ontario Conservatory and sang and studied music under various coaches ever since.

Deborah worked in the hospital/ clinic in Ras Tanura Saudi Arabia where she learned Arabic.

She taught school in Dhahran, Yanbu and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Started a travel agency in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia and organized and led trips to India, Djibouti, Jordan and Syria.

Helped  open two international schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Built, opened, owned and managed a franchise of The Body Shop in London, Ontario

Helped open a “Restore” (Habitat for Humanity) in London, Ontario.

Currently co-owner of  Vector Yacht Services repair and haul out facility in Sidney, BC. along with her husband.

Currently sings with Capriccio Vocal Ensemble in Victoria and ProMusica of Arizona.

Deborah’s mother spent the last 10 years of her life dealing with dementia. Deborah felt like a helpless spectator throughout these years. Now, as part of ViM Deborah can finally do something to help to support these families and contribute to research to deal with, and potentially cure dementia in it’s varying forms.

Research Advisors to the Board

Stuart MacDonald (Ph.D.)

Stuart MacDonald (Ph.D.)

Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Victoria | Co-Lead Researcher, Voices in Motion

Since earning his PhD degree in Life-Span Psychology in 2003, Dr. Stuart MacDonald has made scholarly contributions to the fields of cognitive aging and the cognitive neuroscience of aging. Upon completing his post-doctoral training at the Aging Research Centre of the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden), Stuart relocated to Victoria, Canada where he is presently an Associate Professor of Lifespan Development and Aging at the University of Victoria. In 2013/14, Stuart received The Margret M. and Paul B. Baltes Foundation Award in Behavioral and Social Gerontology, and in recognition of early career accomplishments, was inducted in 2015 as a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada.

Stuart’s programmatic research focuses on cognitive aging and early identification of those at risk for cognitive decline and disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease. He examines patterns and predictors of cognitive decline in older adults, paying particular attention to variability, or inconsistency, in responses over time. His research suggests that variability in response profiles may be more sensitive than mean performance for early identification of those at risk of cognitive decline, dementia, or death.  Google Scholar credits him with an H index of 39, based on over 80 refereed publications.  Stuart’s research has been funded by operating grants totaling more than $16.7 million dollars (over $2.3 million as Principal Investigator), and has been supported by various granting agencies both within Canada (e.g., Alzheimer Society of Canada, Canadian Frailty Network, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) as well as from international contexts including Germany, Sweden, and the United States of America (e.g., U.S. National Institutes of Health, Swedish Research Council, Max Planck International Research Network on Aging).

Andre Smith

Andre Smith

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria | Co-Lead Researcher, Voices in Motion

Dr. Smith has research interests in the areas of aging, mental health, ethnicity, and blood donation. His research program reflects a desire to understand the intersectionality of health and health-related behavior and their wider socio-cultural, institutional, and familial dimensions.

Dr. Smith is affiliated with the University of Victoria’s Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health and has received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Dr. Smith has studied the diagnostic experiences of individuals with dementia and their family caregivers. His current research program examines how institutions, regulatory environments, and organizational cultures influence health care practices with a focus on the experiences of family caregivers; the use of psychotropic drugs in residential care with dementia residents; and the discourse of dementia drugs advertising. His articles on aging, dementia, mental health, and blood donation appear in the Journal of Aging Studies, The Journal of Deviant Behaviour, Dementia, and the Canadian Review of Sociology.

Dr. Smith teaches courses in qualitative research methods, mental health, self and identity.

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