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.

Dr. Mary Kennedy

Dr. Mary Kennedy

Board Member

Mary Copland Kennedy, PhD, is an Associate Professor Emeritus in the School of Music, University of Victoria, where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in music education in addition to conducting the Philomela Women’s Choir. Dr. Kennedy’s research interests include choral music, creativity, and music and community. She has published widely in national and international journals as well as presented papers and sessions at local, regional, national and international conferences. Dr. Kennedy is a founding member of Voices in Motion, having secured the initial school partnership with St. Andrew’s Regional High School and having been a part of the interdisciplinary research team. After a leave of absence, while she was the musical director for St. Aidan’s United Church, she is glad to be back with the VIM family and take up varied roles as board member, choir member, and researcher.

Dinah Ellet

Dinah Ellet

Board Member

Dinah Ellett grew up in England in a very musical family and had a father who was always singing. She sang alto in many choirs in the UK.

In 1967, she emigrated to Canada with a young family. In Toronto, she worked for Eaton’s in their Human Resource department and as a food buyer/sales manager.

She and Barry moved to Victoria in 1979 when she opened the first licensed Crabtree & Evelyn store, that carried foods and toiletries. She owned and ran that business for 17 years as well as training employees in product knowledge in the Vancouver corporate stores on the mainland.

After selling her store, she joined The Bay part-time and sold Ladies’ Wear for 10 years.

She volunteered with “Bridges for Women” as a mentor, working with women wanting to return to the work force. This involved counselling and training operational skills on how to open their own business.

If that wasn’t enough, she was also the Secretary on her condo strata council for many years.

In September 2019, she and Barry joined Voices in Motion. Barry, who has Vascular Dementia, had never sung in his 80 years. He now attends choir regularly and thoroughly enjoys singing in person and on Zoom. He has also performed in both Virtual Choirs that Voices in Motion produced.

From the beginning, she knew she wanted to be part of ViM and help the organization continue that work that benefits those with dementia and Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

“I feel that my experience in business, marketing and HR counselling will be an asset to the Board,” says Dinah. We are delighted she has joined us!

Jörg Stangl, P.Eng. (retired)

Jörg Stangl, P.Eng. (retired)

Board Member

In April of 2019, Jörg retired from a 30-year engineering career at BC Hydro. Half of this career was spent in a variety of technical leadership roles before retiring from a senior management role.

In the spring of 2018, Jörg’s partner, Patricia, began her journey with Alzheimer’s disease. And so also began the transition for Jörg from a working life to full time care provider. With COVID isolation came the challenge to ensure Patricia had the opportunity to engage with people and sing (a lifelong passion). The discovery of the Voices in Motion Facebook Live sing-alongs meant the dark winter of COVID could be a little brighter. Without any choir experience, Jörg joined Patricia in the 2020 online choir and the Voices in Motion virtual family.

While Jörg’s background is technical in nature, he is exploring his artistic side in retirement. He hopes to bring a positive collaborative can-do approach to the Voices in Motion board.

Jörg and Patricia live on the slopes of North Vancouver with their son, Christoph (currently attending Capilano College) and a large Golden Mountain Dog. Hobbies include walking the dog, cycling, stand-up paddle boarding, learning guitar, photography and occasionally playing his old accordion.

Stephen Lee

Stephen Lee

Board Member

I was born and raised in Toronto and graduated from UBC with a Masters of Library Science. Both my wife and I got jobs in Toronto and we worked there as public librarians for 14 years. We decided to move back west and settled in Toronto. I went back to school to study computing technology at Camosun and was hired as an information analyst with the Ministry of Health. I took early retirement after 16 years.

I was always interested in music and enjoyed singing as a child. I learned to play the guitar to accompany myself. It was when we moved here that I discovered the joys of choir singing and I have been actively involved in numerous groups since the early 90’s. Aside from singing with Voices in Motion I am a member of the Victoria Choral Society, the Victoria Arion Male Choir and two “living room” choirs. Although I have not had any formal musical training I have learned much just from being in choirs all these years.

I believe in contributing to communities I am active in be it coaching and managing dragon boat teams, acting as music librarian for the various choirs, creating practice files for singers, hosting social events, setting up stages and moving equipment, and serving on boards and committees.

I joined Voices in Motion because of my good friends, Brian and Margie Noonan. Both the Noonans and the Lees have been on overseas choir trips together. I had sung with Brian in a couple of the choirs and look forward to singing beside him again.

My hobbies include reading, doing cryptic crosswords (in ink!), cooking, hosting dinner parties, and of course, music!

I have been happily married for 47 years, have a son and a daughter and two grandchildren and we all live in Victoria!

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! 

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.

Caitlyn Ledohowski

Caitlyn Ledohowski

Board Member

Caitlyn is a recent graduate of Pacific Christian School and will be pursuing a degree in neuroscience starting this fall.

She has extensive experience volunteering over the past years. Most notably, she has been involved with the Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, a volunteer organization dedicated to science outreach in the field of astronomy. For the past five years, she has helped run public events at the observatory every Saturday.

Caitlyn decided to join Voices in Motion at the beginning of Grade 12. She has always loved singing and playing the piano in her own time. Her involvement in the choir facilitated her growth as a person and her understanding of others. As a board member, Caitlyn plans to act as a representative for all participating students and promote the choir among the youth.

Andrea Warner

Andrea Warner

Board Member

Andrea and husband Dave moved to Victoria in 2010 from Terrace, BC, where they had met, married and raised their family. With a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Criminology, Andrea worked as a Probation Officer before retiring to raise their three children. Earning her Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto she taught piano for many years in Terrace. She also completed the Community Library Training Program and worked in school libraries.

Andrea brings experience from being on a number of boards in the Terrace area, including the Child Development Centre, the Terrace Baseball Association and the Terrace Concert Society.

Since arriving in Victoria, Andrea has been involved in several community bands. Andrea enjoys contributing to the arts community by being a Piano Section Head with the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival and is the manager of the Victoria Brass Band.

Andrea has always taken great pleasure in volunteering with and helping seniors in the community. She knew that this, along with her love of music, would make Voices in Motion a good fit for her. Over the past few years she’s seen the inspiration and comradeship that has been enjoyed by all the participants and feels lucky to be a part of it. Andrea hopes to contribute what she can in order to help the choir to continue to flourish.

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.

Maria Howard

Maria Howard

M.Ed Rehabilitation, MBA Leadership, CCRC | Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Chief Executive Officer

Maria is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in the charity/ not for profit industry. She has decades of leadership in the health-care and social services sector, as well as provincial and national governance experience. She holds an MBA in Leadership from the University of Athabasca and an M.Ed. in Rehabilitation from the University of Washington.

With extensive business experience combined with previous roles both as a rehabilitation counselor and senior leadership, Maria has direct relevant operational experience, underpinned by a commitment to caring and inclusive communities.  This is evident through her previous role as CEO of the Alzheimer Society of BC and her current role as CEO of the Family Services of Greater Vancouver.

Maria grew up in a family where music played a significant role.   The joy as well as the comfort of music supported Maria and her family while they care for her mom on her dementia journey. 

Where words fail, music speaks.” Hans Christian Anderson

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