I was born and raised on Canada's east coast, in St. John's, Newfoundland where I spent my childhood surrounded by music of many genres. My earliest musical memories are of my grandfather, Dr. Ignatius Rumboldt (1975 Order of Canada recipient). As the Master of Choral Music, Head Organist and Director of Music for the largest church in the city, the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, he was widely regarded as the musical leader of St. John's during the 1950's and 60's. To me, he was "Poppy".
Beginning at the young age of 7, each and every Saturday, my parents brought me to Poppy's house where he gave me lessons in singing, piano and music theory. The singing came most naturally and was my favorite part of the lessons. Together we prepared a variety of material, ranging from "Ave Maria" to "I Dream of Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair" and visited retirement homes on holidays to entertain the "old folks". I continued my music lessons with Poppy for many years, and it was these early performance opportunities that led me toward this long road of singing on stage. As a teenager, I learned to play guitar and became the front man in a rock n' roll band. I spent several summers performing in a lounge of a ferry that sailed from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia as part of a folk-music duo called, "The Castaways".
My musical studies never stopped and when the time arrived to choose a career path, I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance) at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I moved on to the University of Toronto, Opera Division and spent summer semesters at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England. I finally found myself landed in the Canadian Opera Company's COC Ensemble Studio - Canada's premier training program for young opera professionals.
Subsequent to my grandfather, my voice teachers included Dr. Carolyn Hart and Dr. Douglas Dunsmore at MUN, followed by Patricia Kern and Neil Semer in Toronto(the latter is still a teacher of mine).
The most influential artistic figure in my operatic development has been the great Canadian tenor, Ermanno Mauro. As my mentor, he has taught me what a legitimate operatic sound is and has really "shown me the ropes". He has instilled in me the importance of having a thick skin, being courageous and of expressing myself artistically. Most significantly, he has encouraged me to stand up for what I believe in: that we, as singers, should be aiming to put our own personal stamp on the repertoire we perform and not to simply imitate that which has already been done by someone else.