I have been teaching voice at Laurier since 2002 and am currently the Coordinator of the Opera Program where I also teach creative process, passing on my knowledge of the performing arts industry to a wide range of students. Associate Dean, External Relations, Partnerships and Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Music, expanding my reach into the wider community to build partnerships for the Faculty of Music and grow opportunities for our students current and future. I hold a Bachelor of Music and Opera Diploma from the University of Toronto, was a member of the COC Ensemble Studio and sang as a company soloist at Frankfurt Opera from 1989-94.
Nationally and internationally, I have performed on operatic and concert stages in Paris, Chicago, New York City, London, Rome, Tokyo, Montréal, Seattle and Toronto. I have a passion for music of all eras and genres, and although I am now turning my sights more to education, arts advocacy and mentorship, I recently performed the leading role of Madeline Mitchell in the Canadian premiere of Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers for Winnipeg’s Little Opera Company (May 2022).
I interact with students in as many ways and different kinds of settings as possible — whether exploring vocal technique in my group class, leading auditioning, resumé and grant writing or Body Mapping workshops, or creating countless performing opportunities and professional connections. I enjoy discovering the unique capabilities and strengths that each student I interact with brings to the table, and helping them to grow artistically and personally throughout their time at Laurier and beyond.
A particular area of interest for me is music and movement and I am a licensed Body Mapping Educator®, teaching Body Mapping for musicians in workshops and private sessions, both at Laurier and in the larger musical community. Over the past year, I have taught workshops and clinics all over Ontario and in Alberta, as well as at the Laurier Academy of Music and the Arts. This practice, an outgrowth of the Alexander Technique, helps musicians of all stripes to learn how to use their bodies optimally, preventing pain, overuse and injury and enabling them to sing and play their best.
I’m passionate about the intersections of singing and identity, and blog frequently about this topic (see my website, kimberlybarber.com/blog). I’m currently engaging in research on partner practice, group teaching and the creation of community in the voice studio, based on the way I work in my voice studio at Laurier. My research partner is one of my former Laurier voice students, Sarah Stapleton. We truly believe that these methods build skills faster and deeper, and create powerful communities in the process.
I endeavour to create meaningful performing opportunities for students in my studio and across the voice program. Our partnership with Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony to co-produce operas in concert has offered both solo and chorus work for both students and alumni in 3 major opera productions since 2016. A new collaboration with Brott Opera in Hamilton will provide multiple paid performance opportunities for our current and future students.
Midori Marsh (BMus 2017, Op Dip 2018), Named one of CBC Radio’s Classical Music Top 30 under 30; Soloist with Thorgy Thor and the Thorchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, June 2023; Semi-finalist, Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition 2023; Finalist, Lotte Lenya International Competition, New York City, 2023; Winner: Christina and Louis Quilico Competition, 2023; Rocking Horse Winner (Tapestry Opera) 2020-2021 season and cast recording; Winner: Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Competition 2019 and Audience Choice Award; member, COCE 2020-22
MacKenzie Sechi (BMus Performance 2023), accepted into Masters Program at McGill University for fall 2023
Sarah Stapleton (BMus Education 2021), recipient of the Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS)—Master’s program 2021; Master of Teaching at OISE (U of T) 2023; presenter of undergraduate research in Body Mapping for Singers and Best Virtual Teaching Practices at international conferences in June 2021 (Voice Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Symposium, Association for Body Mapping Educators and NATS Montreal Student Symposium); invited presenter for the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health’s Annual Conference Fall 2021; founder of the Kindness Quest movement, partnering with Isabel Cisterna’s on-campus mental health initiative The Kindness Project in 2021-22; outgoing President of the Student NATS Chapter at Laurier (2021).
Jamie Groote (BMus '16, OpDip '17), Recent performances include Countess in Marriage of Figaro at Opera Dorset (UK) and Fiordiligi in Manitoba Opera’s Cosi fan tutte (both 2023), Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Member 2019-2022, 3rd place winner of Canadian Opera Company's Centre Stage Competition in November 2018, Summer 2019 Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, played Mercedes in the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra's production of Carmen, 2020 Canadian Opera Company debut as Second Nymph in Dvořák's Rusalka alongside superstar soprano Sondra Radvanovsky
River Guard (BMus '17, OpDip '18), Detroit Opera Resident Artist 2023-24; 3rd prize winner, Canadian Opera Company CentreStage Competition (2022); Rebanks Fellow, Glenn Gould School, 2021; finalist in the Atelier of the Opera de Montreal Competition fall 2019; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for Brott Summer Opera 2020 (virtual performance); MMus (Opera) University of Toronto 2020; Summer 2019 Aspen Music Festival participant; Remendado in the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra's production of Carmen
Dominie Boutin (BMus '19, Op Dip 2020), MMus Eastman School of Music 2023, 2019 participant in the Summer Art Song Institute at SongFest (Los Angeles, California), NATS Ontario Vocal Showcase 2018 winner of Most Promising College Singer, NATS Ontario Vocal Showcase 2018 first prize in the category of fourth year college women
What really resonates for me at Laurier is the feeling of community. It permeates everything we do—from the way we connect to one another as faculty and colleagues, to the relationships we build with our students in the studio, to the outreach we do with every performance. At Laurier we don’t just build strong performers, teachers and musicians, we foster the growth of whole human beings with a purpose in the world.