Byrd Sounds Bios

Nila Rajagopal

Nila Rajagopal is a soprano currently enrolled in her Bachelor of Music at the University of Toronto where she is studying privately with Nathalie Paulin. Growing up in the vibrant city of Ottawa, Nila has always been interested in music. She discovered her passion for choral singing when she was accepted into a very advanced vocal music program at De La Salle High School. Through this program, she had the opportunity to perform in the most prestigious halls in Ottawa, including the National Arts Centre and has also toured in France in 2013, where she performed in the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral. She graduated the program in 2013 with a scholarship. Outside of her studies, Nila has participated in many intensive summer voice programs and has been a member of the Ontario Youth Choir for many years. She is currently singing with the University of Toronto MacMillan singers and is a Choral Scholar with Pax Christi Chorale and St. John’s Presbyterian Church. Nila is hoping to pursue a career in music education and choral conducting.


Mathias Memmel

Mathias Memmel is a tenor in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Music program at the University of Toronto studying under the tutorship of Elizabeth MacDonald. Mathias previously studied under the late Brian Emery and Barbara Collier. Mathias is from Huron County where he held the position of church organist at two local parishes and currently is the Director of Music at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Markham. He has been a member of many fine ensembles including: the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Ontario Youth Choir, the MacMillan Singers at the University of Toronto, directed by Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, and the Bach Music Festival of Canada Chamber Choir, under Gerald Fagan. Mathias is a regular soloist in Toronto and has also had the privilege of being a Choral Scholar at Trinity College, performing regularly with the Evensong Choir under Dr. John Tuttle. In his spare time, Mathias is also pursuing a second degree in computer science and political science at U of T.


Danièle Loach

Danièle Loach recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music as an alto singer. She loves teaching music and is particularly interested in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a method of music education that focuses on experience through movement. Danièle has been a member of many ensembles since the age of five including the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus with Ann Cooper Gay, the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir conducted by Lynn Janes, the Pax Christie Chorale directed by Stephanie Martin, and the Women's Chamber Chorus under Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt. For the past four years she has been a Choral Scholar in the Trinity College Chapel Choir and a member of the Saint Thomas's Evensong Choir under the tutelage of Dr. John Tuttle. Danièle is currently the soprano section lead at Saint John's York Mills Anglican Church under the direction of Patrick Dewell. She was the Choir Coordinator and Director of the Youth Choir at Saint Basil’s Catholic Church in downtown Toronto. Danièle has been a soloist for Saint Basil’s, Saint John’s York Mills, Saint Martin’s in the Fields and sang in Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral and Saint George’s Chapel with the Saint Thomas Choir on a tour. She studied privately under the late Donna Sherman for three years and worked with Peter Barnes at the Faculty of Music. Danièle studied piano for ten years and took U of T Music Education Courses in trumpet, trombone, clarinet, violin, and steel pan. She is currently teaching piano, voice and visual art to kids at the Muzart School of Music and Art in central Etobicoke.


Peter Neelands

Peter Neelands is a baritone singer who graduated from the University of Toronto with a joint specialist in economics & commerce and finance having achieved the highest standing in both faculties upon graduation. He also completed a two year Diploma in Investigative and Forensic Accounting graduating at the top of his class. Growing up, Peter was a member of the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus and was head choir boy of other prominent choirs in Toronto. He studied composition under Derek Holman and was a regular soloist on television and radio programs. Peter has sung in many excellent ensembles including the Exultate Chamber Singers, the Saint Thomas's Choir, the Trinity College Chapel Choir and the choir at St. Simon's. As Peter continues his career in finance at Kalex Valuations, he enjoys being able to keep music in his life as part of the Saint Thomas Choir and Byrd Sounds.


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