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Academy of Music Staff


Lynda Garner Administrative Director
Academy of Music

Lynda Garner

ARCT (Piano); Grade 10 (Voice); Bachelor of Music, McMaster University; OCT

Lynda taught Secondary School Music and Business for the York Region Board of education for 36 years, initiating and writing courses in music. She has been involved with many music groups, singing with Cantabile Chorale of York Region, singing with and accompanying the York Troubadours, and playing with many musical theatre productions over the years. Lynda is a member of West Highland Church.


Lee Brubacher

Worship Arts Director
West Highland Church

Pastor Lee Brubacher

BCM (Trumpet Major) Heritage College & Seminary, MA (Worship Studies) Liberty University

Lee has been the Director of Worship Arts at West Highland for over 18 years, leading musical worship, directing the choir and orchestra, and facilitating the many musical, dramatic, and technological ministries at the church.  Lee, his wife Cheryl, and three kids have been members of West Highland since 2001.




Cheryl Brubacher

Cheryl started studying piano in London, Ontario at the young age of 4. She continued her studies through the Royal Conservatory until she completed Grade 9 piano. Cheryl also studied music at Heritage College in Cambridge, Ontario. She has been teaching private lessons in piano for over 20 years. Cheryl is often seen singing, playing cello, or playing piano on the West Highland platform. She, and her husband Lee have been members of West Highland since 2001.

 Lee Brubacher

Rev. Lee Brubacher
Valve Trombone)

Lee has been the Director of Worship Arts at West Highland for over 18 years, leading worship, directing the choir and orchestra, and facilitating the many musical, dramatic, and technological ministries at the church. He has a Bachelor of Church Music degree from Heritage College (Cambridge, Trumpet Major), and an MA in Worship Studies degree from Liberty University, Virginia.

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Elise deBlieck
(Violin, Viola, Piano)

Elise is entering her second year at Redeemer University, where she is studying Music and Psychology. She began taking violin lessons at the age of five under the teaching of Marie Peebles and is currently a student of Adele Pierre. Elise is a first violinist with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, of which she has been a member for the past five seasons. She is passionate about the value of ensemble and orchestral playing. Elise is part of the Chamber Music Ensemble at Redeemer University and regularly assists with the Sunday School music program at her church, Grace Free Reformed Church in Brantford.

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Rachel Don

Rachel is entering her final year at Redeemer University studying Music & Mathematics as a double major. Rachel continues to study violin under Melinda Collins and Adele Pierre. She is apart of the Chamber Music Ensemble at Redeemer and also participates in worship events. Last January Rachel completed her Grade 8 RCM Violin exam with honours and is currently working towards her Grade 9 RCM Violin.  Rachel attends St Clair Community Church, in Hamilton.


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Tom Gaasenbeek 
(String Ensemble)

Tom studied violin through the Hamilton Board of Ed., Suzuki, and under violinists Wren Canzoneri and Mikhail Brat. Tom played with Symphony on The Bay for over 20 years and has also played with the Cambridge Symphony and Fanshawe Community  Orchestras. Tom is a member of West Highland, and can be regularly seen in the Orchestra and Worship Team ministries.


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John Harris
(Guitar, Mandolin)

John studied "finger-style" and classical guitar techniques and earned a B.Mus from Carleton University.  His teaching experience includes Carleton (Ottawa), Ottawa Folklore Centre, and Mohawk College (Hamilton).  John also teaches television audio post-production.  John attends, Buchanan Park Free Methodist Church, in Hamilton.


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Jamie Iles

Jamie grew up in Ottawa, ON, where he began taking lessons at the age of 10. He decided to pursue music in a church setting and completed a 4 year Bachelor of Church Music from Heritage College, Camb, ON. Since graduating, Jamie has completed his ARCT in Piano Performance with the Royal Conservatory and has dedicated himself to instruct and inspire others to pursue music to the very best of their abilities. Jamie has been teaching piano for 8 years and is also employed at Hughson Street Baptist Church as Director of Music and Worship. 

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Carole-Anne Persall
(Voice & Piano)


Carole-Anne Persall is a voice and piano teacher in the Brantford and Hamilton area. She has been teaching for 12 years. She has her Associate of Music from Royal Conservatory and from Conservatory Canada. Carole-Anne has been singing for many years in local churches, and has been a member of the Grand River Chorus in Brantford for 12 years. She has won many awards, including the Rose Bowl and Rose Bowl Alumni Trophies in the Kiwanis Music Festival. She also won the Speak Metal for Excellence from Conservatory Canada, for the highest mark in Canada on an exam.

Carole-Anne is married to Bob Persall, and has three children, Allison, Corie and Tyson. She attends Mount Pleasant Bible Church, and is active in the music and children's ministries there. She enjoys teaching both singing and piano.


Jani Robinson

Jani began piano lessons at an early age studying the Royal Conservatory music. She completed Grade IX piano and later Grade IX voice. She has been teaching private piano lessons to children and adults for many years and enjoys encouraging students to develop musical ability and excellence in a joyful, fun environment. Over the years, Jani has been involved in many musical groups, singing and playing in churches all around Ontario. She is a member of West Highland Church and can often be found either singing in the choir or playing piano on the worship team.

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Alison Slaats
(Voice & Piano)


Alison was born in Montreal, Quebec and studied organ and church music with Barrie Cabena and Jan Overduin at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. As part of that program, she studied choral conducting, voice technique and piano at the grade 10 level.

She composes sacred choral works, specializing in flexible size choirs and children’s music. Alison is the Past President of the Royal Canadian College of Organists Hamilton Centre and former Examinations Supervisor for Colleague, Associateship and Fellowship exams for the Hamilton and Niagara area.

Alison also teaches in her own studio, The Alison Centre for Music, teaching piano, organ, voice, harpsichord and drums. She specializes in preparing senior students for University auditions, but also teaches all ages and levels. Alison has been the Music Director at Grace Lutheran Church (Oakville), the Organist and Music Director of St. Cuthbert's Anglican Church (Oakville), and is currently Director of Music and Performing Arts at St. Mark's United (Dundas).  She is happy to join the West Highland staff, teaching senior piano and voice, in a Christian music setting.


Máté Szigeti


Máté Szigeti, Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Debrecen

A Hungarian-born flautist, Máté played operatic and orchestral repertoire with the Debrecen Symphony, was later affiliated with the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra as both principal flautist and soloist, and was on the faculty of the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory. Students from his studio were selected three times to join the West-Eastern Devine Orchestra under Daniel Barenboin, while others were accepted to Damascus, Swiss, and Canadian Universities. "Throughout my career, I have focused on empowering my students to succeed by encouraging them to develop their strengths and to grow both academically and personally".
Máté attends the Hungarian Presbyterian Church with his wife, Anita.